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Prausddddddddcello 2013

the capacity of rhythm to train and condition our future emotional responses to
a given set of activities mediates between the physical perception and the doxa
it engendered 258

While some scholars have more generally seen it as a formulation of Plato’s


will- ingness to rival and appropriate the psychagogic power of tragic mimesis
qua psychological and behavioural assimilation through performance,11 others
have emphasized its representational content: tragedy as a form of discourse on
‘the best life’. 259

occurs within a broader section (7.814d8–817e4) specifically devoted to those


bodily move- ments that may be ‘correctly’ (1⁄2rqäv) categorized as
‘dance’ (Àrchsiv: 7.814d8e2).15 The way in which the collective civic body of
‘the second best city’ conducts itself will then represent the ‘truest tragedy’. 260
a strictly dramatic (tragic mimesis) and non-dramatic (lyric mimesis) mode of
performance

Tragic choruses may of course embody on stage what we can call a communal,
civic voice and identity (e.g. the chorus of the Elders in Agamemnon) 260

Differently, in Magnesia the choreut-citizens are both speakers and recipients of


the views that they promulgate, and it is because of this identity between
performer and audience that they are able to reach the entire city. In their choral
performances they can just be ‘them- selves’: a group representative of the polis
performing how to be proper citizens (2.655d5–656a5). The adoption of a lyric
modality of experiential mimesis allows them to re-enact endlessly their own
self-likeness. 261

a community perpetually re-enacting through dance and song the colony’s


‘foundational myths’ 261

And the vehicle of persuasion of both mortals and gods is, literally, not only the
content promulgated by the activity of singing and dancing but also (and even
prior to it) the very pleasure generated by these activities per se 263

To be able to perceive rhythm in movements does not only imply the capac- ity
to recognize a pattern of repetition but the perception of early events in a
sequence creates also expectations about later events: in this sense the defining
feature of rhythm as order is ‘the demand, preparation and anticipation for
something to come’ 271
I maintain that it is this ability of rhythm to prepare, train and condition our
future emotional responses that provides the overall important link between the
(human) sensorial perception of pleasure in order and the emotional belief
(d»xa) it generates. 272

‘opinions’ regarding the future (1.644c9 d»xav mell»ntwn): expectations of


pleasure (‘hope’) and pain (‘fear’).63 This seems to suggest that pleasure
deriving from anticipation involves a propositional attitude: that is, alongside
the instinctual perception, anticipation of pleasure requires also what we can
call an evaluative belief.64 Memory plays an important role in this: because we
remember the rhythmic progress so far, we are inclined to form the expectation
of its continuation in an orderly fashion and take pleasure in the fullfilment of
that expectation 272

In this sense, the anticipatory value of rhythm contributes to create a ‘moral’


narrative by shaping movements over longer stretches of time and giving them
groundings and coherence 273

Plato’s Magnesia will indeed perform and enact ‘the best and most beautiful
tragedy’, but Magnesia’s drama will find in lyric, non-dramatic patterns of
chorality and their mediating role between performers and audience its truest
way of expression. 277