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The Advent of PluralismDiversity and Conflict in the Age of Sophocles$
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Lauren J. Apfel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600625.001.0001

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Pluralism and tragedy

Pluralism and tragedy

(p.209) VI Pluralism and tragedy
The Advent of Pluralism

Lauren J. Apfel

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the relationship between pluralism and tragedy in three different ways. First, it discusses how pluralist conflict is inherently tragic. When values which are incompatible and incommensurable clash with one another, something will always be lost. This reality is at the heart of tragic drama. Secondly, the chapter looks at Homer as a preface to Sophocles. The Iliad's unique vision of moral dilemma and disagreement provides important models for understanding the playwright. The argument is that Homer is a weak pluralist who acknowledges the existence of conflict and loss, but whose heroes are ultimately bound by a monistic heroic code which dictates right and wrong. The chapter closes with the contention that the tragic — as opposed to epic — genre is specially equipped to be a vehicle of meta‐ethics.

Keywords:   pluralism, tragedy, tragic, conflict, loss, incommensurability, Homer, Iliad, hero, heroic code, meta‐ethics

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