The Existence of Literary Characters and Non-verbal Motivation in Sofocles’ Tragedy and the Dramatic Atmosphere


  • Brane Senegačnik University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia
  • Sergej Valijev Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Institute of Slovenian Literature and Literary Studies, Ljubljana, Slovenia



Sophocles, Antigone, Women of Trachis, non-verbal motivation, dramatic atmosphere


The present article discusses the influence of dramatic atmosphere on decisions, judgments, and actions of drama characters. This is illustrated by means of examples taken from Antigone and The Women of Trachis. It is in the atmosphere of the post-war Thebes that Ismene is wavering between the fear of punishment and the fear of the wrath of the gods, if Polyneices is to remain unburied. The Influence of the dramatic atmosphere can also be noted in Creon’s change of decision regarding the conviction of Ismene. Special attention is paid in the article to the difficult question of the attribution of verses Antigone 572, 574 and 576 which have an important impact on the understanding of the psychological motivations of the heroes. It is in the atmosphere of Trachis at the edge of the civilization, where Deianeira, the second heroine discussed in the article, is expecting Heracles’ fate to decide imminently as predicted. The truth concerning Iola disclosed, Deia­neira’s psychologic tension comes to a critical point and she decides to do the fateful deed after having pondered upon it in the “backstage silence” between the first and the second act.


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27. 09. 2023




How to Cite

Senegačnik, Brane, and Sergej Valijev. 2023. “The Existence of Literary Characters and Non-Verbal Motivation in Sofocles’ Tragedy and the Dramatic Atmosphere”. Clotho 5 (1): 7-25.

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