Saving The City: Tragedy In Its Civic Context
A TEN HOUR ONLINE COURSE
1 HOUR CLASSES PER WEEK
Do plays written centuries ago have the power to heal modern day traumas, suffering?
“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering,” wrote C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain, “and you find that you have excluded life itself.” We have always suffered; we have always tried to cope. That urge to understand suffering is what’s behind one of humanity’s richest literary traditions—tragedy.
It all began in ancient Athens. The comedy and tragedy which developed in Athens and flourished in the fifth and fourth centuries BC are the root of nearly all subsequent Western drama. Opera owes its existence to an attempt to get back to the Greeks; television programs hearken back to the tragic intrigues of mythological families like the House of Atreus and the family of Oedipus at Thebes. Modern theater and film look back to the ancient origins both indirectly and sometimes directly.
In this course, we will be looking at the beginnings of ancient Tragedy from a variety of perspectives, including literary (what do the plays mean for today’s individual and society?), socio-historical (Does their time mirror our own?), and essentialist (why do we like to watch dramas full of pain and suffering?). The central texts will be the plays of ancient writers such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Seneca.
We will also look at some developments from Greek tragedy in the modern cinema and several theorists on tragedy (Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud etc).
This course will be split into two parts:
Part I: An Introduction to Tragedy
Part II: An analysis of the key plays
Lefkowtiz, M & Romm, J. (2017) The Greek Plays: Sixteen Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides (Modern Library Classics). Modern Library: New York
An Introduction to Tragedy
Week I: 6th century Athens & the birth of tragedy
Week II: Aeschylus
Week III: Sophocles
Week IV: Euripides
Week V: What ancient and modern philosophers have said about tragedy.
An Analysis of the plays
Week I: Aeschylus’ ‘Orestia’ – transgenerational trauma and the city
Week II: Oedipus through the Ages I – psychological entrapment Sophocles’ and Seneca’s versions of the legend
Week III: Oedipus through the Ages II – A myth for freedom Dallas’ modern version of the legend
Week IV: Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ – the individual vs the state
Week V: Tragedy and the unconscious
All of our classes are delivered in real-time.
Please contact us for more information.
Zulfiqar Awan BA Hons, MA, PGCE
British lecturer, Zulfiqar Awan (BA Hons, MA, PGCE and Ph.D. candidate) has 15 years of teaching experience in the U.K and Cape Town, South Africa. Mr. Awan has also worked as an independent senior lecturer in philosophy, history, and politics on behalf of the British Government. He is the founder of Humanitas LifeLong Learning, where he teaches regular evening classes and short courses directly to the public, and online to an international audience. Mr Awan currently resides in Istanbul, Turkey.
“Tame the savageness of man and make gentle
the life of this world.”