stichomythia

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Latin, from Ancient Greek στιχομυθία (stikhomuthía), from στίχος (stíkhos, line of verse) + μῦθος (mûthos, speech).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /stɪkəˈmɪθɪə/

Noun[edit]

stichomythia (plural stichomythias)

  1. (poetry) A technique in drama or poetry, in which alternating lines, or half-lines, are given to alternating characters, voices, or entities.
    • 1993, Anthony Burgess, A Dead Man In Deptford:
      The trial in the great hall under its high vaults, dusty sunlight shafting in, full of murmurers and growlers quietened by beadles and bailiffs, with howlers in the street held back with pikes, was by way of being a play without plot or exercise in what the Senecans term stichomythia.
    • 2006, Olga Freidenberg, Image and Concept, page 297:
      The stichomythias are just as necessary in Sophocles' tragedies as are his choruses.
    • 2012, R. B. Rutherford, Greek Tragic Style: Form, Language and Interpretation, page 165:
      The two modes have different effects: while a rhesis allows the speaker to give an account of himself, attempt to persuade his hearers, or move freely across a range of emotions or types of argument, stichomythia is better suited to swift exchange of information through question and answer, though it can also be used for spicy polemic, aggressive interrogation, or accusation and defence.

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