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The Strangeness of Tragedy$
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Paul Hammond

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572601.001.0001

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(p.197) Epilogue
The Strangeness of Tragedy

Paul Hammond

Oxford University Press

In the tragedies discussed in this book, the characters eventually move into the singularity of their own death, which has been prepared long before. From Agamemnon to Clytemnestra to Oedipus and Macbeth, death occupies a pre-existing off-stage space into which they are summoned: a form of Heimat. These are all instances of der eigne Tod: completed tragedy. The journey which the tragic protagonist makes is one which takes him out of the shared Heimat, the common home with its agreed structures of thought, into a form of the unheimlich where the usual relations of time and space, signifier and signified, are deformed into strange shapes. In this dimension the individual may appear strong, may seem to have a Hegelian stature and solidity, but the work of tragedy is to estrange such a selfhood from the world around it and from itself. The foreign through which the tragic figure moves is a foreign which relates to the return home.

Keywords:   Agamemnon, Oedipus, Macbeth, death, tragedy, Heimat, time, space, selfhood, home

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