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Shakespeare and Classical TragedyThe Influence of Seneca$
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Robert S. Miola

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112648

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112648.001.0001

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Senecan Tyranny

Senecan Tyranny

(p.68) 3 Senecan Tyranny
Shakespeare and Classical Tragedy

Robert S. Miola

Oxford University Press

Albertino Mussato's Ecerinis, the first tragedy of the Trecento, exhibited the first of many instances of the how the portrayal of certain protagonists and tyrants seems relatively similar across several different tragedies of Senecan form and style. Such tyrants are illustrated as characters that exude lawless egoism, glorification, and an almost absurd degree of persistent self-expression. In this case, political power for such characters presents opportunities for fulfilling all sorts of desires. Senecan style facilitates and features the shift of such insatiability of desires to theomachic aspiration. For tyrants with such power, possibilities are endless because their actions are not merely limited to those that can be recognized by making use of the plain senses. This chapter focuses on providing a comparison of how Mussato and Shakespeare express their thoughts regarding Renaissance and Senecan tyrants.

Keywords:   Albertino Mussato, Ecerinis, Seneca, egoism, glorification, self-expression, insatiability, theomatic aspiration, Senecan tyrants, Renaissance tyrants

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