Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Strangeness of Tragedy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2020

The Work Of Tragedy

The Work Of Tragedy

(p.13) 1 The Work Of Tragedy
The Strangeness of Tragedy

Paul Hammond

Oxford University Press

The space delineated by tragedy often carries a mythic freight and temporal complexity: these are places which are inhabited not only by the creatures of the human and visible present, but by people of the past, by ancestors, giants, heroes, gods, witches, ghosts. And by abstract nouns which perhaps have their own autonomy and agency — Fate, Fear, Justice. At the opening of Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Sophocles' Electra, or Seneca's Thyestes we are made aware that the house is a richly-stored space of family lore; some form of narrative will uncoil from inside this store-house of myth, sacrifice, murder, generational resentments, blood grudges, and dishonoured gods. Something will spill out of these spaces to haunt the stage. In tragedy there are ways in which the self dies and undergoes decomposition long before the actual physical death of the body, which, however horrific or pitiful, is often but an afterword to the deep work of the drama: it is not death which makes tragedy tragic, but the path which leads to it.

Keywords:   Seneca, tragedy, space, ghosts, autonomy, self, decomposition, death, drama, agency

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .