Briseis

Briseis, a Passive Mobile Entity: Body and Movement as Symbols of ‘Otherness’ in the Iliad (Giulia Roncato, Trinity College Dublin)

1:00pm - 2:00pm / Thursday 29th October 2020
Type: Webinar / Category: Department
  • Admission: Please email Rachael Cornwell (R.H.Cornwell@liverpool.ac.uk) or Daniel Lowes (D.G.Lowes@liverpool.ac.uk) for the Zoom link.
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Briseis is both a woman and a slave. Her ‘dual otherness’ has received deep attention from scholars, who have analysed the theme from different perspectives. My aim is to contribute to this wide discussion through the methodology of Cognitive Linguistics. Particularly Cognitive Grammar and the concept of Embodied Image Schema will offer fruitful analytic tools for investigating Briseis’ otherness. The present paper will focus on Briseis’ movement (kinaesics) and body conceptualisation as they are represented through the lens of ‘us’.

Firstly, I will show that Briseis moves WITHIN the macro-world of ‘us’ (the Achaeans’ space) and BETWEEN the micro-worlds which fragment it (the warriors’ individual spaces). Moreover, Briseis’ kinaesics makes her what I have called a passive mobile entity: whereas the opposite micro-worlds are fixed, she links them through her transfer from one to another. Secondly, since a movement implies to own a body, I will show that Briseis’ corporeal substance is mobile as well. Finally, I will prove that the precondition for Briseis’ kinaesics and her bodily conceptualisation is her weightlessness.

The character’s otherness is therefore depicted through three linked semantic domains:

1) OTHERNESS AS A PASSIVE MOBILE ENTITY
2) OTHERNESS AS A MOBILE CORPOREAL SUBSTANCE
3) OTHERNESS AS WEIGHTLESSNESS