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

Gregory A. Staley

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195387438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195387438.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. 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: 26 June 2019

Conclusion: Stoic Tragedy

Conclusion: Stoic Tragedy

(p.121) Conclusion: Stoic Tragedy
Seneca and the Idea of Tragedy

Gregory A. Staley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Seneca’s idea of tragedy included more than simply his tragedies. By linking tragedy with both his art and his death, Seneca played a role in transforming the idea of tragedy from the theory of a literary genre into a vision of experience. The Stoics regularly used tragedy as a metaphor for life, and Seneca’s use of the analogy demonstrates that tragedy was not for him the antitype of philosophy; it was the perfect vehicle for imaging lives that were antithetical to philosophy. If all the world’s a stage, then the stage must represent not just itself but all the world as well: an emperor on the stage, a philosopher wearing a mask, a society of bread and circuses, the rhetorical world of fictional debates, and a soul where passion and reason act out their parts. Shakespeare misunderstood his Senecan source when he asserted that tragedy is “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Keywords:   tragedy as a metaphor, Stoics, Shakespeare, fury, signifying

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 .