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Theatre of the CondemnedClassical Tragedy on Greek Prison Islands$
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Gonda Van Steen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572885.001.0001

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Makronisos: Island of the ‘Greek Inventors of Barbarian Evils’

Makronisos: Island of the ‘Greek Inventors of Barbarian Evils’

(p.64) 2 Makronisos: Island of the ‘Greek Inventors of Barbarian Evils’
Theatre of the Condemned

Gonda Van Steen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 discusses the productions of ancient drama that were staged on Makronisos: it presents a diptych of two productions that reveal different levels of involvement on the part of actors, artists, inmate observers—and the camp keepers. Our analysis of the Antigone production that the authorities both encouraged and advertised is followed by a discussion of a more “genuine” Philoctetes (both staged in 1948). The chapter also concentrates on the regime's attempted monopoly on language and culture and on its fascist‐style use of the classics for propaganda purposes. The chapter unmasks the dynamics with which the Right manipulated the terms of political and moral “salvation” and religious and civic restoration. Theater became another means to the prison administration's end of “forging” a public consensus about the “rehabilitation” work that it was directing on Makronisos.

Keywords:   Greece, modern, political prisoners, ancient drama, Greek Civil War, Cold War, Makronisos, Sophocles, Antigone, Philoctetes, the Greek Right, propaganda, anticommunism

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