This paper explores the role of dilemma in the rhetoric, plot, and metaphysics of Lucan’s Bellum Ciuile. In passages including Nigidius Figulus’ speech in book 1, the narrator’s outcry at the beginning of book 2, and some descriptions of battle, dilemma resonates with Senecan tragedy to create generic dissonances within the epic and polarize readers’ responses to Roman history. It also provides a model for decision-making that favors Caesar’s headlong embrace of the inevitable civil war over other characters’ equivocation.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.