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The mother-in-law who flees: comedic women and their conflicts in Hecyra

Grant number: 15/00624-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): August 09, 2015
Effective date (End): November 08, 2015
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Languages
Principal Investigator:Isabella Tardin Cardoso
Grantee:Aline da Silva Lazaro Bragion
Supervisor: Stephen Harrison
Host Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Oxford, England  
Associated to the scholarship:14/12723-0 - The runaway mother-in-law: women, poetry and humour in Hecyra, BP.MS


This project aims to analyze how women are characterized in the comedy Hecyra ("The Mother-in-Law") by Terence (185-159 BC). It is part of a broader research, which includes a commented translation into Portuguese and explores the metatheatrical dimension and the feminine roles in the play. This intriguing yet few studied comedy notoriously touches on weighty themes, such as conflicts among women as well as between the sexes (including sexual violence and misogyny). My previous analysis of the initial parts of Hecyra (the prologues and the first two acts) focuses on the ways how the play introduces such themes and how the female figures are characterized in the introductory passages. Among the partial results of the investigation, I realized that attention to Terentian poetic language expressed in the prologues and in the initial scenes, as well as the presence of metatheatre and of references to characters and situations pertaining to the repertoire of the fabula palliata may reveal an underappreciated humour in Hecyra. During my research stay at the University of Oxford, I plan to study whether and how the subsequent acts of the play also employ such mechanisms.Key-words: Terence, Hecyra, Roman comedy, humour, metatheatre, women. (AU)

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