Inevitably, this book has taken on an identity of its own.
Above all, he taught me by the example of his own life that great art is not reserved to the specialist or the professional scholar, but that it is best known and loved by those who live most intensely. One is not the same writer as was the author at the time. But, this displacement being the more disconcerting, I do not even read myself as I then did.
But even if this is not the case in any strict sense, and even if Acschylaean drama stems from a multiple background of epic idiom , public mytholog y, lyric lamen t and the ethical- jolitical postulate of compel ling civic and personal issues as we find it in Solon, such drama nevertheless constitutes a unique phenomenon .
No other Gree k polis, no other an- tique culj urg, produced anything that resembles fifth- century Attic tragic drama.
Today, these external readings are bound, in some measure, to in- terleave with my own.
Essay Ber Woyzeck
It stands somewhat out- side what I now (inexactly) remember to have been its aim and conduct of persuasion. Other readers have approved of the argument or rejected it, proposed addenda and corrections, used one or another of its sections for their own purposes.
Furthermore, I would try to develop a theme which, as I now see it, was implicit in the argument from the outset, but which I did not have the nerve or acuity to make explicit.
If I was to rewrite The Death of Tragedy (and my favourite critic was the one who lamented the waste of so fine a title ix Foreword on this particular work), I would attempt a change of em- phasis at two significant points.
In the most drastic cases, the human estrangement from or fatal intru- sion upon a world hostile to man can be seen as resulting from a malignancy and daemonic negation in the very fab- ric of things (the enmity of the gods).
But absolute tragedy exists only where substantive truth is assigned to the Sopho - clean statement that "it is best never to have been born" or where the summation of insight into human fortunes is ar- ticulated in Lear's fivefold "never." The plays which communicate this metaphysic of des- peration would include The Seven Against Thebes, King Oedipus, Antigone, the Hippolytus and, supremely, the Bacchae.