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Greek Fragments in Postmodern FramesRewriting Tragedy 1970-2005$
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Eleftheria Ioannidou

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664115.001.0001

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Viewing through the Frame of Tragedy

Viewing through the Frame of Tragedy

(p.39) 2 Viewing through the Frame of Tragedy
Greek Fragments in Postmodern Frames

Eleftheria Ioannidou

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines plays that turn to Greek tragedy in response to collective predicament and catastrophe in the contemporary world. The discussion focuses on Steven Berkoff’s Greek, after Oedipus the King, Hélène Cixous’s La Ville parjure, ou le réveil des Erinyes (The Perjured City, or the Awakening of the Furies), and Martin Crimp’s Cruel and Tender, an adaptation of Sophocles’ The Women of Trachis. While in the first two examples the adaptation of tragic themes and patterns involves a critique of tragedy and its histories of reception, Crimp’s play challenges Western perceptions of tragedy in a more overt manner, resisting the polarizing discourses of tragedy reproduced by the mainstream media in the aftermath of 9/11. The rewriting of the Greek tragic texts in these plays provides a frame that challenges established definitions of tragedy and, at the same time, proposes a renewed more egalitarian understanding of tragedy.

Keywords:   Steven Berkoff, Greek, Oedipus the King, Hélène Cixous, La Ville parjure, ou le réveil des Erinyes, Eumenides, The Oresteia, Martin Crimp, Cruel and Tender, The Women of Trachis

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