Please Join the Affect and the Emotions Workshop
Monday, April 15th, in Cobb 304, from 4:30-6:00pm CT
Visiting Professor, Classics and the Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago
“The Horrific Body in Sophocles”
Description: More even than the other two great Athenian tragedians, Sophocles seems to have a marked tendency to stage the suffering human body in so drastic and so effective a way as to produce emotions of profound horror in the other characters, the chorus, and presumably the audience. This article discusses the mechanisms and possible motivations for this tragic theme in all three tragedians and in the ancient theory of tragedy, but it focuses especially on Sophocles and, in Sophocles, especially on his Trachiniae and Philoctetes. Sophocles’ fascination with the horrific live human body is largely unparalleled in ancient Greek tragedy; I conclude by offering some possible explanatory hypotheses for this curious fact.