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, 1945), pp. 122-124 Published by: The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3292011 . Accessed: 11/11/2011 16:10
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He thinks that Aeschylus was the teacherof the people. by degrees brought down the high level of Aeschyleantragedyto the level of the affairs of commonday.The audiencewas edifiedby them.Aeschylus himself. Aristophanes has beclouded the issue by putting words into his mouth. Instead of plays ending in reconciliationof the conflicting elementswe have the catastrophal ending. emanating originallyfromthe clown.On the intellectual side it expected the enigmatic charmof involved situations.Schmid says that Aeschylus was the instructorof his audience. This conditionof affairsin which the public. in his Historyof GreekLiterature. Minneapolis 14.and the catastrophal ending. as Christ does. It is no doubt also properto say that he was writing with an eye on posterity. practically the creatorof tragedy.1 presents some ideas regardingGreektragedy that are ratherdisturbing.and to be satisfiedwith suspense and strongemotions. and was properly attunedto the spirit and nobleteachingof the greatpoet. and he thinks that Aristotle'sfamousdictumaboutpity and fear is a reflection of fourth-centuryconditions.is the conditionwhich Aristotle describesin his poetics. In place of religious nobility and high exaltation we have the stridentclamorof every-dayhumanity and exciting theatricaleffects. Doubtless correctly for his time.accompanied by reversaland recognition.His plays stand on a high religiousplane. and that the religiousdramaof Aeschylus is for some unknown reasonsuperiorto the aestheticcharm of Euripides.8 In fact. Euripides has not the titanic . the arousingof pity and fear. its skeptical attitude. Aristophanes. came to prefer aesthetic charm. University of Minnesota.and to its sensationalism. He was a great artist. He might perhaps have objected. without doubt he would have done so from the aesthetic side.5 In all this there seemsto be an implication that is to my minderroneous: that Aeschylus was the teacher of the people.to its realism. Heller. The theoric fund. he says. there seems to be no reasonto doubt that Aeschylus was primarilyinterested in tragedyas an art.--- = Contributions to this department in the form of brief objective notes should be sent direct to the editor. The religiousinterest was replacedby the psychological and the novelistic. interested in the aesthetic. broughtinto the theatreaudiencea less intelligent stratumof society. He employedlarge and strikingtheatrical effects which Euripidesmay have copied. the sophistic movement. A high seriousness is the quality of great poetry. writes Schmid. On the other hand.7 Aeschylusan Innovator If Aeschylus hadcriticizedEuripides.Aristotle designatedpity andfearas the two feelingsby whose excitation and purification tragedy P 122 sought to attain its goal.was a great innovator.Let us be fair to Aeschylus. he might have been intensely interested in the new phase that tragedy was undergoing in the hands of Euripides. Minnesota IN DEFENSE OF ARISTOTLE ROFESSORWILHELM SCHMID.It is very muchto be doubtedwhether he himselfever would have said such things as Aristophanesimputes to him. John L. He was primarilyan artist. The tragic poet.3R6mer's article in the transactionsof the BavarianAcademy4no doubt played a considerable partin the developmentof these ideas.).We must alsorecallthe fact that he evidently admired the sensational.with Furthermore. But as time went on the character of the audience changed.6 And not only this is true.2These ideas are a developmentor continuation of views to be found in Schmid's edition of Christ's History of Greek Literature. and his poetry has this quality. we must remember.turningawayfromthe high religiousteaching of Aeschylus. became the entertainerinstead of the instructorof the people. to the loweredtone of tragedy. The public of Aristotle's time expected of tragedyshock. says R6mer (58 if. Strangely enough the view set forth is reallyquite old.
fromhis acquaintance with manywriters. he studied the constitutionsof some 158 city-states. still seemsto be the most tragicof the poets. tragic poets. I934. He suggests. write an Schmid. would not have ob6 It seems to me that Schmidputs too much emphasis jected to it. to say that he admired the fifth-century sophistsand that he did not admire the later group of sophists of his own day. that Euripidestoo often appealedto his audience by use of the happy ending but that. fur seine zeit jedenfalls his objectin his Poeticsto discoverthe nature richtig. I believe. not of Euripides'tragedy.not to be sure in the old conservativeideas. to obtaina true conceptionof this formof literature. Miinchen. But I will not insist upon it. and a scholar who approachedhis topic in what we should call a scientificway. in the case of tragedy than anotherdoes. one may say. ErsterTeil . and on the basis of these studies he made his generalizations. he comesto a conEuripides Miinch. the idea of tragedy. is serious in his own way. perhaps the best ColoradoCollege scholar in the history of the world.that in someremoteand curiousheaven. also. Euripides 5 Op. will not go so far as to say. Again. on the basisof his study. that from the examinationof many tragedies one mayarriveat the ideaof tragedy. Miinchen."'0What I suggested in this connection was that Aristotle had been talking of happy and of unhappy endings.one may discover the essential characteristicsof the type. Goethe. would make himself fa1 Geschichte der Literaturvon Wilhelm Griechischen miliar with all the great tragic writers. The fact that the unhappy ending is the right ending explains further the importanceof pity and fear in Aristotle's definition.. R6mer. with Aristotle. But this is an insult to Aristotle. It is a beautiful and poetic thought. what did Aristotle think of the sophists?It would be fair. (see note I) I6I.not Sechste Auflage. and that what he meant was this. when he employs the unhappy ending. des attischenTheaterpublikums. I have suggested elsewhere a on the ethical characterof Aeschylus' writing. Abh.that Aristotle's Poeticsis conditionedby his time and place. However. he had been influenced by the ageandplacein which he lived. bezeichnet. with Plato. as we have alreadyindicated." Bildungsstand clusion which some people do not seem to Ak. as Aristotle did. It may even be true. It was certainly objectivetreatiseon tragedy? 2 Ibid. but of a certain Tragodie 3 Wilhelm von Christ's Geschichteder Griechischen form of literature. a scholar. too. "Ueber den literarischaiisthetischen alone. Erster Teil. From the study of many tragedies by many tragic writers one may attempt. The idea of tragedy inheres in tragedy. It is not conditioned by time or I place or audience. and Schmidund Otto Stahlin. Aristotle was a scholar. . but in new and perhapsbetter ways of thinking.. I think. von Wilhelm would then. he was the most tragic of the poets. disregardingtime and placeand race. I9I2.besidea perfect chairand the idea of forkthere standsthe ideal tragedy. But I do insist upon this. at his best. if Furthermore. cit. more Is it not true.It is a universalart-form. Furcht und Mitleid als die beiden Gefiihle of tragedy. 4 A.And he derives his ideas Literaturbearbeitet von Wilhelm Schmid. but he.that one tragedyis better than EuripidesMost Tragic another tragedy because one contains. HERBERT EDWARD MIEROW that Aristotle. would naturally make himself acquaintedwith the NOTES history of tragedy.He gives us a definition of tragedy. Let us take an exampleor two.Zweiter Band.even if at times he does not orderhis house well. 22 (1905). But the main question to be discussed is Schmid'sattitude toward Aristotle. durch deren Erregung und Reinigung die vornehmlichihren Zweck zu erreichensuche. And-I say it at the risk of inconsistency-it might easily be arguedthat he was trying to educatethe people. that is the of most the like. would he not have come to the conclusionthat democracy was the finest form of government-and that extremeform of democracy found in Athens in the fourth before Christ?But this is absurd!Arcentury istotle cameto no such conclusion. When Aristotle undertookthe study of politics.9Is this being influenced by one's own time and place? I23 translation of the famous passage in the Poetics:"Euripides.IN DEFENSE OF ARISTOTLE utteranceof Aeschylus.. I56 f: Aristoteles hat.
orderedthe execution of a condemnedprisoner. The knight came. "Quaeris.this declamation bookwhich survives only in condensedform. impatient of delay. Simonds has discovered a factual basis for only a small number of declamationsin the elderSeneca'scollection. he was draggedoff by a young wastrel to some nearby gardens. though incompletely. and forced to change his mourningattire and be present at a banquet. to mould the conceptions of a wider world. sed animi causa. Then. NOTES then invited the petitionerto a feast that very day.Seneca the elder says (9.demonstrable. quare?" asksthe writer." The subjectof compulsion exercisedupon a father to be present againsthis grief-stricken will at a feast is found in the Controversiae of Senecathe rhetorician(4.2 but they rarely went beyondthis general trueness to life. To his plays the Athenians assignedthe unique privilege that they should be acted after his death at the public cost. Gaius. is the of Seneca for anothercontroversia background the rhetorician (9. (ed. the philosopher writes.'One must recognize the validity of Miss Elizabeth Haight'sobservation that these school exercisesoften dealt with social and ethical problemsand family relations. 2.2. Greek Thinkers. the indebtednessof phrasingis peror.2): The proconsulFlamininus. and in the Hellenic colonies they were treasuredas part of the inheritance of the race. "Euripides'Artistic Development. ): While a man who had lost three sons was sitting by their tomb.25) tion. clamatory The first (2.Iz24 7 Cf.Flaminula) on a flimsypretext. a speaker of the old school versus patrem.1453 a 29. looked on with satisfaction as a numberof these prisonerswere put to death while he strolledto and fro in a by lamp-light colonnadebetween the palaceand the river. the tyrant filledand refilledPastor'scup. A LITERARY ECHO OF THE DECLAMATIONS NCIENT critics rather generally agree that the declamations were designedto stimulateimagination. and other senators and knights.when a courtesanwho was knight. and the dedication was ap proved. he brought legal action.however. In the second anecdote (3. as if remindedto exact a punishment he hadforgotten. Betilienus Bassus (his own quaestor). see CW 29 (I935-36) II4." I might instance the fact that the great choral odes of Aeschylus must certainly have been written to appeal to a wider and more cultured audience than that seated in the theatre of Dionysus." in Evelyn Abbott's Hellenica. Pastor made a plea inus was chargedwith laesa maiestas. flogged and tortured Sextus Papinius (son of a former consul). bidding him banishhis trouble. he who used plain terms and did not trouble . 190) 421. Vol. appeased by the executionof a prisonerat night. "Aeschylus. By the sametoken. in the company of ladies and other senators.3f.) the emperorGaius is again the villain. "Ne tamen omniainhumanefaceretad.whose son was being held in prison by the emperorGaius (Calig. non quaestionis. S.orderedan immediate execu. Even as thorough an investigator as T.that Vibius Rufus. I (Lon- don. o1 Poet. to be long afterwards transmitted. London.33. and took the perfumes which the emperor and garlands later sent to him by a slave enjoined to observe the guest's behavior.3-6) concerns a Roman comesfroma Unfortunately.I8. consequentlyit is impossibleto assessthe influenceof the earlierwork on the languageof the De Ira.situationscomarenot parableto the subjectsof controversiae likely to be found with any frequencyin later history. drank the huge bumper of wine which Gaius put before him. and to that extent were realistic. At table. A pair of anecdotesin the De Ira of Seneca the philosopher." Seneca says ironically. "habebatalterum. I898) 30: "But he had dedicated his works to time." AJPh 52 (I93I) 9 Theodor 339-350. charging iniuriae. He had. Mierow. showing no reproach by his manner.diningwith him said she had neverseen a manbeheaded. Gomperz. ErnestMyers. 13. claim attention as matchingthe broad outline of dematterratherclosely.Never by so much as a tear or sigh did the latter give evidence of grief at his son's death.4 for the captive's release.3 The same cold-bloodedcruelty.Pastorby name. How much of these could have been understood and appreciatedupon their recitation in the theatre? 8 Herbert E.whereuponthe emThis time.shorn of his long hair. an aim which explains why so few themes can be traced back explicitly to the inspirationof historicalevents. Upon being let go.
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