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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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The Political Reception of Greek Tragedy

The Political Reception of Greek Tragedy

(p.143) Chapter 5 The Political Reception of Greek Tragedy
The Politics of Greek Tragedy

D. M. Carter

Liverpool University Press

This chapter returns to two tragedies already discussed (Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides’ Trojan Women) and charts their performance in recent times (with a particular focus on the second half of the twentieth century) on the stage and in TV and the cinema. Frequently we find ideas incorporated into modern translation and performance that would have been foreign to the ancient Greeks: Antigone as a freedom fighter against fascists; the Trojan Women as an anti-war play. The context of modern politics and warfare helps us to understand these emphases; and the differences from values of first performance are in themselves instructive. Greek tragedy in modern performance tends to strike an anti-establishment pose whereas in ancient Greece tragedy affirmed the established values of the polis.

Keywords:   Sophocles, Euripides, fascism, anti-war, performance

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