role of catharsis in tragedy

A virtuous man grieves appropriately for those he has lost, rather than not grieving at all. (p.184) : University of Texas Press, 1995), 151–73. Since suffering is unpleasant to experience and to witness in others, in ordinary life humans tend to avoid its presence. Pericles seeks to reveal the things themselves to the Athenians, that is, to remind them of the realities that they may not currently be able to access, through λόγοι‎ that can again reveal what is good in the community to those who suffer. To return to Book II of Aristotle’s Rhetoric for a moment, we find there that Aristotle does not only offer a psychology of how pity takes place, but in doing so, also connects its presence to justice and to friendship. In friendship, a friend has genuine concern for the good of the other, even for the good of the other as ‘another self’, in the case of friendships of virtue (N. Ethics 1166a). Scodel notes that Sophocles, in particular among the tragedians, communicates the importance of compassion for those who suffer. articulated ideas were not separable.3 Tragedy as performance expresses the link between the rational, imaginative, and active elements of human nature through unifying them before an audience that understands the performance to be a deliberate act of communication to them, in a specific and ritualized context.4 Tragedy was not performed for only one individual, much less for the reader of a text, but rather for a community in an overtly political context. Croally observes that the very language of placing events es meson, or ‘at the centre’, is significant for its links to the democratic. Alcibiades is at the height of his own power, but shown to be brought down by his inability to live virtuously. In a sense, then, tragedy can ‘purge’ a city of its excesses, through serving as a reminder of what is. How much does does a 100 dollar roblox gift card get you in robhx? A. W. Pickard-Cambridge, The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, 2nd edn. (A spectator feels along with a character but not vice versa.) (38) That is, an interpretation that reads Aristotle as saying that the witnessing of tragedy removes what is problematic about emotions, rather than removing them altogether, is more consistent with his other remarks on the value of both fear and pity.   we can call up a picture, as in the practice of mnemonics by the use of mental images), but in forming opinions we are not free: we cannot escape the alternative of falsehood or truth’ (427b). See, for example, Martin, ‘Ancient Theatre’, 36–54. If we bring together both these directions of συμπάθεια‎—between character and spectator, and across audience members—we find that the dissonances between audience members, as much as the shared feelings, are necessary to encourage moral and political questioning.18 For, on an Aristotelian account, moral feeling, imagination, and practical reasoning are intimately linked. In Greek Tragedy, this term is used to describe the suffering a character faces because of a flaw in his nature, followed by a transformation or purification as a result of enduring the pain. But to take such comments as the final word on Athens would also be a misunderstanding of the truth of the πόλις‎. Douglas Cairns, ‘Values’, in Gregory (ed. ), Companion to Greek Tragedy, 297–8. Among the central features of audience experience, then, is to confront vulnerability in the characters and events being performed before them.10 Such vulnerability may include larger, abstract truths about mortality or sudden reversals of fortune that lead an individual to think of himself and his own vulnerability to suffering. Although Aristotle is often said to prioritize action (πρᾶξις‎) over character, and so to be less ‘psychological’ than many more recent playwrights,19 he does state the importance of a proper approach to character in tragedy. A general grumbling in one’s stomach is not an appetite; a desire to eat an apple is. (14) (8) H. P. Foley, ‘The Conception of Women in Athenian Drama’, in H. P. Foley (ed.). However, an audience member can easily imagine himself to be ‘good, but not perfect’, and so identify with the downfall of another person who is like us, or a little better or worse than us in particular respects. In an experience of fear for myself, my focus is on escaping or eluding the fearful object, or even a suffering person who reminds me of my own fears. Drama’s engagement of our J. C. Rolfe (Cambridge, Mass. (p.190) Indeed, in tragedy, we find a strong link between the affective and the intellectual. Music imitates life, and in turn the living are sympathetically affected by the music they hear; they become more like what they hear, which is itself (in some undefined way) already like the characters of people. Only a temporal end provides for the possibility of a teleological account of life, since the end of a story significantly shapes its interpretation and meaning. (p.201) Such restoration of perspective on one’s own life not only leads to greater contentment As will become clearer below, this diversity of feelings is key for producing a diversity of opinions in discussions of a play, and so also for assisting in the development of rational deliberation of social and political matters. (p.202) The invented narratives of tragedy may also sharpen insights into issues of more immediate and specific political relevance. (p.170) Richard Martin, ‘Ancient Theatre and Performance Culture’, in Maryanne McDonald and Michael Walton (eds.). Significantly, this πάθος‎ for suffering is a shared πάθος‎ with others, and in two directions: what I will call the ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ dimensions. It is thus a form of λόγος‎ overtly concerned with the arousal of feeling in the audience. The Dionysian festival was political in many of its non-dramatic events: for example, the presence of generals, the public display of tributes from other cities, awards given to those who had served the state, and the procession of orphans of war educated at state expense, all indicate the centrality of politics to the festival.5. Copyright © 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. Fear, too, is an appropriate response to certain threats, and indeed courage is not the absence of fear in every circumstance. Consider some of the well-known adulatory remarks Pericles delivered in his funeral oration, as reported by Thucydides: We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show, and place the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining the struggle against it. The imagination presents the object to the subject as a φάντασμα‎, an image that in the absence of the object becomes an interpreter of a prior sense experience. mechanistically. The poet can express ‘what such and such a kind of man will probably or necessarily say or do’ (1451b). Stepping beyond Aristotle himself, the chapter argues that tragedy can enlarge a community’s vision of its own identity and the realities of its own citizens, including vulnerable citizens. (p.179) Philoctetes), we find a ‘vertical’ connection between character and audience, one that is asymmetrical. ), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 3–35. Who is the longest reigning WWE Champion of all time? Free male citizens are asked to experience a degree of dissonance in themselves, insofar as they can identify with an individual who moves from the centre to the margins of society. Third, how does the performative nature of tragedy inform what might be intended by the idea of κάθαρσις‎? For example, Antigone’s rebellion against male structures of power is also done for the sake of her brother, for whom she is willing to sacrifice her own life so that she might join him in the same grave. (39) Ποίησις‎, however, has fewer limits. As Brann describes φάντασμα‎, the image is not simply given by the imagination, but rather is a ‘result that it achieves’.33 In other words, Aristotle’s understanding of the imagination is an active faculty, one that participates in the production of our understanding of whatever is imagined. ), Companion to Greek Tragedy, 404–5. Imagination is the key to linking these two dimensions of human experiences, for through its exercise, affect and practical reasoning are united. ), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 36. While contemporary students of Greek drama are often readers of texts, dramas were experienced as performances. Even when his own son, Haemon, and a respected prophet ask Creon to reconsider his decision, he dismisses them as foolish and remains firm. See F. I. Zeitlin, Playing the Other: Gender and Society in Classical Greek Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996) and Mary Ebbott, ‘Marginal Figures’, in Gregory (ed. Indeed, the interlinking of music, dance, and rhythm in ancient tragedy would only heighten the effect of such mimetic power. Traditionally, the intention of tragedy is to invoke an accompanying catharsis, or a "pain [that] awakens pleasure", for the audience. The imagination is not merely a passive faculty that re-presents a prior experience. Indeed, its presence in those who are experienced, educated, and who believe in the possibility of undeserved suffering suggests that there is It examines how the public, performed aspect of tragedy and witnessing tragedy as a political community are significant for the body politic. Edith Hall, Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660–1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 123. Alcibiades breaks into the party of the Symposium and its order and reveals how he is at once in love with and disturbed by Socrates and his effect on his soul. (26) Instead, its λόγοι‎ and events reveal the nature of things, human things, through expanding the realm of what is ‘possible’. ), Greek Tragedy and the Historian (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 56–8. To this extent, the imagination is also a rational and thinking faculty, in a way. ), Companion to Greek Tragedy, 233–49. (12) Sourvinou-Inwood, ‘Assumptions’, 144. Of course, tragedy does not force an audience member to undergo such an intellectual transformation; neither does philosophical dialogue. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 236; Croally, ‘Tragedy’s Teaching’, 62–3. His work on καθάρσις‎ is available in Andrew Laird (ed.

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