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The Tangled Ways of ZeusAnd Other Studies In and Around Greek Tragedy$
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Alan H. Sommerstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568314

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568314.001.0001

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Violence in Greek drama *

Violence in Greek drama *

(p.30) 2 Violence in Greek drama*
The Tangled Ways of Zeus

Alan H. Sommerstein (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter seeks to identify and explain the constraints on the onstage presentation of violence in Greek drama. It finds that there were two conventions: that the audience must never witness any act or occurrence that impinged on a human or animal body so as to be the proximate cause of a death, and that in tragedy, the audience must not witness any person inflicting a blow on any other person. The first convention was based on religious considerations, and was unbreakable; the second was based on artistic considerations (or perhaps just on generic tradition), and is broken in one play, Prometheus Bound, for the special purpose of emphasizing the unimaginable agonies that Prometheus is suffering.

Keywords:   drama, tragedy, violence, death, religious, Prometheus

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