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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: January ::
Re: Greek (Athenian) Tragedy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 030. Wednesday, 18 January, 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Victor Gallerano <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Jan 1995 10:34:23 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0026 Concerning Oedipus at Dealy Plaza
 
(2)     From:   Sharon Beth Cinnamon <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 18 Jan 1995 01:31:51 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Greek Tragedy
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Victor Gallerano <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Jan 1995 10:34:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0026 Concerning Oedipus at Dealy Plaza
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0026 Concerning Oedipus at Dealy Plaza
 
Dear E.L. Epstein,
 
I'm not sure that any of us can establish the "athenian attitude" toward the
cowboys down at Thebes...perhaps we should take a poll.
 
What we do know is that, in his last play, Sophocles sets the apotheosis of
Oedipus near Athens before a chorus of Athenians and that Oedipus (or at least
the memory of him) is said to be a blessing on that city.
 
For all the purported "tragic" aspects of the Kennedy assasination -- and its
occurring out in the "provinces"  -- I think none is more salient than how
quickly it followed upon Jack Kennedy's own elimination of President Diem in
South Vietnam coupled with Malcom X's (then scandalous) remark that the
shooting in Dallas was a case of "chickens coming home to roost."  (I "pitched"
this view of the "Caesarian" - and, therefore, tragic - presidency in
hollywood, but the "veeps" there said the public would never go for a black
Tiresias.  Spike wanted to stage it in the hood, but he didn't have the money
back then.)
 
This is not, of course, a conspiracy theory, but an observation of facts that,
if focused in words and staged, offer enough dramatic irony (prophetic
hindsight?) on the Dallas shooting to implicate all the "best and the
brightest" no matter what their "attitude" toward the "Dallas guys."
 
That of course is why we keep reading these "tragedies."  We think we see a
pattern.  And, since it is impossible to see the mote in our own eye, we
smuggly stage it in Thebes where the grotesque is safely common. Sophocles knew
that to speak the wisdom of Pogo, one must become a "realist of distances," or
as Flannery O'Connor said, "For the hard-of-hearing you shout, for the nearly
blind you draw large startling pictures."  So go on, villify Dallas.  It's
neccessary for the full terror, pity, tragedy (accompanied by the rising voice
of Frank Zappa singing, "It can't happen here!"
 
Provincially yours...or as we say down home _via con Dios_
 
 Vic Gallerano
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sharon Beth Cinnamon <
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Date:           Wednesday, 18 Jan 1995 01:31:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Greek Tragedy
 
Poking fun at and slandering foreigners was a good way for the Athenian
playwrights to score points with the judges. Especially since the plays were
meant for local festivals instead of widespread marketing, good old fashioned
patriotism was wise.  The guy in the white hat who saves the day is usually
Athenian, if not Olympian.  It's like a city rooting for the home team to win
and a James Bond movie with the Big Bad Russians. Or it's like Shakespeare's
treatment of the French and English in 2HenryVI:  the French witch is hardly a
saint.
 
--New York Yankee and Boston Red Sox Fan, Sharon Cinnamon
 

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