Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Greek Way. Edith Hamilton (10).

Time, Inc. 1930 (10).

Why read It? The Athenians were a people who lived their view of truth which was many-sided and often contradictory. They accepted and lived the contradictions. They were individuals who also participated in the community. They were poets who were also soldiers. They needed to suffer in order to achieve exhilaration. The ancient Greeks’ view of life is summed up in this quotation from Edith Hamilton’s The Greek Way: “The Roman games played an important part in the life of the Romans, but, as has often been remarked, the Greeks played; the Romans watched others play.” P. 320.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert F. Kennedy was completely distraught. His sister-in-law Jackie Kennedy gave him a copy of The Greek Way. That book enabled Robert to survive the tragedy in his life. The Greek Way provided a model for how to deal with tragedy.

The purpose of this blog? To find interesting ideas in books.

“…the tragedian must seek for the significance of life.” P. 211. ………. “Tragedy’s preoccupation is with suffering.” P. 212. ………. “There is no dignity like the dignity of a soul in agony.” P. 212. ………. “Tragedy’s one essential is a soul that can feel greatly.” P. 212. ………. “The suffering of a soul that can suffer greatly—that and only that, is tragedy.” P. 213. ………. “Ibsen’s plays are not tragedies…. His plays are dramas with an unhappy ending.” P. 214. ………. “Through tragedy we catch a glimpse of a deeper and more ultimate reality than that in which our lives are lived.” P. 215. ………. Aeschylus, the First Dramatist. ………. “The strange power tragedy has to  present suffering and death in such a way as to exalt and not depress is to be felt in Aeschylus’s plays as in those of no other tragic poets.” P. 218. ………. “As with Shakespeare, we know Aeschylus only as he permits us through his plays, a doubtful matter in the case of the greatest poets whose province is the whole of life and who can identify themselves with everything there is, delight in conceiving an Iago equally with an Imogen….” P. 219. ………. “…tragedy, that mysterious combination of pain and exaltation, which discloses an invincible spirit precisely when disaster is irreparable. “ p. 221……….. “…the antagonism at the heart of the world.” P. 221.

To be continued.

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