Monday, October 15, 2018



E.R. Dodds, commentary on Euripides, Bacchae, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), pp. 116-117 (on line 367):
Examples of such tragic 'punning' (ἐτυμολογεῖν) are many, especially in Aesch. and Eur. (cf. Kranz, Stasimon 287 ff., Platnauer on IT. 32). Elmsley, who collected and discussed them (on Bacch. 508), found the practice ψυχρόν. The Greeks did not, because they kept something of the primitive feeling that the connexion between a person and his name is significant, not accidental, φύσει not νόμῳ—names are for them, in Norden's words, 'visible pictures of invisible realities'. To us a pun is trivial and comic because it calls attention to the irrelevant; but the Greek felt that it pointed to something deeply relevant.

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