This essay explains the appearance of tragic narrative patterns and motifs in the Croesus logos not as a passive manifestation of "tragic influence," but as a self-conscious textual strategy whereby Herodotus makes his narratives familiar and engaging while also demonstrating the distinctive traits of his own innovative discourse, historie. Herodotus' purposive appropriation and modification of tragic technique manifests the critical engagement with other authors and literary genres that is one of the defining features of the Histories. Herodotus embellishes the story of Atys and Adrastus with numerous formal and thematic features of Attic tragedy. Uniquely in the Histories, the story traces the full arc of a tragic drama, from the king's ominous dream of Atys' death to catastrophe, lament, and burial. The celebrated climactic description of Adrastus' suicide, however, transcends Herodotus' dramatic model. In describing Adrastus as the most unfortunate man "of all that he (Adrastus) himself knew," Herodotus introduces an idiom used elsewhere in the Histories to portray the activity of the histor, and thus places the unmistakable stamp of his own genre upon tragic narrative. In a fully mimetic episode that lacks the author's characteristically intrusive "voiceprint," Herodotus seems to suggest that he could beat the dramatists at their own game if he chose to play it. Two other episodes (thought by some to be based upon pre-existing tragedies) make similar use of tragic motifs on a smaller scale. In the story of Gyges and Candaules Herodotus adapts the Aeschylean motif of the decision made under duress to focus attention on human causation and socio-political issues of fundamental interest to him. Finally, the tragic stylization of Croesus' pyre scene allows Herodotus to manipulate audience expectations while subtly demonstrating, through the use of indirect discourse, the interest in source criticism that sets Herodotean historie apart from the poetic tradition.
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