In The Mourning Voice, Nicole Loraux presents a radical
challenge to what has become the dominant view of tragedy in recent
years: that tragedy is primarily a civic phenomenon, infused with
Athenian political ideology, which envisions its spectators first
and foremost as citizens, members of the political collective.
Instead, Loraux maintains, the spectator addressed by tragedy is
the individual defined primarily in terms of his or her humanity,
rather than in terms of affiliation with a political group. The
plays, she says, involve the spectators in the emotional
expressiveness of tragic suffering, thereby creating a theatrical
identity. Aroused by the experience of suffering, the audience is
reminded that it is witnessing a theatrical representation of the
instability of the human condition-a state that Loraux asserts
tragedy is uniquely suited to convey.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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