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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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Four Political Tragedies

Four Political Tragedies

(p.90) Chapter 4 Four Political Tragedies
The Politics of Greek Tragedy

D. M. Carter

Liverpool University Press

In this chapter there are detailed discussions of two plays of Sophocles (Ajax, Antigone) and two of Euripides (Suppliants, Trojan Women). The discussion unpicks some of the key political issues that are explored in the plays; it can be assumed that these issues not only made for good drama but were also of interest to members of the original fifth-century audience. Some recurrent issues may surprise modern readers: it may not concern us very much how best to treat our enemies when they have died, but this type of crisis recurs in several tragedies as well as in the Iliad. A concluding section shows how these issues helped the theatre-goer to think about what it meant to be a member of a Greek city-state.

Keywords:   Sophocles, Euripides, political drama, Iliad, city-state

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