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Choruses, Ancient and Modern$
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Joshua Billings, Felix Budelmann, and Fiona Macintosh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199670574

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670574.001.0001

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The Nostalgia of the Male Tragic Choru s

The Nostalgia of the Male Tragic Choru s

Chapter:
(p.173) 10 The Nostalgia of the Male Tragic Chorus
Source:
Choruses, Ancient and Modern
Author(s):

Sheila Murnaghan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199670574.003.0011

As they were incorporated into mythological plots, the choruses of classical Athenian tragedy took on fictional identities that departed from their status as performers in a celebratory communal ritual. In ‘The Nostalgia of the Male Tragic Chorus’, Sheila Murnaghan discusses tragic choruses portraying groups of men. These choruses often interact with the protagonists in ways that reflect contested, politically charged relations between leaders and followers. Choruses with tyrannical, self-interested leaders are more fully displaced from their underlying identities as joyful singers and dancers and more thoroughly oppressed by the conditions of their fictional roles, especially the debilitating effects of absence from home and old age. Choruses with good leaders are brought safely back from adventures abroad and may undergo an experience of rejuvenation that Greek culture associated with dancing and the influence of Dionysus.

Keywords:   old age, Greek tragedy, nostalgia, male choruses, leaders and groups, Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus, Dionysus, Children of Heracles, The Madness of Heracles, Persians, Ajax, chorus

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