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By René Girard

His attention-grabbing and bold booklet offers a completely constructed concept of violence because the 'heart and mystery soul' of the sacred. Girard's fertile, combative brain hyperlinks fable to prophetic writing, primitive religions to classical tragedy.

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On the very second once they seem to be forsaking impartiality, the tragedians do their utmost to deprive the viewers of any technique of taking aspects. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides all make the most of an analogous techniques and virtually exact phrasing to express symmetry, id, reciprocity. We come across right here a facet of tragic paintings that has been mostly neglected by way of modern feedback. these days critics are likely to investigate a piece of paintings at the foundation of its originality. To the level that an writer can't declare specific rights to his issues, his kind, and his esthetic results, his paintings is deemed deficient. within the area of esthetics, singularity reigns preferrred. Such standards can't practice, after all, to Greek tragedy, whose authors weren't dedicated to the doctrine of originality at any fee. however, our pissed off individualism nonetheless exerts a deleterious impression on sleek interpretations of Greek tragedy. it's simply obvious that Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides shared sure literary characteristics and that the characters of their performs have sure features in universal. but there is not any cause to label those resemblances mere stereotypes. it's my trust that those “stereotypes” comprise the very essence of Greek tragedy. And if the tragic aspect in those performs nonetheless eludes us, for the reason that we have now obstinately avoided our recognition from those similarities. The tragedians painting women and men stuck up in a kind of violence too impersonal in its workings, too brutal in its effects, to permit any type of worth judgement, any type of contrast, refined or simplistic, to be drawn among “good” and “wicked” characters. this is the reason newest interpretations move off beam; we've got nonetheless no longer extricated ourselves fullyyt from the “Manichean” body of reference that received sway within the Romantic period and nonetheless exerts its influence this present day. In Greek tragedy violence at all times effaces the variations among antagonists. The sheer impossibility of saying their transformations fuels the craze of Eteocles and Polyneices. In Euripides’ Heracles the hero kills Lycus to maintain him from sacrificing his relatives, and subsequent he does what he desired to hinder his enemy from doing, thereby falling sufferer to the ironic forty nine VIOLENCE AND THE SACRED humor of a future that turns out to paintings hand in glove with violence. finally it's Heracles who contains out the crime reflected by means of his counterpart. The extra a sad conflict is lengthy, the much more likely it's to culminate in a violent mimesis; the resemblance among the opponents grows ever more desirable until eventually every one provides a reflect photo of the opposite. there's a scientific corollary: glossy study means that participants of particularly varied makeup and history reply to violence in primarily a similar means. it's the act of reprisal, the repetition of imitative acts of violence, that characterizes tragic plotting. The destruction of modifications is especially stunning whilst the hierarchichal distance among the characters, the quantity of recognize due from one to the opposite, is great—between father and son, for example.

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