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Title: Tragedy and theatricality in Plutarch
Author: Papadi, D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 6695
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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The present thesis focuses on the role of tragedy and on the multiple versions of theatricality in selected Essays and Lives of Plutarch. Most interestingly the 'tragic' does not emerge exclusively from the many quotations from the tragedians which are dispersed in the whole of the Plutarchan corpus, especially in his Essays it also emerges from distinctive suggestions of tragedy, tragic imagery, tragic parallels and texturing. Plutarch acknowledges the importance of tragedy in literary education, but is still very ready to criticise what the poets say. Even so, he does not treat tragedy negatively in itself, but figures it as a possibly bad and corrupting thing when it is wrongly transferred to real-life contexts. In this way he requires from his readers thoughtfulness and reflection on that relation between tragedy and real life, while he also makes them reflect on whether there is a distinctive 'tragic stance of life', and if so whether a philosophical viewpoint would cope with real life more constructively. In the Lives there may be less explicit thematic hints of tragedy, yet there is a strong theatricality and dramatisation, including self-dramatisation, in the description of characters, such as Pompey and Caesar, particularly at crucial points of their career and life. By developing the idea that the 'tragic' aspects may relate to the ways in which characters are morally or philosophically deficient or cause them to falter - but if so, in a way that is itself familiar from tragedy - they also relate extremely closely to the characteristics which make the people great. The tragic mindset (this idea will be illustrated from Plutarch's direct references to tragedy as well as his allusions to the theatrical world) offers a fresh angle in reading Plutarch's work and makes the reader engage more in thinking how both 'tragic' and theatre can be used as a tool to explore a hero's distinctiveness in addressing the issues of his world.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available