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What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us About Grief

What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us About Grief

Heat in Greece in summer time was anticipated, however its depth startled me. Wherever I went — Athens, Aegina, Delphi, the Peloponnese — the grass was parched, brittle and hay-colored, and appeared able to catch fireplace. The air was sizzling and dry. At the sanctuary, night introduced aid. We have been seated below the open sky on concentric stone benches within the acoustically splendid theater. The solar had simply gone down as “Agamemnon” started. The efficiency was by a Munich-based ensemble, the Residenztheater, below the route of Ulrich Rasche. This “Agamemnon” was in fashionable German, delivered in a declamatory, shouting fashion, and I can’t have been the one individual current who had preliminary doubts. There have been surtitles in English and Greek, and a musical rating, heavy on percussion, someplace between techno, heavy steel and classical minimalism, which was carried out by 4 musicians who by no means left the stage. The stage itself was a circle, rotating on a hidden mechanism. If a given actor wished to stay in our view, he or she needed to stroll in opposition to the rotation. The stage generally modified pace or route, however it by no means stopped. The impact of those constraints — the shouted speech, the propulsive music, the perpetual movement — was visceral and hypnotic. The actors yelled their strains out, indignant, pleading, smug, frantic, in a rhythm that was locked with or syncopated in opposition to the actions of their stalking legs. My doubts evaporated.

When Cassandra, who had already endured conflict, bereavement, captivity and sexual violation, screamed out her prophecy of the upcoming homicide of Agamemnon and herself, a prophecy doomed to be disbelieved as all her prophecies have been, I seemed away from the stage. It was virtually as if, if I didn’t see the motion, the inevitable wouldn’t unfold. So, briefly, I turned my eyes to the sky, to the glittering constellations that have been now seen above Argolis.

Everyone has their causes. Near the tip of the play, Clytemnestra hauls into view a black sheet with the bloodied our bodies of Agamemnon and Cassandra. She is bare, grotesque and dazzling below the stage lights. She exults in her revenge on Agamemnon for his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia earlier than the conflict. Then her lover and co-conspirator, Aegisthus, seems, additionally bare. He recounts the grudge he held on behalf of his father, Thyestes, whom Agamemnon’s father, Atreus, had tricked into consuming his personal youngsters. But Clytemnestra and Aegisthus had additionally murdered Agamemnon for causes of lust and energy. These usually are not good individuals. In Ted Hughes’s highly effective translation of the play, the refrain says:

Where is correct and incorrect
In this nightmare?
Each turns into the ghost of the opposite.
Each is pushed mad
By the ghost of the opposite.
Who can motive it out?

Source web site: www.nytimes.com