Naomi Weiss

Dissertation Fellow
2013-2014
Naomi Weiss

In her dissertation, "Mousikē and Mythos: The Role of Choral Performance in Later Euripidean Tragedy," Naomi Weiss (Classics) examines the dramatic function of references to mousikē (music and dance) in the plays of Euripides, particularly in his supposedly "dithyrambic" choral odes. Weiss explores the dynamics of choreia (choral song and dance) and the sociocultural meanings of different musical images in four plays to demonstrate that these odes, which have often been considered disconnected, irrelevant, or even spurious, in fact play a crucial role in both directing and complementing the movement of the plot. There has been a tendency in Euripidean scholarship to see the proliferation of references to performance in the tragedian's later work as evidence for his increasing engagement with the “New Music”—the developments in musical style, instruments, and language in Athens in the late fifth century BCE. Weiss emphasizes how Euripides combines both new and traditional mousikē in language and performance to develop a musicality integrated within the fabric of each play.