Re-Examination of Tragedy and Madness in Eight Selected Plays from the Greeks to the 20th Century

Author: Reid, Gregory
This study links classic tragedy and the modern period through the concept of madness, which has been extensive preoccupation of both tragedians and modernists. Taking tragedy as a portrayal of the negation of an individual’s sense of reality, this book provides readings of eights plays: Greek plays (The Libation Bearers; Antigone; The Bacchae); Shakespeare (Othello and Macbeth); Modern Tragedy (Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire; Death of a Salesman).


“The uniqueness of the present book is Reid’s articulation and foregrounding of the link between madness and tragedy. The result is a re-envisioning of the genre beyond particular and restrictive historical definitions of tragedy, identifying tragedy instead as the portrayal of the disintegration of an individual’s sense of reality resulting from a struggle with irreconcilable ontological contradictions exacerbated by the ‘here and now’ uncertainties of change, rebellion and crisis. . . . The breadth and fluidity of the choice of texts is key to the book’s contribution to dramatic criticism. . . . the bok vigorously calls for reconsideration of the genre in modern criticism; by forcing open the limits of tragedy and demanding complementary alternatives, the book ensures response and its real contribution to contemporary dramatic criticism.” – Glen Nichols

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
· Preface; Foreword
· Tragedy and Madness
· The Signs of Madness
· The Meaning of Madness
· Reading the Greeks: The Libation Bearers; Antigone; The Bacchae
· Reading Shakespeare: The Negation of Being and Becoming in Othello and Macbeth
· Reading Modern Tragedy: Hedda Gabler, A Streetcar Named Desire; Death of a Salesman
· Conclusion: Reading Tragedy in the Negative
· Notes, Bibliography; Index