Cosmos and Tragedy: An Essay on the Meaning of Aeschylus

UNC Press Books
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Otis clarifies the moral and theological issues raised in the Ortesia and relates them to certain stylistic and structural qualities of the three plays. He tackles the central questions of guilt, retribution, and the relation between human and divine justice, and he sees a carefully prepared evolution in the trilogy from a primitive to a more civilized form of justice. Otis treats the trilogy as a poem, a play, and a work of theological and philosophical reflection.

Originally published in 1981.

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Publisher
UNC Press Books
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Published on
Oct 10, 2017
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Pages
137
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ISBN
9781469640112
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Drama
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This content is DRM protected.
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Paradox informs the narrative sequence, images, and rhetorical tactics contrived by skilled dramatists and novelists. Their literary languages depict not only a war between rivals but also simultaneous affirmation and negation voiced by a tragic individual. They reveal the treason, flux, and duplicity brought into play by an unrelenting drive for respect. Their patterns of speech, action, and image project a convergence of polarities, the convergence of integrity and radical change, of constancy and infidelity. A fanatical drive to fulfill a traditional code of masculine conduct produces the ironic consequence of de-forming that code—the tragic paradox.

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The playwrights made this paradoxical predicament concrete with a narrative format that equates self-assertion with self-detraction, images that revolve between incredible reversals and provisional reinstatements, and speech that sounds impressively weighty but masks deception, disloyalty, cynicism, and insecurity. Three heroic philosophers, Plato, Hegel, and Nietzsche, contributed invaluable but contrasting accounts of these literary languages (Aristotle's Poetics will be discussed in connection with Plato's attitude toward poetry). Their divergent descriptions can be reconciled to show that invalidations as well as affirmations—the transmission of contraries—are essential for tragic composition.

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A landmark American drama that inspired a classic film and a Broadway revival—featuring an introduction by David Mamet

A blistering character study and an examination of the American melting pot and the judicial system that keeps it in check, Twelve Angry Men holds at its core a deeply patriotic faith in the U.S. legal system. The play centers on Juror Eight, who is at first the sole holdout in an 11-1 guilty vote. Eight sets his sights not on proving the other jurors wrong but rather on getting them to look at the situation in a clear-eyed way not affected by their personal prejudices or biases. Reginald Rose deliberately and carefully peels away the layers of artifice from the men and allows a fuller picture to form of them—and of America, at its best and worst.
 
After the critically acclaimed teleplay aired in 1954, this landmark American drama went on to become a cinematic masterpiece in 1957 starring Henry Fonda, for which Rose wrote the adaptation. More recently, Twelve Angry Men had a successful, and award-winning, run on Broadway.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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