ANN’S MUSINGS – Yet another reason to read the Classics

I find just about eventhng going on in the world harder and harder to get a handle on. This morning I stumbled upon a piece from the New York Times wonderful Opinionater series. It helps a little to give fresh insight into Europe and elsewhere.

Here is Simon Critchley on Oedipus, the nature of tragedy and “Euro Blind.”

The past days, weeks and months have seen countless descriptions in the news media of the crisis in the euro zone and Greece’s role as its leading actor as a tragedy. But is it? Well, yes, but not in the sense in which it is usually discussed, and the difference is important and revealing.

In the usual media parlance, a tragedy is simply a misfortune that befalls a person (an accident, a fatal disease) or a polity (a natural disaster) and that is outside their control. While this is an arguably accurate definition of the word — something like it appears in many dictionaries — there is a deeper and more interesting understanding of the term to be found in many of the 31 extant Greek tragedies.

What these ancient tragedies enact over and over again is not misfortune outside a character’s control. Rather, they show the ways in which we humans collude, seemingly unknowingly, with the calamities that befall us. Read more.



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