Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture -

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Ancient Greek theater performance: Electra, Euripides, Thessalian theater Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture. Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture

This article examines the way the ancient Greeks conceived of the emotions. Special attention is paid to the differences between classical Greek and modern English conceptions, in line with the view that culture plays a significant role in shaping the way emotions are experienced.

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Also considered are changes in the way the emotions are understood in early Christian and later texts, with occasional reference to Latin adaptations. In particular, the emotions of pity, anger, fear, love, and jealousy are examined in detail.

Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture

Keywords: affectemotionpityangerfearlovejealousy. Ancient Greek literature exhibits a wealth of emotions, whether in the behavior of characters in narratives or in the response elicited in the audience or readers. Gorgias Defense of Helen 9, Plato Republic 10, B-C, Isocrates Panegyricus; orators sought to stir pity in favor of defendants and anger against opponents, while gaining the affection or favor of the judges and deflecting their hatred; fear and Ths were a persistent theme in historical accounts of war; and philosophers offered sophisticated definitions, descriptions, and analyses of the emotions in rhetoric and with regard to attaining tranquility of mind.

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Even official inscriptions, posted on stone tablets Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture stelai and notable for their austere style, appeal to emotions, and private letters preserved on papyrus illustrate them as well. There is thus a wide range of material available for study, and recently there has been an abundance of serious research on emotion in the Greek and Roman worlds.

At first blush, it would seem that emotions are transhistorical, and that what Greeks thought and felt cannot have differed by much, or at all, from the emotions as they are experienced and understood today. This is not to say that I see no continuities at all; subtending the emotions are certain instinctive responses that I prefer to call affects, and that are common to all human beings and indeed to certain nonhuman animals as well.

David Konstan

But I find it useful Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture classify these sentiments as proto-emotions rather than as emotions in the full sense of the word. In fact, the Stoics held such a view in antiquity, I believe, distinguishing between pathos emotion and propatheia pre- or proto-emotionand their theory may well have its roots in Aristotle himself. We may take the example of pity as a starting point. Aristotle provides the following definition Rhetoric 2. Aristotle Rhetoric b Second, in order to feel pity, we must be vulnerable to the same kind of misfortune as the one we pity, but, as Aristotle makes clear, not actually be ourselves in the same condition—for in that case, we would no longer expect to encounter harm but, rather, would already be suffering it.

That is why, Aristotle affirms, those who have reached the nadir of adversity are not disposed to pity others, contrary to what some modern intuitions suggest.

Correspondingly, those who have been prosperous all lives do not anticipate calamities, and so they too are not given to pity. It is worth observing that, on this conception, an omnipotent deity would be incapable of such an emotion, since he or she would be invulnerable to harm.

Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture

These constraints, Euripiees are not specific to Aristotle, are evident in a wide range of Greek literature. Thus, when Aristotle claims that pity is one of the characteristic responses to tragedy, we need to inquire as to just what kind emotion he had in mind. We may take as a test case the Greek tragedy that, perhaps more than any other, seems designed to elicit the pity of the audience.

Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture

Whatever the case with pain, however, when it comes to pity we have just seen that, at least according to Aristotle, pain per se does not evoke it—only unmerited suffering. Did the audience, then, feel indignant with Philoctetes at this point for his obstinacy and withdraw its pity? If so, it would have prepared them for what, to many scholars, has seemed an abrupt turnabout at the end of the play, when Heracles Euripises as deus ex machina and instructs Philoctetes to rejoin the Greek forces and accomplish the destruction of Troy. Greek pity, then, and modern sympathy, to which Eagleton appeals, are not identical sentiments. Sympathy is a capacity to put oneself the position of another.

Pity did not imply identification with another, however much this may be the way we expect to be moved by the theater today.]

One thought on “Euripides And The Classic Greek Culture

  1. I can not take part now in discussion - it is very occupied. Very soon I will necessarily express the opinion.

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