In my dissertation I examine the use of deixis in fifth-century Athenian drama to show how a playwright's lexical choices shape an audience's engagement with and investment in a dramatic work. The study combines modern performance theories concerning the relationship between actor and audience with a detailed examination of the demonstratives hode and houtos in a representative sample of tragedy (and satyr play) and in the full Aristophanic corpus, and reaches conclusions that aid and expand our understanding of both tragedy and comedy. In addition to exploring and interpreting a number of particular scenes for their inter-actor dynamics and staging, I argue overall that tragedy's predilection for hode, a word which by definition conveys a strong spatio-temporal presence ("this here / now"), pointedly draws the spectators into the dramatic fiction. The comic poet's preference for houtos ("that just mentioned" / "that there"), on the other hand, coupled with his tendency to directly acknowledge the audience individually and in the aggregate, disengages the spectators from the immediacy of the tragic tetralogies and reengages them with the normal, everyday world to which they will return at the close of the festival.
I begin Chapter 1 with an overview of previous scholarship on the subject of deixis, from the ancient grammarian Apollonius Dyscolus' study on the syntax of pronouns, to the German psychologist Karl Bühler's seminal book Sprachtheorie (1934), which posits that all deictic expressions refer to a field of reference at whose center (the Origo) are the words "here," "now," and "I," to more recent work on the subject both in the fields of modern socio-linguistics and performance studies. To establish the differences and similarities in linguistic (and performative) usage between playwrights and genres I distinguish between eight types of deixis: first person, second person, spatial, person / object, anaphora, cataphora, situational, and temporal. The four most common types (spatial, person / object, anaphora, cataphora) are discussed in Chapters 2-4.
In Chapter 2, I examine the language of spatial reference in terms of "macro space," the larger spatial setting of a drama (city, region, country), and "micro space," whatever the stage building is declared to represent. While tragedy and satyr play frequently refer to the imagined location of the dramatic action, and thus seek to create a space which includes the audience, in comedy not only are demonstratives seldom employed to acknowledge where the characters are, but when they are used they usually serve to unify the dramatic space and time with the larger civic space of real-life Athens. In addition to these larger generic issues, I examine the phrase "this house" over the course of Aeschylus' Oresteia, showing that the intense focus on the skene as the epicenter of murder in Agamemnon and Choephori necessarily disappears in Eumenides, for it is only by functionally removing the House (and Apollo's temple), deemphasizing it as an important, meaningful space, and replacing it with a larger, civic space (Athens) and institution (the Areopagite council) that discord can be resolved without further violence and competing social interests can be effectively reintegrated and harmonized.
I study "person deixis" and "object deixis" in Chapter 3. In drama, the proximal demonstrative hode is used almost by default to refer to people and to objects. When houtos is used of a prop, in each case the demonstrative either reflects the speaker's distance from the object or is markedly second person ("that of yours"). I also examine the performative dimension of the vocative houtos, used to hail one whose attention is turned elsewhere. The consistency of this usage permits us a clearer understanding of the staging and meaning of several scenes, for example Helen 1627ff., where Theonoe's Attendant can plausibly be eliminated as an actor onstage. In comedy, where this usage is most prevalent, I challenge the notion that houtos is normally pejorative, arguing instead that word order and the larger constructions in which this vocative occurs lend the word its various shades of meaning. Speaking more generally, I also show that tragedy uses demonstrative reference selectively to highlight particular people and objects within a play, making them focal points of the dramatic action and plot (e.g., Agamemnon's corpse, Orestes' lock of hair, Medea's children), whereas comedy flits more indiscriminately from one object or person to the next, and that this difference in focus is generic and speaks to the type of audience engagement of each genre.
In Chapter 4, I address anaphoric and cataphoric reference. The normal way to refer back in the discourse (i.e., "anaphorically") in Greek is, of course, with houtos; hode regularly looks forward (= "cataphora"). As grammar books have long noted, when hode is used anaphorically it indicates a speaker's elevated emotional state. I begin by discussing cataphora in tragedy and satyr play--anaphora is treated in Chapter 5--before offering a detailed analysis of these two types of reference in Aristophanes. A cross-genre comparison reveals that while hode is used more often than houtos in tragedy and satyr play, particularly in anaphoric reference, Aristophanes rarely uses hode to refer backward. When he does, it is always either paratragic or in a scene of intense excitement. Based on the types of uses found in Aristophanes we are thus afforded a clear view of the rhetorical and emotional effects of "normal" tragic diction; the relative infrequency of hode in Aristophanes appears, then, to confirm at the linguistic level the observation that comedy is less emotionally engaging than tragedy or satyr play. Or, to put it another way, the exceptional frequency of hode in tragedy and satyr play (much the highest rate for any Greek literary genre) creates an intensity and immediacy that necessarily draws the audience strongly into the fictional world of these plays.
I begin Chapter 5 by providing a systematic analysis of anaphoric uses of the proximal demonstrative, and then step back to consider the audience's overall experience in witnessing dramatic performances in the Great Dionysia (and Lenaia). I suggest that this experience is analogous to the act of "sacred pilgrimage" (theoria), wherein a member of the community would journey abroad, witness something, and return home with an expanded world-view to share with his city. That is, the theater audience progresses from a sense of inclusion in the manifold worlds of the tragic tetralogies, brought about in large part by spatial and anaphoric uses of hode, toward a subsequent disengagement from these other times and places achieved by the comic performances through, amongst other things, a less intense spatial focus, more direct audience address, and colloquial diction. Athens and her citizens thus reap the political, social, and psychological benefits of theoria by traveling to the other places (and times) imaginatively experienced at the dramatic festivals, and all without ever leaving the theater.