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Download A Companion to Tragedy by Rebecca Bushnell PDF

By Rebecca Bushnell

A better half to Tragedy is an important source for someone drawn to exploring the function of tragedy in Western historical past and tradition.

  • Tells the tale of the old improvement of tragedy from classical Greece to modernity
  • Features 28 essays by means 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 old Greek tragedy and demonstrates how the perform of interpreting tragedy has replaced substantially long ago decades

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Sample text

And we can extend the idea to cover other fundamental forms of the unity of opposites, notably human–animal, man–god, and male–female, each of which was associated with Dionysus (notably in Bacchae) and occurred in the ritual of mystic initiation. Extant tragedy can be called Dionysiac not just as originating and performed in the cult of Dionysus, but also in the tenuous sense that – in sharp contrast to, say, Homeric epic – it tends to embody all the aforementioned unities of opposites even when Dionysus himself is not involved.

About each of them we need to ask: in what social circumstances did human beings need to imagine her or him? The question may be, in certain divine manifestations, unanswerable. And even when it is answerable, the answer may consist of various social circumstances which have nothing to do with each other; or the same social circumstances may inspire the imagining of different deities (or no deity at all) in different places and times. Nevertheless, the question is worth asking, and we should ask it about Dionysus.

We have also traced the presence of Dionysus himself in what we know of Athenian tragedy. But clearly most of what survives is not about Dionysus. Can it make sense to call a narrative or drama Dionysiac if Dionysus himself plays no part in it? The obvious answer is no. But the question raises a broad issue. The Greek deities, we need to remind ourselves, are no more than human constructions. About each of them we need to ask: in what social circumstances did human beings need to imagine her or him?

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