Beginnings matter. In tragedy, specifically, the first act is the initial tableau in a larger composition, introducing the raw material—themes, characters, and mythological crisis—whose development and consequences will comprise the poetic action. Seneca's are a case in point: although scholars have noted that his first acts can be ‘somewhat separate’ from the main action of the plot and overly general or preliminary in character, this is only true in dramatic terms; a holistic approach to Senecan tragedy regularly reveals the artistry of a first act in retrospect, from the standpoint of a play's conclusion. The scattering of Hippolytus’ companions (Pha. 1-30), for example, foreshadows his eventual dismemberment; and the extent of his patron's Diana's dominion (54-72) is ultimately dwarfed and subsumed by that of Amor. Echoes of the ghost of Thyestes’ prologue in Cassandra's final speech (Ag. 1004-11), similarly, approximate the epic technique of ring-composition, with supernatural voices of authority replacing that of epic's third-person narrator at the bookends of the drama. However dramatically detached a first act might appear, Senecan technique prioritizes the establishment of thematic, intellectual, and lexical foundations for what follows.