Miscelanea II

MOIRA, MYTHOS, THE DRAMA

V. Constantinescu

This study purposes to resume the problems of the Greek drama, in a modern vision. The three concepts (moira, mythos, the drama) are defined in the light of the most recent investigations and are a pretext for more extensive discussions, imposed by the Greek drama. We must mention from the very first that, although the work did not aim at a gradual demonstration, there is an idea that lends it unity: the distinction the author makes, starting from the opinions of certain investigations between the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, on the one hand, and those of Euripides, on the other. To define destiny - moira -  Mihai Gramatopol info starts from the conception held by the Romanian scholar Aram Frenkian (see The Sense of Human Suffering with Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Bucharest, Publishing House for World Literature, 1969) and supplements the definition of the concept by emphasizing the philosophic substratum, moira being a symbol of the dependence of the human being, as an integral part of the universe, on the laws governing the world. Destiny is not obsessive, it permits the development of the tragical - a tragical resulting from  the opposition of man to destiny. Euripides was to humanize and schematize the idea of destiny, to rid it of its philosophic garb and turn it into a pretext for dramatism. The tragical is thus replaced by the dramatic. Starting from Aristotle’s Poetics,  M. Gramatopol distinguishes, in the definition of the „mythos”, between myth as an inner element of the tragedy (alongside character and judgement) and myth as a symbol implying mystery. The author observes that with Aeschylus the myth is an inner element and constitutes the very subject of the tragedy. The symbol and, implicitly mystery is in this mould. Aeschylus’ hero is ruled by the „divine example”, that is divine legends. In Sophocles we witness the evolution of the hero’s personality, the detachment of the latter from the mould of the myth, the remodelling of the myth. Thus with Sophocles the hero’s character and judgement predominate over the mould of the myth, and the symbol, implicitly the mystery, is transferred to the hero it no longer belongs to the „divine example”. Euripides created his characters as they exist in everyday life, abolishing the tragic mystery of the myth. If the mystery still persists,  it is transferred from the celestial spheres to the human heart. Euripides „utilized the symbol (implicitly, the mystery) of the myth to justify superhuman passions, just as Aeschylus and Sophocles justified superhuman destinies.” Mihai Gramatopol described ancient Greek poetry in a double perspective:  that of the resonance it must have had in the 5th century and that of the response it arouses in the conscience of the modern man. Passion and erudition have ensured the carrying out  of this intention.

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