Sophocles' Tragic World: Divinity, Nature, Society

Sophocles' Tragic World: Divinity, Nature, Society


By (author) Charles Segal

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  • Format: Hardback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 242mm x 24mm | 577g
  • Publication date: 1 March 1996
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge, Mass
  • ISBN 10: 0674821009
  • ISBN 13: 9780674821002
  • Illustrations note: index

Product description

Much has been written about the heroic figures of Sophocles' powerful dramas. Now Charles Segal focuses our attention not on individual heroes and heroines, but on the world that inspired and motivated their actions - a universe of family, city, nature, and the supernatural. He shows how these ancient masterpieces offer insight into the abiding question of tragedy: how one can make sense of a world that involves so much apparently meaningless violence and suffering. In a series of engagingly written interconnected essays, Segal studies five of Sophocles' seven extant plays: Ajax, Oedipus Tyrannus, Philoctetes, Antigone, and the often neglected Trachinian Women. He examines the language and structure of the plays from several interpretive perspectives, drawing both on traditional philological analysis and on current literary and cultural theory.

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Review quote

"Sophocles' Tragic World" is an organized collection of nine essays (plus introduction) on five plays, "Ajax, Trachiniae, Philoctetes, Antigone," and--especially--"OT," to which four of the chapters are devoted. The introduction and three of the essays (one on "Ant.," two on "OT") are new; the others are revisions of published articles, dating originally from 1976 to 1993. For several decades now, [Segal] has been so articulate about Greek tragedy, and so productive in his articulations, that one has acquired an unusually sharp sense...of the changing shape and direction that his readings have taken over the years. -- M.S. Silk "Classical Review"

Table of contents

Drama and perspective in "Ajax"; myth, poetry and heroic values in the "Trachinian Women"; time, oracles and marriage in the "Trachinian Women"; Philoctetes and the imperishable piety; lament and closure in "Antigone"; time and knowledge in the tragedy of Oedipus; Freud, language and the unconscious; the gods and the chorus - Zeus in "Oedipus Tyrannus"; Earth in "Oedipus Tyrannus".