By Eirene Visvardi
Emotion in motion: Thucydides and the Tragic refrain deals a brand new method of the tragic refrain via studying how convinced choruses ‘act’ on their shared emotions. Eirene Visvardi redefines choral motion, analyzes choruses that enact worry and pity, and juxtaposes them to the Athenian dêmos in Thucydides’ heritage. thought of jointly, those texts undermine the pointy divide among emotion and cause and tackle a preoccupation that emerges as crucial in Athenian existence: the best way to channel the motivational energy of collective emotion into really apt motion and render it conducive to unity and collective prosperity. via their functionality of emotion, tragic choruses elevate the query of which collective voices deserve a listening to within the associations of the polis and recommend varied how one can envision passionate judgment and motion.
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Extra resources for Emotion in Action: Thucydides and the Tragic Chorus
Choral Emotions and Collective Passions 27 One point, however, is not sufficiently brought out: a habit of thinking of oneself through the lens of participation in collective activity and integration into the cohesive feeling and thinking of a group. The original audiencemembers—Athenian citizens and foreigners from places with choral traditions, at the very least—are experienced in being addressed as both an individual and a member of the collective through choral dancing. Since the expression of emotion is a prominent element within choral discourse, the integration of individual and the collective within the choral body also points to a perception of individual and collective psychology.
Moving 79 Wiles (2011) 47. , 14–5. The notions of co-spectatorship and co-perception are part of Aristotle’s conception of the good life as a shared life. Active co-perception in particular, Wiles suggests, “which stems from [Aristotle’s] sense that selfhood is not bounded by the individual, offers a useful foundation for a more communitarian account of theatre spectatorship”. Such an account is truer to 5th c. Athenian reality. , 30. It is this attribute, according to Wiles, that relates directly to the Athenians’ ability “to act en masse and follow through collective decisions” outside the theater as well.
At the same time, however, I see the division between rationalistic thinking and emotion as too sharp and thus potentially downplaying the rationale that is inherent in emotional response—aesthetic and otherwise. Since emotional engagement incorporates affect and cognition, in enacting and theorizing pity and fear the tragic chorus can be seen, I suggest, as enabling a pleasurable access to both the affect and beliefs that constitute these emotions while consolidating the audience in the very experience of empathizing with choral emotion.
Emotion in Action: Thucydides and the Tragic Chorus by Eirene Visvardi
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