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HesperosStudies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday$
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P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, and N. J. Richardson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199285686

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199285686.001.0001

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Desperate Straits and the Tragic Stage

Desperate Straits and the Tragic Stage

Chapter:
(p.189) 14 Desperate Straits and the Tragic Stage
Source:
Hesperos
Author(s):

Jasper Griffin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199285686.003.0014

This chapter focuses on tragedy in Greek poetry. Tragedy demands an intensity of suffering, emotion, atmosphere, and situation, exceeding that of ordinary existence. The poets can be seen to have a repertoire of devices to escape the humdrum daily round and to present life as more than just One Damn Thing After Another: to enliven and ennoble it with acute suffering, extreme situations, and agonizing decisions. All of that, of course, must be presented and experienced in the Grand Style. Those situations are intimately linked to events in real, recent, and contemporary life. The same scenes and the same pressures occur on the tragic stage and in the history of the 6th and 5th centuries BC. It cannot be doubted that influence flowed both ways. The tragedians echoed spectacular events of history; agents in that history behaved in ways influenced, perhaps dictated, by patterns familiar in poetry.

Keywords:   Greek tragedy, poetry, tragedians, Grand Style

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