The Greek Way - Chapter 11, The Idea of Tragedy Summary & Analysis

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Hamilton's view is that history has given the world only four great writers of tragic drama: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare. "Tragedy is an achievement peculiarly Greek. They were the first to perceive it and they lifted it to its supreme height. . . . it concerns the entire people . . . who felt the appeal of the tragic to such a degree that they would gather thirty thousand strong to see a performance. In tragedy the Greek genius penetrated farthest and it is the revelation of what was most profound in them."

The unique flowering of intellectual life in fifth century Athens could be the only source of tragic drama. As people examined and reflected upon human life they perceived "more and more clearly that it was bound up with evil and that injustice was the nature of things." Tragedy was...

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