The visual dimension of tragedy
DOI link for The visual dimension of tragedy
The visual dimension of tragedy book
This extraordinarily succinct and perceptive passage from T.S.Eliot’s early essay, ‘Seneca in Elizabethan Translations’, puts the theme of this book in a nutshell. Behind the words of Greek tragedy there is action, behind the action emotion: the abstract and concrete are made one, the emotion and the meaning are indivisible. The actual and felt play is my subject. Greek tragedy is often thought of as static, verbal, didactic and irretrievably alien: I hope to show, rather, how it is theatrical, emotional, absorbing-and so can still speak directly to us. Great playwrights have been practical men of the theatre, never mere scriptwriters-Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Molière, Racine, Chekhov, Shaw, Brecht…. They have wrought, not just written, plays. They have supervised the rehearsal, directed the movement of their works, overseen their music, choreography and design, and often have acted themselves. They composed works to be performed before an audience. For them the play is realized, finds its finished state, in the theatre.