By Kalliopi Nikolopoulou

From German idealism onward, Western thinkers have sought to revalue tragedy, always converging at one cardinal aspect: tragic paintings hazards aestheticizing actual violence. Tragically Speaking seriously examines this revaluation, delivering a brand new figuring out of the altering which means of tragedy in literary and ethical discourse. It questions universal assumptions concerning the Greeks’ philosophical relation to the tragic culture and in regards to the moral and political ramifications of up to date theories of tragedy.

Starting with the poet Friedrich Hölderlin and carrying on with to the current, Kalliopi Nikolopoulou strains how tragedy used to be translated into an concept (“the tragic”) that was once then revised extra into the “beyond the tragic” of postmetaphysical modern idea. whereas spotting the various benefits of this revaluation, Tragically Speaking concentrates at the losses implicit in one of these flip. It argues that via translating tragedy into an idea, those rereadings effected a complex subordination of politics to ethics: the drama of human clash gave method to philosophical mirrored image, bracketing the area in want of the assumption of the realm. the place modern suggestion valorizes absence, passivity, the opposite, rhetoric, writing, and textuality, the writer argues that their “deconstructed opposites” (presence, will, the self, fact, speech, and motion, all of that are significant to tragedy) are both worthy for any significant dialogue of ethics and politics.
 

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Nonetheless, this realization does not stop Derrida himself from obtaining some surprisingly stable, albeit “hidden,” meanings out of this dialogue — namely, that the Phaedrus relies on various problematic hierarchies, such as those of presence over absence and speech over writing. Derrida’s politics of linguistic suspicion thus uncannily repeats a rationalist, sophistic mode of reading that implies authority, even as it tries to destabilize it in others. Over and against Derrida’s line of thinking, I elaborate several other arguments by classicists Giovanni R.

Their nature (holy pathos) was a quasinatural, quasicultural disposition, their form of creativity, in other words, which corresponded to whatever their own mental image of Nature was — a Nature, however, that ultimately eluded them, even though they did not know this, lacking a Kant to tell them so. Their culture (form) consisted of the specific rules of presentation, the skills with which they expressed outward the contents of their inner disposition — a disposition that, in turn, eludes the Hesperians, though they must somehow learn it.

Following the readings of these Platonic dialogues, the concluding chapter of this second part turns to The Bacchae in light of Foucault’s interest in Euripides and parrhesia. Even though Foucault treats this tragedy cursorily, preferring to map the passage of parrhesia from the old inspired truth-seekers to Athens’s civic orators (the Sophists) in Euripides’s Ion, I maintain that The Bacchae gives us a more compelling — if also catastrophic — understanding of the ascent to truth. The play sets a fatal confrontation between two irreconcilable modes of truth-telling: human and divine.

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