This thesis is an examination of realism in the love elegies of Propertius: of how it is created, how it is limited, and how its limitations increase its effectiveness rather than diminishing it. The first half analyzes the variety and subtlety of the creation of realism in elegies 1.3, 2.29b, and 4.7, three poems that, because of shared features that link them to each other and set them apart from the rest of Propertius' elegies, represent a case study of realism. The second half begins by describing how the realism in these poems is limited, and how these limitations intensify the effect of their realism by drawing attention to the poet's agency in creating it. This effect is then related to larger trends in the creation and limitation of realism in Propertius' remaining love elegies, in which the same pattern is observed, by means of the analysis of recurring techniques. This examination of aspects of realism in Propertius's poetry provides insight not only into his poetic method, but into his attitude to his genre and potential.
I offer three readings of the Lemnian episode narrated by Hypsipyle in book five of the Thebaid, each based upon an interpretive tension created by textual, intertextual, and cultural factors and resolved by the death of Opheltes, the child nursed by Hypsipyle. In the first reading (chapter two), I suggest that Hypsipyle emphasizes the questionable nature of the evidence for the involvement of Venus and other divinities in the Lemnian massacre, which is on the surface quite obvious, as a subconscious strategy to deal with her fear of divine retribution against her and Opheltes. In the second reading (chapter three), I argue that much of the violence of the massacre is eroticized, primarily by allusions to Augustan elegy and Ovidian poetry, and that this eroticism challanges a straightforward, horrified reaction to the Lemnian episode. In the third reading (chapter four), which continues the argument of the second, I suggest that the reaction of Statius' audience to the Lemnian massacre was influenced by familiarity with the violent entertainment offered in the Roman arena, and that this encouraged the audience to identify with the perpetrators of the massacre rather than the victims. The problemization of the audience's reaction and of the divine involvement in the massacre is resolved by the death of Opheltes, which is portrayed as both undeniably supernatural in origin and emphatically tragic in nature. Thus, as the first half of the Thebaid draws to a close, Statius decisively affirms the power of the gods and the horrific tragedy of violence and prepares to embark upon the war in the Thebaid's second half, which will end ultimately with the double fratricide of the sons of Oediups and Statius' prayer for future generations to forget this sin.