Seeing Sounds: Synaesthesia in the Parodos of Seven against Thebes


In the parodos of Seven against Thebes, as the Theban women express their anxiety and fear at the advance of the Argives, they vividly convey intense aural and visual impressions. Among these, of exceptional character is the synaesthetic metaphor κτύπον δέδορκα (103). In order to ascertain why does the Chorus resort to this formulation, embodying a merger of the senses, we need to assess its position within the women’s mode of perceiving reality in the parodos, while also attempting to trace its connection to the question of the faithful­ness of perception and verbal representation: a problematic evident throughout the play. This expression further calls to be assessed with regard to the question of female speech, essentially reflecting the Chorus’ outlook on reality, which comes into conflict with that of Eteokles both after the parodos and subsequent to his decision to face his brother, Poly­neikes, at the seventh gate.