Download A Companion to Tragedy by Rebecca Bushnell PDF

By Rebecca Bushnell

A spouse to Tragedy is an important source for someone drawn to exploring the function of tragedy in Western heritage and tradition.

  • Tells the tale of the ancient improvement of tragedy from classical Greece to modernity
  • Features 28 essays via well known students from a number of disciplines, together with classics, English, drama, anthropology and philosophy
  • Broad in its scope and ambition, it considers interpretations of tragedy via faith, philosophy and historical past
  • Offers a clean evaluate of old Greek tragedy and demonstrates how the perform of interpreting tragedy has replaced greatly long ago decades

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Of the very earliest tragedies – those attributed to the four tragedians older (it seems) than Aeschylus – we possess 18 titles, of which only two indicate myths about Dionysus. These are Pentheus, attributed to Thespis, and Dymainai, or Karyatides, attributed to Pratinas. Dymainai are said by the fifth-century AD lexicographer Hesychius to be choral bacchae (maenads, women performing cult for Dionysus) at Sparta. Heracleides of Pontus, who lived in the fourth century BCE, was accused by his contemporaryAristoxenos of forging plays by Thespis, but may have followed Thespis’ titles.

There is frequent reference to her maenadism and bacchic revelry (169, 171, 307, 341, 367, 408, 415, 500). To be sure, her frenzy is caused not by Dionysus but by Apollo (408). But when she says that she will kill Agamemnon and destroy (in return) his house (359, 461), and that her union with Agamemnon will cause matricide and the upturning of the house of Atreus (363–4), the Dionysiac imagery seems especially apt. Cassandra in Trojan Women appears running (307, 349). Emphasized in Bacchae is the ability of the maenads to run (731, 748, 1091–2).

But again, the very fact that there is an order and a divine plan in the cosmos is itself reassuring. Orestes, then, does not criticize the gods or challenge established religion; it sets out a complex religious exploration. Greek Tragedy and Ritual 21 Euripidean tragedies often explored problematic areas in the Greek religious system and the human relationships that were grounded in that system. They explored, among other things, the empirically observable fact that the world is cruel, and people suffer, by articulating the darkness and bleakness and offering ‘‘answers,’’ which were ultimately, in complex ways, reassuring.

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