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Marriage to Death: The Conflation of Marriage and Funeral Rituals in Greek Tragedy

Princeton University Press
January 1994

The link between weddings and death--as found in dramas ranging from Romeo and Juliet to Lorca's Blood Wedding--plays a central role in the action of many Greek tragedies. Female characters such as Kassandra, Antigone, and Helen enact and refer to significant parts of wedding and funeral rites, but often in a twisted fashion. Over time the pressure of dramatic events causes the distinctions between weddings and funerals to disappear. In this book, Rush Rehm considers how and why the conflation of the two ceremonies comes to theatrical life in the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripedes. By focusing on the dramatization of important rituals conducted by women in ancient Athenian society, Rehm offers a new perspective on Greek tragedy and the challenges it posed for its audience.