Merope: The Dramatic Impact of a Myth
Author: Marija Petrovska
Publisher: Peter Lang Gmbh, Internationaler Verlag Der Wissenschaften
Release Date: December 31, 1984
The legend of Merope, whose basic theme is maternal love, has enjoyed widespread popularity in the world of the theatre, though Euripides' tragedy Chresphontes, which dealt with this myth, is lost. Aristotle, in his Poetics, mentions the effectiveness of recognition as a means of astounding the listener: as the best example he points out the situation in the Chresphontes, when Merope, at the point of slaying her son, recognizes him in time. The popularity of the Merope legend began in Italy at the end of the 16th century, then migrated to France, where several 17th-century playwrights realized its appeal. In the 18th century, three famous authors produced their versions of the myth, namely Scipione Maffei, Voltaire and Vittorio Alfieri. Matthew Arnold's Merope is the best known English version, while the other 19th-century inter- pretations of the myth, produced in Italy, Germany, Portugal and Greece have fallen into oblivion.