Models for the audience’s emotional response in Euripides’ Ion

Models for the audience’s emotional response in Euripides’ Ion

Vasileios Dimoglidis, Ph.D. Student (Ancient Greek and Latin Literature), Department of Classics – University of Cincinnati:

Cite as: Dimoglidis, V. “Models for the Audience’s Emotional Response in Euripides’ Ion”. Archive 17(1) (January 6, 2021): 6–15. DOI:10.5281/zenodo.4445999, ARK:/13960/t07x6vk7w

Περίληψη
Ο Ίων του Ευριπίδη είναι ένα άγνωστο και αμφιλεγόμενο έργο. Η χρονολόγησή του είναι αβέβαιη και ο Lesky το χρονολογεί μεταξύ του 414 και του 413 π.Χ. Άγνωστα είναι και τα άλλα τρία έργα της τετραλογίας, με τα οποία ο Ευριπίδης συμμετείχε στον δραματικό διαγωνισμό, όπως και οι ανταγωνιστές του. Όσον αφορά στο περιεχόμενό του, το έργο θα μπορούσε να χαρακτηριστεί ως ασυνήθιστο καθώς δεν ανήκει σε εκείνες τις τραγωδίες στις οποίες κυριαρχεί το υπερβολικό ανθρώπινο πάθος (π.χ. Ιππόλυτος, Μήδεια κ.λπ.) και αυτός είναι ίσως ο λόγος για τον οποίο τόσο σπάνια σκηνοθετείται στο σύγχρονο θέατρο. Ωστόσο, είναι ένα έργο με καλλιτεχνική πλοκή και θεατρική δομή, με θέματα και μοτίβα που επηρέασαν πολύ τη Νέα Κωμωδία.

Abstract
The aim of this paper is to examine in the Ion the Euripidean models for the audience’s emotional response. Throughout the play, the audience is encouraged to engage in a process of emotional reaction to what they see. To provide some instances, in the first dialogue between Creusa and Ion, Euripides suggests pity as the appropriate way of emotional reaction to this dialogue. Watching their lady’s husband find a “son”, Creusa’s maids invite the spectators to share with them the feelings of disaffection and fear. Feeling compassion for “tragic” heroine’s “misfortunes”, they suggest tear dropping as a mutual emotional reaction: πᾶς ἂν ἐκβάλοι δάκρυ (l.924 “everyone would shed a tear at this”).

Models for the audience’s emotional response in Euripides’ Ion*
Εὐριπίδης […] ἁπανταχοῦ ἀγαλματίας καὶ χαρίεις ἐστίν, οὐκ ἐν ταῖς χάρισι μόνον τοῦ λόγου, ἀλλά καὶ ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς πάθεσι· καὶ πολλάκις γε τοὺς Ἀθηναίους ἐπικαίρως δραματουργήσας εἰς πλεῖστα κατήνεγκε δάκρυα· ᾤοντο γὰρ τὰ λεγόμενα ὁρᾶν ὡς γινόμενα.

“Euripides […] is everywhere statuesque and graceful not only in the grace of his language but also in the passions themselves. Frequently he reduced the Athenians to tears by his apt timing, for they fancied that what they saw was actually happening” [Littlewood (2017: 182)].

  1. Psellos, To One Asking “Who Wrote Verse Better, Euripides or Pisides?”, 65-68

Euripides’ Ion is a largely unknown and controversial play. Its dating is uncertain, and Lesky (1983: 316) dates it between 414 and 413 BC.[1]  Unknown are also both the other three plays of the tetralogy,[2] with which Euripides participated in the dramatic competition, and his competitors. When it comes to its content, Ion could be described as an unusual play since it does not belong to those tragedies in which the extravagant human passion dominates (e.g. Hippolytus, Medea, etc.), and this is maybe the reason why it is so seldom staged in modern theatre.[3] Nevertheless, it is a play of artistic plot and theatrical structure,[4] with themes and motifs that greatly influenced New Comedy.[5]

This play narrates the story of Creusa who is raped by Apollo and gives birth to his son. She exposes her child in a cave to die. Many years later, she comes to Delphi with her husband, Xuthus, to consult the oracle about their childlessness. Xuthus is deceitfully said that Ion is his own son. Creusa tries to kill Ion, but thanks to Apollo’s intervention they recognize each other and set out for Athens.

One of the most interesting topics in the research of Greek tragedy is the study of the models for the spectators’ emotional reaction.[6] In examining the function of the Chorus of the Greek tragedy as eyewitnesses, Easterling (1997: 163) notes that “as choruses express their hope or fear, joy or sorrow for the characters, they offer possible models for the onlookers’ emotional responses, pity for Cassandra, for example, or grief for the murdered king in Agamemnon”.[7] In an insightful paper, Lada-Richards attempts to reconstruct the psychological topography and the mental background of the spectators of the tragedy in the ancient city of Athens.[8] Focusing mainly on Sophoclean examples, she writes that dramatic characters and Choruses in the plays of the 5th century BC, who feel pity for what is happening onstage, not only exhort the audience to feel compassionate,[9] but they often explain the causes of such a pity as a result of a series of a cognitive process as well.

My purpose in this paper is to examine in the Ion the Euripidean models for the audience’s emotional response.[10] For lack of safe testimonies (testimonia) and secure evidence of the genuine emotional reactions of the spectators of a Greek tragedy,[11] I shall not focus on whether Ion’s audience actually was touched by or felt any other emotion for someone of the play’s characters. I will only expand upon the Euripidean intention,[12] that is, upon the appropriate and expected emotional response that the tragic poet implicitly seeks to elicit from his play’s onlookers.

In the first episode (ll.237-451), Creusa meets Ion, and the latter asks Creusa whether she is childless (οὐδ᾽ ἔτεκες οὐδὲν πώποτ᾽, ἀλλ᾽ ἄτεκνος εἶ; l.305). Creusa’s answer that Apollo knows her childlessness (ὁ Φοῖβος οἶδε τὴν ἐμὴν ἀπαιδίαν, 306) triggers Ion’s sympathy: ὦ τλῆμον, ὡς τἄλλ᾽ εὐτυχοῦσ᾽ οὐκ εὐτυχεῖς (l.307 “poor woman! Though fortunate in other respects, how unfortunate you are!”).[13] Then Creusa steers the conversation in Ion’s own fate, and the young man claims that he knows nothing about his parents: τοῦ θεοῦ καλοῦμαι, δοῦλος εἰμί τ᾽, ὦ γύναι (l.309 “I am called a slave of the god, and so I am, madam”), οὐκ οἶδα πλὴν ἕν· Λοξίου κεκλήμεθα (l.311 “I know but one thing: I am called Loxias’”). Ion’s answer causes Creusa’s emotional involvement and she at once underlines her sympathy: ἡμεῖς σ᾽ ἄρ᾽ αὖθις, ὦ ξέν’, ἀντοικτίρομεν (l.312 “then I fell pity for you in turn, stranger”). Creusa seems to consider that the emotional counterpart to Ion’s response (ὦ τλῆμον, l.307) is pity. Creusa’s declared compassion may be a model for seeing and mentally participating in Ion’s sufferings.[14]

Both the first part (ἀντὶ-)[15] of the ἀντοικτίρειν and the adverb αὖθις[16] refer to Creusa’s similar to that of Ion emotional reaction[17] and perhaps to Euripides’ wish for an analogous emotional response on the part of the audience: pity both for Creusa and for Ion. Audience’s mutual involvement is suggested also by Creusa when she says …ὡς νοσοῦσ᾽ ηὗρον νόσους (l.320 “how, pained myself, I have found others’ pains”). The imagery of sickness here tangles the fate of Creusa with that of Ion, and diminishes the distance and the estrangement between them,[18] while Creusa in ll.318-320 takes Ion’s pains for a mirror of her own.[19]

In Ion’s mind, the emotional response both of himself to Creusa and Creusa’s to him is explicable. The causative clause of the line ὦ τλῆμον, ὡς τἄλλ᾽ εὐτυχοῦσ᾽ οὐκ εὐτυχεῖς (l.307) and the causal participle of the line ὡς μὴ εἰδόθ᾽ ἥτις μ᾽ ἔτεκεν ἐξ ὅτου τ᾽ ἔφυν (l.313) explain the emergence of the emotion of compassion;[20] a compassion brought about by Ion’s personal mental process (ὡς l.307, ὡς l.313). Ion feels compassionate for Creusa because she is unfortunate, and believes that Creusa feels compassionate for him because he does not know who his mother is.

During the second episode, the Chorus’ women witness the so-called “false” recognition between Ion and Xuthus, and are threatened with death by the latter in case they will not keep silent (ll.666-667).[21] Immediately, however, they adumbrate their active involvement in the action[22] by noting: οὐ γάρ με σαίνει θέσφατα μή τιν᾽ ἔχῃ δόλον. | δειμαίνω συμφοράν, | ἐφ᾽ ὅ<τι> ποτὲ βάσεται (ll.685-687 “the pronouncements do not mollify my fear that they conceal some trickery. I am fearful of the outcome, to whatever it is they will tend”). Creusa’s maidens feel displeasure with (οὐ γάρ με σαίνει)[23] and are afraid of (δειμαίνω)[24] what is going to happen (συμφοράν).[25] The utterances οὐ γάρ με σαίνει and δειμαίνω indicate the two levels of the escalation of their emotions. The women singing the first stanza (ll.676-694) invite the other members of the Chorus (internal audience) and, by extension, the external audience to share the emotional evaluation and the emotional treatment of the situation: τίς οὐ τάδε ξυνοίσεται; (l.694 “who will not agree with me in this?”).[26] In all probability, this question functions as an “audience address”. The verb συμφέρομαι means (a) “agree with” and (b) “to be in harmony with, adapt oneself to”.[27] Thus, the question τίς οὐ τάδε ξυνοίσεται; (l.694) may imply that the women singing the first stanza (first semichorus) expect that the agreement (first meaning of the verb) of the second semichorus and the external audience with the judgments about Apollo’s pronouncements (θέσφατα) will lead, by extension, to their harmonization (second meaning of the verb)[28] with the emotional reaction to these θέσφατα.

***

Lada-Richards (2008: 509) has observed that the plethora of tears in the dramatic fiction, as an emotional response to the tribulations afflicting the tragic hero, provides the audience with an acceptable or even desirable way out of the torrent of sufferings.

In the first crosstalk between Creusa and Ion in the first episode (ll.237-451), the latter describes Creusa’s “stage behavior”:[29]

ἔα·
ἀλλ᾽ ἐξέπληξάς μ᾽, ὄμμα συγκλῄσασα σὸν
δακρύοις θ᾽ ὑγράνασ᾽ εὐγενῆ παρηίδα,
ὡς εἶδες ἁγνὰ Λοξίου χρηστήρια.
τί ποτε μερίμνης ἐς τόδ᾽ ἦλθες, ὦ γύναι;
οὗ πάντες ἄλλοι γύαλα λεύσσοντες θεοῦ
χαίρουσιν, ἐνταῦθ᾽ ὄμμα σὸν δακρυρροεῖ; (ll.241-246).

“Oh! You upset me by closing your eyes and drenching your noble cheek with tears when you caught sight of the sacred shrine of Loxias. What brings you this concern, lady? Where everyone else gazes upon the god’s shrine with pleasure, here do your eyes stream with tears?”

Creusa’s particular emotional response takes Ion aback (ἀλλ᾽ ἐξέπληξάς μ(ε), l.241). For the young man, Creusa demonstrates a reaction that is divergent to what he has been accustomed to by the visitors of Apollo’s temple heretofore (ὃ πάντες ἄλλοι γύαλα λεύσσοντες θεοῦ | χαίρουσιν, ἐνταῦθ᾽ ὄμμα σὸν δακρυρροεῖ;, ll.245-246) and this is why he asks Creusa the cause of her weeping. The view of the temple activated Creusa’s mechanism of remembrance (ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἰδοῦσα τούσδ᾽ Ἀπόλλωνος δόμους | μνήμην παλαιὰν ἀνεμετρησάμην τινά, ll.249-250 “when I saw this temple of Apollo I retraced an age-old memory”) and at the same time the old feelings, which she now exudes on stage.[30]

Recalling again her rape by Apollo and having been informed by the Chorus that Xuthus has found his “son”, Creusa in the third episode (ll.725-1047) bursts once again into tears, which this time function as the physical externalization of her internal passion:

στάζουσι κόραι δακρύοισιν ἐμαί,
ψυχὴ δ᾽ ἀλγεῖ κακοβουληθεῖσ᾽
ἔκ τ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἔκ τ᾽ ἀθανάτων (ll.876-878)

“My eyes stream with tears and my spirit is grieved, plotted against foully both by men and immortals”.

The verb ἀλγεῖ emphasizes the physical symptom of the pain experienced by Creusa.[31] The emotional reaction of the δακρυρροεῖν has not managed to relieve her of her suffering yet,[32] and this why she now chooses to break her silence and speak: οὐκέτι κρύψω λέχος, ὃ στέρνων | ἀπονησαμένη ῥᾴων ἔσομαι (ll.874-875 “no longer shall I conceal my shared bed; removing this burden from my breast I shall feel easier”). Especially the utterance ἀπονησαμένη ῥᾴων ἔσομαι (l.875) reflects Creusa’s conviction that by means of speech she will achieve the emotional relief that her tears have failed to offer her as yet.

After Creusa’s monody (ll.859-922), the Chorus’ women are shocked by their mistress’ revelations about her intercourse with Apollo, and they predict that everyone will cry at Creusa’s misfortunes: οἴμοι, μέγας θησαυρὸς ὡς ἀνοίγνυται | κακῶν, ἐφ᾽ οἷσι πᾶς ἂν ἐκβάλοι δάκρυ (ll.923-924 “Ah me, what a vast treasure-trove of evils is opened up! Everyone would shed a tear at this”).[33] By using the word πᾶς, the Chorus invite both the internal audience (Creusa and the Pedagogue) and the external audience to a mutual emotional response. The Pedagogue conforms immediately[34] to the emotional response suggested by the Chorus, and as being himself Creusa’s internal audience (…σὸν βλέπων | … πρόσωπον, ll.925-926 “as I look on your face”) he reacts as an “ideal spectator”, perhaps exhorting in this way the external audience to a similar response: <ὦ> θύγατερ, οἴκτου σὸν βλέπων ἐμπίμπλαμαι | πρόσωπον, ἔξω δ᾽ ἐγενόμην γνώμης ἐμῆς (ll.925-926 “daughter, I am filled with pity as I look on your face and I am beyond clear thought”).[35] The chiastic order οἴκτου ἐμπίμπλαμαι – ἔξω δ᾽ ἐγενόμην γνώμης highlights the contrast between the emotion (οἴκτου) and the reason (γνώμης) with the former depriving someone of the possibility of rational self-control (ἔξω δ᾽ ἐγενόμην γνώμης ἐμῆς, l.926). For the Pedagogue, emotion and reason are impossible to coalesce and coexist in such a situation.

The mss render the above line (l.925) as follows: line ὦ θύγατερ, οὔτοι σὸν βλέπων ἐμπίμπλαμαι. The conjecture οἴκτου for the οὔτοι has been suggested by Nauck, and accepted by quite a few scholars,[36] including Diggle and recently Martin in his Ion’s edition. The word οἴκτου seems to be suitable here, for it reflects precisely the Pedagogue’s involvement in the Chorus’ request, and thus the old man includes himself in the mutual reaction (πᾶς) urged by the Chorus. The pity he feels for Creusa is filled with tears since a few lines below, just before he learns about Creusa’s intercourse with Apollo, he exclaims: …ὡς ἀπαντᾷ δάκρυά μοι τοῖς σοῖς λόγοις (l.940 “Ah! my tears flow to meet your words”).

Creusa confides in him that she exposed her infant in a cave of Acropolis, and then delineates the Pedagogue’s stage behavior and stage reaction: τί κρᾶτα κρύψας, ὦ γέρον, δακρυρροεῖς; (l.967 “why, old man, do you cover your head and weep?”). Pedagogue’s veiling his head[37] constitutes a “psychological gesture”,[38] that is, a movement expressing and externalizing the old man’s emotions.[39]

Creusa and the Pedagogue plan to murder Ion with the old man failing eventually to kill him, and then Ion chases Creusa to punish her. In the play’s exodos, Pythia comes on stage, saving Creusa from Ion’s rage. At the end of her speech (ll.1357-1368), the prophetess advises Ion to set out for Athens and look for his mother. Thinking about his mother’s identity and his birth, Ion bursts into tears:

φεῦ φεῦ· κατ᾽ ὄσσων ὡς ὑγρὸν βάλλω δάκρυ,
ἐκεῖσε τὸν νοῦν δούς ὅθ᾽ ἡ τεκοῦσά με
κρυφαῖα νυμφευθεῖσ᾽ ἀπημπόλα λάθρᾳ
καὶ μαστὸν οὐκ ὑπέσχεν… (ll.1369-1372)

“Ah! How I shed a moist tear down my cheeks, as I think of that time when the woman who bore me after some hidden love-affair tried to smuggle me away secretly and gave me no nurture from her breast”.

The young man demonstrates the same emotional reaction Creusa demonstrated when she faced Apollo’s temple and recalled her past. Creusa and Ion might not share a common past, and have a different connection to it, yet they both have the same emotional response to it.[40]

To sum up, in this paper, I have focused on the ways by which Euripides in the Ion demonstrates to his audience suitable models for emotional reaction to what is happening on stage. Throughout the play, the spectators are encouraged to engage in a process of emotional response to what they see. For instance, in the first exchange between Creusa and Ion, Euripides suggests pity as the appropriate way of emotional reaction to this dialogue. Watching their lady’s spouse find a “son”, Creusa’s maids invite the spectators to share with them the feelings of disaffection and fear. Feeling compassion for “tragic” heroine’s “misfortunes”, they suggest tear dropping as a mutual emotional reaction: πᾶς ἂν ἐκβάλοι δάκρυ (l.924 “everyone would shed a tear at this”). These intra-dramatic models reveal, after all, how Euripides imagines the emotional impact of his own performance, as well as the emotional reactions his dramatic art could arouse.[41]

Footnotes
* This is a slightly revised version of the third chapter of my M.A. thesis Metapoetry in Euripides’ Ion. I would like to thank Helen Gasti, Associate Professor of Ancient Greek and Latin Literature at the University of Ioannina, for her constructive criticism. I am also profoundly indebted to Katerina Synodinou, Emerita Professor of Ancient Greek Literature at the University of Ioannina, for her comments on previous drafts of this paper. It goes without saying that the responsibility for all remaining errors is mine. For Ion’s text I follow Diggle (1981) and for its English translation I quote from Lee (1997: 46-157).
[1] For Ion’s dating, see Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1926: 24); Owen (1957: xxxvi-xxxvii); Macurdy (21966: 84-91); Lee (1997: 40); Lesky (1983: 316, 473 n.252 with bibliography); Zacharia (2003: 3-5); Pellegrino (2004: 28-29); Swift (2008: 28-30); Martin (2010); Martin (2018: 24-32); Gibert (2019: 2-4).
[2] Hartung (1843: xii) has stressed that the tetralogy consisted of Ino, Erectheus, Ion, and the satyr play Skiron. Cf. Starkie (1909: 95 ad 434). Ferguson (1969: 112-117) notes that the tragic trilogy might have included Ion, Heracles, and Alope, because of their common theme of divine paternity.
[3] Swift (2008: 101, n.4) notes that the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD, www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk) lists 58 performances based on Ion between 1754 and 2005. For the possible reasons that Ion is not chosen to be staged, see Hartigan (2015: 555-557).
[4] Cf. Willetts (1973: 204), who notes that “critics agree that the plot of the Ion is excellent”.
[5] In his study with the groundbreaking title “Euripidean Comedy”, Knox (1970: 68-96) [= Knox (1979: 250-274)] examines the comic elements of Euripides’ Electra and Ion, and notes that these two plays adumbrate the dramatic elements of the fourth-century comedy. Cf. Segal (1995: 47); Bartonkova (2001-2002: 40); Mastronarde (2010: 6). For Ion’s comic cases, see Seidensticker (1982: 211-241).
[6] Lada-Richards (2008: 463, n.16) notes that an earlier paper of hers [Lada (1993)] was one of the first that led the scholarship to the field of the audience’s response. Before the studies of Easterling and Lada-Richards, Grube (1973: 67) had already noted that the speaker in the Euripidean prologues displays his own emotions and awakens our emotional response. Grube goes on to write that “this first response inevitably conditions our feeling–tone during a good part of the play. As a rule, we share the emotions of the speaker and his sympathy for one of the main characters”.
[7] Lada-Richards (2008: 506-507) states that contemporary interpretive approaches to attic tragedy, harmonized with the tragedy’s self-referentiality, often interpret the internal audience as a substitute for the external audience, who is provided with the most appropriate models for their emotional reactions.
[8] Lada-Richards (2008: 459).
[9] It is worth noting the example of Aeschylus’ Persians and specifically the line καὶ φέρει σαφές τι πρᾶγος ἐσθλὸν ἢ κακὸν κλύειν (l.248) where Aeschylus highlights the different emotional responses of the external audience and the Chorus. The news of the Persians’ defeat brings about anguish to the internal spectators (Persians) but delight to the external (Athenian audience) [Grethlein (2007: 374)].
[10] Mastronarde (1975: 164) has argued that in the Ion “the audience is invited […] to sympathize with the human and all their turmoil”.
[11] See Lada-Richards (2008: 492); Nooter (2017: 256). For instance, the testimony of Aeschylus’ Bios (Ι.35-38) that during the performance of the Eumenides the infants fainted and the pregnant women miscarried because of the Erinyes’ gruesome appearance (τινὲς δέ φασιν ἐν τῇ ἐπιδείξει τῶν Εὐμενίδων σποράδην εἰσαγαγόντα τὸν χορὸν τοσοῦτον ἐκλπῆξαι τὸν δῆμον ὡς τὰ μὲν νήπια ἐκψῦξαι, τὰ δὲ ἔμβρυα ἐξαμβλωθῆναι) cannot be considered credible –all the more so because of its exaggeration in its description, but it certainly highlights the audiences’ emotional involvement in what they were watching. Stanford (1983: 6) writes that the authenticity of this description “has been challenged, but the record of some such strong emotional reaction may be true”. Cf. Nooter (2017: 256) who posits that this testimony, although it is a post-classical anecdote, constitutes a unique evidence for the reception of Eumenides. According to Nooter, the exaggeration of the description is to be found in the suffix ἐκ- of the infinitives ἐκπλῆξαι, ἐκψῦξαι, ἐξαμβλωθῆναι.
[12] The authorial intention is a complicated matter. We can never be sure that we will fully discern the intention of an author or that his intention tallies with the full meaning of a text. Nonetheless, it seems worthwhile to try to explain what the author might have intended to do. As for an ancient author/poet, it is even more difficult to discern his intention, inter alia due to time distance. For more information of this issue, see Mossman (1995: 6, n.10, where further bibliography). Mossman also writes that “Greek tragedians often make their characters or choruses say something which comes to signify more than the speaker intended (or could have intended) at the time of uttering it”. Cf. Lada-Richards (2008: 451).
[13] The repetition of the εὐτυχέω (τἄλλ᾽ εὐτυχοῦσ᾽…οὐκ εὐτυχεῖς, l.307) emphasizes Ion’s perception of Creusa’s misery.
[14] Lada-Richards (2008: 509) identifies in statements of sympathy a model both for viewing and for mental participation of the external audience in the passions of the “other”.
[15] See Chantraine (1968-1980: 91-92 s.v. ἄντα, ἄντη, ἄντι), Liddell & Scott & Jones (91996: 153 s.v. ἀντί).
[16] According to Renehan (1976: 48-49) [cited in Martin (2018: 220 ad 312)] the adverb αὖθις heightens the meaning of the prefix ἀντ- of the ἀντοικτίρειν.
[17] Martin (2018: 220 ad 312) posits that Creusa and Ions’ relationship “is lifted to another level through the mutuality of their feelings and the awareness of it. In this way the distance created by his namelessness and expressed in the continued ξένε is overcome”. Lee (1997: 194 ad 319-20) notes that Creusa has found not parallel but complementary woes.
[18] Martin (2018: 220-221 ad 320).
[19] Rynearson (2014: 50).
[20] Several times, tragic characters explain the causes of their (or other characters’) emotional reaction and especially the pity. For instance, cf. the ll.121-126 of Sophocles’ Ajax. Addressing Athena, Odysseus explains the pity he feels for Ajax by saying: ἐγὼ μὲν οὐδέν᾽ οἶδ᾽· ἐποικτίρω δέ νιν | δύστηνον ἔμπας, καίπερ ὄντα δυσμενῆ, | ὁθούνεκ᾽ ἄτῃ συγκατέζευκται κακῇ, | οὐδὲν τὸ τούτου μᾶλλον ἢ τοὐμὸν σκοπῶν· | ὁρῶ γὰρ ἡμᾶς οὐδὲν ὄντας ἄλλο πλὴν | εἴδωλ᾽ ὅσοιπερ ζῶμεν ἢ κούφην σκιάν. For this passage of Ajax and the explanation of Odysseus’ pity, see Finglass (2011: 173 ad 121-6). Cf. Lada-Richards (2008: 531) who stresses that tragedy breaks ground, even over Aristotle, in recognizing the mental element of any emotional reaction and in particular the mental processing of a situation that enables the stimulation of the compassion.
[21] Xuthus: ὑμῖν δὲ σιγᾶν, δμωΐδες, λέγω τάδε, | ἢ θάνατον εἰπούσαισι πρὸς δάμαρτ᾽ ἐμήν (ll.666-667 “You serving women! I order you to be quiet about these things, or I promise you death if you speak of them to my wife”). There are several instances of the Greek tragedy where the chorus are usually sympathetic to the character requesting silence, “and their obedience is to be expected and need not even be expressed” [Lee (1997: 234 ad 666-7)]. Xuthus here notes, even implicitly, that he is aware of the Chorus’ sympathy to Creusa and not to him, and therefore aware of their role: if the Chorus speak, his plan will be ruined. Thus, the punishment, if they do break their silence and confess the “truth” to Creusa, will be death. Xuthus’ harsh attitude towards the Chorus may adumbrate the maiden’s imminent role: they are threatened with death because they are very likely to divulge the “truth”. Cf. Gibert (2019: 227 ad 666-7) who writes that “Xuthus does not have the Chorus’ sympathy; indeed, the very abruptness of his command and the severity of his threat may contribute to an expectation that they will disobey him”.
[22] The Chorus’ active involvement in the play’s plot proves that Aristotle’s judgment of the Euripidean choruses (Poetics 1456a25-27: καὶ τὸν χορὸν δὲ ἕνα δεῖ ὑπολαμβάνειν τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, καὶ μόριον εἶναι τοῦ ὅλου καὶ συναγωνίζεσθαι μὴ ὥσπερ Εὐριπίδῃ ἁλλ’ ὥσπερ Σοφοκλεῖ) “is by no means valid in every case” [Lesky (1983: 320)].
[23] Owen (1957: 116 ad 685) has argued that in this passage the οὐ σαίνει suggests the idea of fear. Commenting on the ll.862-863 of Euripides’ Hippolytus (Theseus: καὶ μὴν τύποι γε σφενδόνης χρυσηλάτου | τῆς οὐκέτ᾽ οὔσης οἵδε προσσαίνουσί με), Barrett (1964: 328 ad 862-3) writes that the verb σαίνειν is used “(chiefly in tragedy) of a person or thing which attempts to rouse, or which in fact rouses, a person’s favourable emotion”. In light of Barrett’s point of view, I would say that the negative mode of οὐ σαίνει in the Ion implies the exactly opposite connotations from what the σαίνει does: the Chorus here try to rouse audience’s unfavorable emotions against both the divine pronouncements (θέσφατα) and Xuthus.
[24] In the parts constituting the second stasimon (strophe, antistrophe, epode), Martin (2018: 312) discerns a structural coherence, and notes that “in each part the chorus express a different emotion felt towards a character whom they perceive as hostile: suspicion against Apollo in the strophe, disappointment at Xuthus in the antistrophe, and xenophobia against Ion in the epode”.
[25] The noun συμφορὰ is neutral and means “event, circumstance”. See Liddell & Scott & Jones (91996: 1687-1688 s.v. συμφορά). The word’s exact meaning (either “good luck” or “misfortune”) is determined each time by its context [cf. Owen (1957: 108 ad 536)]. I quite agree with Owen (1957: 116 ad 687) that the συμφορὰ here is neutral. Both here and in the l.699 (νῦν δ᾽ ἡ μὲν ἔρρει συμφοραῖς, ὁ δ᾽ εὐτυχεῖ) the neutral meaning of the word preserves the dramatic suspense about what is going to happen. More concretely, the combination of the words συμφορὰν and βάσεται indicates the run of the events, whether they lead to a happy or to a tragic end. Hence, both Lee’s (1997: 95) translation of the ll.686-687 “I am fearful of the outcome” and Gibert’s (2019: 232 ad 688-9) “I fear the outcome” are very insightful, for they manage to transcribe into English the word’s neutrality.
[26] The ll.690-693 (ἄτοπος ἄτοπα γὰρ παραδίδωσί μοι, | τάδε θεοῦ φήμα. | πλέκει δόλον τύχαν θ’ ὁ παῖς | ἄλλων τραφεὶς ἐξ αἱμάτων) do not affect the direct connection between ll.685-687 (οὐ γάρ με σαίνει θέσφατα μή τιν᾽ ἔχῃ δόλον. | δειμαίνω συμφοράν, | ἐφ᾽ ὅ <τι> ποτὲ βάσεται) and l.694 (τίς οὐ τάδε ξυνοίσεται;) because they explain (γάρ, l.690) the reasons of the Chorus’ very reaction. I believe that the demonstrative τάδε (l.694) refers to ll.685-693. If my suggestion holds water, then the Chorus’ women singing the first stanza want the spectators (internal and external) to harmonize not only with the emotional reaction suggested, but with the explanation/justification of this reaction as well.
[27] For the meanings, see Liddell & Scott & Jones (91999: 1686-1687 s.v. συμφέρω ΒΙΙ).
[28] Cf. Owen (1957: 117 ad 694) who takes the τάδε for the internal accusative of the ξυνοίσεται, and translates “agree (with us) in this”.
[29] The term “stage behavior”, belongs to Papazoglou (2007: 218, n.6). In her paper, Papazoglou defines as “stage behavior” both the movements and the means (utterance, crosstalk, monody, scream, silence) used by a dramatic character. For Creusa’s very “stage behavior” here, see the insightful comments of Gibert (2019: 169 ad 241-242).
[30] According to Weiss (2008: 40), Creusa dwells on the past in contrast to Ion, who is embedded in the present, while his interest in the past awakens when he meets Creusa. Cf. Weiss (2013: 37, 39). For the concept of time in the Ion, see Lee (1996).
[31] For the connection between the soul and the body, (pseudo-)Aristotle writes in his Physiognomics (808b12-15) that changes of the soul are associated with changes in the form of the body, and vice versa when the body changes, the soul changes as well: δοκεῖ δέ μοι ἡ ψυχὴ καὶ τὸ σῶμα συμπαθεῖν ἀλλήλοις· καὶ ἡ τῆς ψυχῆς ἕξις ἀλλοιουμένη συναλλοιοῖ τὴν τοῦ σώματος μορφήν, πάλιν τε ἡ τοῦ σώματος μορφὴ ἀλλοιουμένη συναλλοιοῖ τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς ἕξιν. The passage is cited in Lada-Richards (2008: 508).
[32] Cf. Lee (1997: 259-260 ad 876). Martin (2018: 369 ad 876-7) has observed that the mention of physical symptoms underscores how Creusa “feels before freeing herself, having lost full control over her body”.
[33] The potential optative πᾶς ἄν ἐκβάλοι δάκρυ (l.924) here equals to a strong, though courteous, future indicative [for such a function of the potential optative, see Smyth (1920: 408-409)]. Thus, it underlines Chorus’ certainty about the audience’s emotional engagement.
[34] Lee (1997: 264-265 ad 925-6) notes that the Pedagogue “takes up the Chorus’ reaction immediately with an expression of pity, but this is cut short by his inability to understand Creusa’s news. After hearing Creusa’s explanation of events he returns in 966ff. to a fuller expression of pity”. Cf. Gibert (2019: 267 ad 923-4), who stresses that πᾶς ἄν ἐκβάλοι δάκρυ “provides a cue for an emotional response taken up by the Old Man”.
[35] The Pedagogue’s direct involvement in the emotional response suggested by the Chorus’ women is actuated by Creusa’s face (mask). Additionally, the emotional impact of Creusa’s mask is underlined by the hyperbaton σὸν … πρόσωπον.
[36] Except for Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1926: 129 ad 925), who cites the l.664 of Euripides’ Hippolytus (ὄλοισθε. μισῶν δ᾽ οὔποτ᾽ ἐμπλησθήσομαι | γυναῖκας…, ll.664-665) in order to defend the mss (οὔτοι). Both Lee (1997: 264-265 ad 925-6) and Martin (2018: 381 ad 925) agree with the emendation suggested by Nauck, and Martin notes that “the transmitted text θύγατερ οὔτοι is metrically deficient and of questionable sense”. Martin also states that the οἴκτου “echoes the chorus’ show of sympathy and makes 970 the perfect close of a ring composition”. Cf. Gibert (2019: 267 ad 925-6).
[37] Cairns (2009: 47) notes that “references to […] veiling in the tragic text […] regularly function as embedded stage directions. In one typical scenario, a character veils to conceal his or her tears, a significant action which will have been immediately apparent to the theatrical audience; but the stage direction is embedded in the text by means of another character’s questions which comment on the gesture and draw attention to the ‘tears’ which it is intended to represent. Veiling is thus useful as an emotional marker in a masked performance in which the shedding of actual tears by the actor is impossible”.
[38] The “psychological gesture” is a movement expressing the psychology of the tragic character. For this technique, see Solomon (2002: 17-19).
[39] Lee (1997: 268 ad 967) stresses that veiling the head was a traditional gesture of mourning. The Pedagogue’s gesture symbolizes his despair, and highlights the decisiveness he will soon show in order to turn the passive lament into a dynamic revenge.
[40] According to Lee (1997: 302 ad 1369-70), Ion closely resembles Creusa on her first entrance: they both weep (ll.241f., l.1369) as they cast their minds back to the same past event (l.251, l.1370). Cf. also Martin (2018: 490 ad 1369-73).
[41] My wording here owes a lot to Lada-Richards (2008: 465).

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