Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seneca - Thyestes

"'Thyestes' isn't a very hopeful story."

"The plot could have been developed in a much more interesting way, particularly given the recurring breakdown of family relationships among Pelops' descendants. (Examples include Pelops' own relationship with his father, Tantalus, providing the prototype for Thyestes' gruesome meal by attempting to serve up his own children as a banquet for the gods; Agamemnon and Aegisthus; Agamemnon and Clytemnestra; Orestes and Clytemnestra.) Seneca fails completely to do this; he seems insufficiently interested in the reality of his characters, in the psychological effects that such a background would have."

"Why were the sixteenth century dramatists so taken with Seneca? The reasons cannot be because of dramatic merit"

"Vulgar and Unrestrained
As we all know, classical rules of poetry dictate that no violence must be shown on stage, that the protagonist must be admirable except for one fatal flaw, that the declamation must be dignified and poetic. Seneca violates all of these rules, plus many others. His protagonists are nothing but shrieking hysterical fools, and the stage is awash in blood by the end of every play. As for the 'poetry,' it is nonexistent."

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