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The Politics of Greek Tragedy$
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D.M. Carter

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675501

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675501.001.0001

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Some Views, Their Implications

Some Views, Their Implications

(p.21) Chapter 2 Some Views, Their Implications
The Politics of Greek Tragedy

D. M. Carter

Liverpool University Press

This chapter takes a tour through six influential views from modern scholarship. Taken together they give a good illustration of the importance an difficulty of the topic. A.J. Podlecki's historicist approach relates Aeschylean tragedy to contemporary events and personages. C.W. Macleod prefers to interpret Aeschylus in terms of ancient Greek values: honour (timē) and justice (dikē). Simon Goldhill considers the plays against the festive background of first performance, concluding that they ask pertinent questions of democratic values. For Richard Seaford, tragedy characteristically re-enacts the demise of tyrants in sixth-century Greece and demonstrates a benefit for the city through the establishment of hero-cult. Mark Griffith underlines the importance of royal/heroic families to the storylines of Greek tragedy. For Edith Hall, tragedy gives voice to the various ‘others’ of Greek society, including women and barbarians. A concluding section demonstrates the use of these theories in the context of a critical summary of Aeschylus’ Oresteia.

Keywords:   historicism, justice, tyranny, hero-cult, Aeschylus

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