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Seneca’s Phaedra, or... “The Explosion of Evil”. Agenda Recap and Update (plus discussion) Republican Tragedy to Senecan Tragedy Tragedy in Performance.

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Presentation on theme: "Seneca’s Phaedra, or... “The Explosion of Evil”. Agenda Recap and Update (plus discussion) Republican Tragedy to Senecan Tragedy Tragedy in Performance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Seneca’s Phaedra, or... “The Explosion of Evil”

2 Agenda Recap and Update (plus discussion) Republican Tragedy to Senecan Tragedy Tragedy in Performance Seneca’s Phaedra, pp Nov-11 Seneca Phaedra 2

3 Recap and Update (plus discussion) Republican Tragedy to Senecan Tragedy

4 Roman Drama: Fabula... Comedy Palliata himation – i.e., Greek – comedy Togata “toga” – i.e., Italian comedy Trabeata upper-class comedy Mimus popular farce Tragedy Crepidata “buskin” – i.e., Greek tragedy Praetexta “fringed toga” – i.e., Roman history play Pantomime narrative dance with chorus accompaniment ca. 240 BCE-early 100s CE 28-Nov-11 Seneca Phaedra 4

5 “The content of Roman tragedy is not ‘tragic.’ ” Brill’s on Roman Tragedy

6 Crepidata, Praetexta “Again Thyestes comes, / At Atreus to grabble, now again / Approaches me to rouse me from my calm. / More moil for me! A bigger bane to brew, / That I may crush and crunch his grievous soul!” (Atreus, in Accius’ Atreus frr ) “It was thus most favorably foretold that the Roman state would be supreme” (Seer to Tarquin, Accius Brutus fr. 38) 28-Nov-11 Seneca Phaedra 6

7 And Seneca’s Phaedra… That youth, resplendent Beside his royal father, star ascendant, Heir to the throne – now they are gathering him In scattered remnants to his resting-place Upon a funeral pyre” (Messenger, p. 142)

8 Is It Tragic?

9 Senecan Background (10-65 CE) Historical Claudius (r ) Nero (r ) Biographical Claudius, Agrippina, Nero Philosophical Stoicism Epicureanism Rhetorical declamation 28-Nov-119 Seneca Phaedra

10 Senecan Rhetoric Sententia quod non potest vult posse qui nimium potest (Nurse, line 215) “A man who can do much would like to do / More than he can. (Penguin, p. 106) Perverse exaggeration “I hate them all; I dread, I shun, I loath them. / I choose – whether by reason, rage, or instinct – I choose to hate them” (Hippolytus, p. 120) 28-Nov-1110 Seneca Phaedra

11 “Senecan Formula” (cf. Herington) Thematic StructureDramatic Structure CLOUD OF EVILACT 1. Hippolytus’ chaste joy,. Phaedra’s love agony. DEFEAT OF REASON BY PASSIONACT 1 cont. Phaedra’s and nurse’s debate. EXPLOSION OF EVILACT 2. Attempted seduction, shocked rejection. Criminal plot – “crime must cover crime” (Nurse, p. 127) ACT 3. Phaedra executes plan. ACT 4. Messenger speech. ACT 5. Phaedra’s suicide, Theseus’ grief.

12 Tragedy in Performance Seneca’s Phaedra, pp


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