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Early Modern Oedipus: A Literary Approach To Christian Tragedy

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Chapter Summary

Modern critics agree that the tragic cannot be Christian, because Christian and even Judaic conceptions of life are not consistent with that implied by tragedy. From a poetic point of view it appears that Christian tragedy does exist, as far as modern tragedy is grounded in Christian society. Ancient Greek tragedy was rediscovered at the beginning of the modern era, in the context of Christian beliefs and morality, and became a pedagogic means of showing the ruin of the mighty, and the terrible consequences of sin. This chapter analyzes Christian tragedy - in particular French and Italian early modern tragedies - and points out some problems arising from the contact between a tragic interpretation of Greek models and the modern reception of ancient tragedy. It studies modern adaptations of Oedipus the King, and shows how modern dramatists try to respect both moral injunctions and the tragic contradictions of Sophocles?s plot.

Keywords: ancient Greek tragedy; Christian tragedy; early modern tragedies; Oedipus the King



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