Questioners suggestions negated in turn

A device widely used in narrative is that someone asks a question and suggests possible answers to it, and the respondent negates them one by one before giving the true answer. When Hector goes home and finds that his wife is not there, he asks the servants:

Has she gone to one of her sisters-in-law or mine, or to the temple of Athena, where the other women of Troy propitiate the dread goddess?

And the answer comes:

107 Il. 6. 395 f., cf. 2. 672 f., 21. 85 f., Od. 1. 22 f.; Il. 23. 641 f., cf. 20. 371 f., 22. 127 f. The figure also appears in Semitic poetry (Akkadian, Ugaritic, Hebrew); see West (1997), 256 f.

108 Scela muicce Maic Datho, line 197 Thurneysen.

109 Cf. 36. 8-9. More in Detter-Heinzel (1903), ii. 275.

110 Chadwick (1932), 82, lines 25 f.; cf. 88, lines 253 f., 262 f.; 120, lines 149 f., 151 f.; 164, lines 1-4.

111 SCHS i. 364. 169 f.; cf. 177 f., 180 f.; ii, no. 1. 2-3; no. 4. 296 f., 1202 f. Further Slavonic and Baltic examples in Hofmann (1930), 39-42.

She has not gone to one of her sisters-in-law or yours, or to the temple of Athena, where the other women of Troy propitiate the dread goddess: she has gone to the great wall of Ilios . ..

I could fill several pages with examples from Hittite, from the Indian epics, from Old English and Norse, from Armenian, Russian and Serbo-Croat heroic poems, and from Lithuanian ballads, but it is sufficient to note the fact and to cite references.112

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