FYSE 1552

Greek Tragedy & Politics

Greek Tragedy and Athenian Democracy
In this survey of selected dramas by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, we explore tragedy’s relation to political freedom and empire in fifth century B.C. Athens. The Athenian tragic poets used traditional Greek myths, especially Homer’s depiction of the Trojan War, paradoxically: to question the morality and wisdom of contemporary Athenian imperialism; to expose the conflict between the individual’s civic and familial obligations; to highlight the tension between men’s presumptive self-government and their belief in the active power of gods. We ask how the tragedians managed to raise publicly, in the solemn religious setting of Athens’ dramatic festivals, the kind of questions for which the people of Athens later put the philosopher Socrates to death on charges of corruption and impiety. The course culminates in a reading of Aristotle's study of tragedy, the Poetics. 3 hrs. sem
First Year Seminar
First-Year Seminar Program
Requirements Fulfilled:

Sections in Fall 2019

Fall 2019

FYSE1552A-F19 Seminar (Witkin)