Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Strangeness of Tragedy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Paul Hammond

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572601.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 December 2018

Seneca

Seneca

Thyestes

Chapter:
(p.106) 6 Seneca
Source:
The Strangeness of Tragedy
Author(s):

Paul Hammond

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572601.003.0007

In reading Seneca's Thyestes, the Aristotelian or Hegelian models of tragedy seem not to fit: there is no error, no trajectory which brings the protagonist from a height to a depth, nor is there any conflict between opposing principles. Aristotelian pity for undeserved misfortune and fear for a man like ourselves do not suffice as the appropriate terms for our response to the vengeance which Atreus wreaks upon his brother Thyestes by killing his children and making him eat them unawares: rather, horror, and a form of terror at the capacities of the human which are revealed to us. But the play is tragic in pushing human nature to the brink, and perhaps beyond: we are forced to attend to the bending of the human beyond what we normally prefer to think of as its limits, beyond its definition: supraque fines moris humani. The external natural world is used as a metaphor for what we would want to call the physiological, or psychological or moral, disturbance of the protagonist.

Keywords:   Seneca, Thyestes, tragedy, Atreus, horror, natural world, metaphor, terror, human nature

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .