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Harmful Interaction between the Living and the Dead in Greek Tragedy$
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Bridget Martin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621501

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621501.001.0001

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The tragic dead: The witless and/or the aware

The tragic dead: The witless and/or the aware

(p.33) Chapter Two The tragic dead: The witless and/or the aware
Harmful Interaction between the Living and the Dead in Greek Tragedy

Bridget Martin

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the complex presentation of the tragic dead as both witless and aware in order to establish that the tragic dead have sufficient awareness (or the potential to gain this awareness) for interaction with the world of the living to be possible, and thus to make viable harmful interaction between the living and the dead. The chapter presents a sliding scale of awareness for the dead, beginning in total oblivion and extending to the physical manifestation of the dead on stage, passing through egocentric awareness, family reunion, social stratification, rewards and punishment, and access to prophetic knowledge. It is argued that the tragic dead are not static in the extent of their awareness; rather, depending on their role and importance within the tragedy, and the emotions and viewpoint of the living, they can move up and down the scale of awareness.

Keywords:   afterlife, social stratification, consciousness, awareness, rewards, punishments

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