Friday, January 31, 2014

Taplin and Tragedy

My complaints with Mr. Taplin tend to stem from my own bias when it comes to writing style. I found his book wordy and more of a survey instead of an argument. I don't know that there is anyone who would disagree with a lot of his ideas and observations. Although everyone might envision different ways that the elements of the drama would play out, the importance of the elements and the importance of visualizing the play instead of reading should be obvious to all. In the end, if you already had a cursory knowledge of Greek drama, culture, and theater performance, it was not life-changing. I do feel like I understand Greek tragedy better because I read this book.


  1. What examples can you cite to illustrate what you find lacking in his style? What are some of his observations that you like and that help you understand Greek tragedy better?

    Yes, it seems obvious to us now that one should think of a play as performance when reading it, but it is also important to remember that when Taplin originally wrote this book, he was responding to a very popular trend in classical scholarship that focused only on the language of these plays and purposefully eschewed looking outside of the text at the context of production.

  2. That's kinda cool that you know enough about Greek performance to even have a critical opinion like that.