By Rebecca Bushnell
A better half to Tragedy is a necessary source for somebody drawn to exploring the position of tragedy in Western background and tradition.
- Tells the tale of the ancient improvement of tragedy from classical Greece to modernity
- Features 28 essays by way of 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 heritage
- Offers a clean evaluate of historic Greek tragedy and demonstrates how the perform of studying tragedy has replaced appreciably some time past decades
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Extra resources for A Companion to Tragedy
67). 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.
This is a paradox, and paradox characterizes religion and the world of the gods which is unknowable to men. One of the perceptions expressed in such myths is that ultimate religious reality lies beyond the limits of human rationality. This Dionysiac challenge of human rationality invites exploration, both in itself and also insofar as it presents a polarized version of the unknowability of the divine will and so appropriate human behavior – at least in cases in which the latter is not based on customs hallowed by tradition, practices that, as the Greeks saw it, had proved their efficacy through the longevity and prosperity of the communities that practiced them.
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). In Euripides’ Suppliants Evadne comes ‘‘running from my house in a bacchic frenzy’’ (1000–1) to jump onto the funeral pyre of her husband.