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O'Hearn LJ. Octavia in the Octavia. 2005.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/4659
Octavia in the Octavia
The figure of Octavia in the drama of the same name is made up of leading female characters from Greek and Roman tragedy and Roman literature more than she is a reflection of historical reality. The unknown author was influenced by Seneca and drew extensively on histragedies and philosophical works. This paper will examine Seneca's influence primarily, but will also look at the author's debts to Sophocles and Euripides. Although these writers had differing ideas about the nature of tragedy, their female characters shared some defining traits: passion, obstinacy, the preference for death over indignity, loyalty to familial bonds and wrath if these are broken, and self-awareness. The author's use of these traits in creatinghis Octavia was affected by the play's genre, 'fabula praetexta', and his putative intent to demonise Nero. In order to examine the character Octavia effectively, it is also necessary to consider the roles played by Poppaea and Agrippina.