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The chorus is oh do you know which is. Filled in of course but it's impression on the dictate is describing the anger of me a columnist when the Greeks gave your arms the wonder of the world to the son of Les artist. It may be a kind of judicious ad libbing but it may also be actually intended to suggest that a wrong has been done depicted in the past but he still resents. As a result of this. The model dilemma of the play while it's not totally different from what is usually supposed that is to say the unworthy deception of critic TVs by the intelligence is something which is some shades different. Neither Thomas is working to bring about a result. Which is the true purpose of all the acts in sequence. He has not been deflected by his own superficial rot but the are.
And neither should Philip TT's be and this is emphasized by Harry please in his appearance for the end which is the capture of Troy is what all of them want and their morning media personnel injuries are not important. And in this understanding the intervention of Harry please is A.S. the day. Because nothing else can overcome selectees is reluctant. In his case the personal rounds apparently been too great. To permit of voluntary surrender to the notion of a more commanding purpose. As I say the position of mere tolerance becomes much more ambiguous in its model covering that isn't first apparent but is actually done is to deceive selectees for his own good and for the good of the Greeks. Predicted it would be cured and tribe would be captured in the uptightness and soap will attain
your eye and everything will be fine. And the unequivocal rightness of this course is marked out by the association with it. Op-Ed and those on the prophecy of faith and even the personal motives the killing of predicted reason the ambition of me of tolerance all point the same way toward the essential rightness of the course. In fact two things are being asserted dramatically. One but to look to use. Is going to go back to Troy with me apologise and he will capture a. Second. But the personal reaction of these two characters in all their meaning dramatic lay. Do not naturally result in the act as acquiescence in Fate desired and rather it is incumbent on them dramatically. To find it at every point and the climax
of the play. In this sense is the defeat of me a toss by Killick TT's. Who proves in his own purpose person to fit me a parliament that there's no goodness or decency in following all the advice of apology and religion. If by so doing one I'm afraid just the common respect and kindness the truth exists between two human beings. Now I think this preening is imper emphasized in two different ways by the role of the deceased in the chorus. By way of contrast. I do see is actually of course winds no contract and no conflict. Tall in his case no difficulties and choice between what he is told to do either by thanks or by the a tried it and what do you want to do. His in your manner say in the original act is not cruel nor
caprice but just inhumanity. Quote I tell you why on earth for what I did we couldn't sacrifice because of it and then the chorus when there exculpating that just said I just used one man commissioned by many. He did a third list with Brett and the chorus is really concerned actually with the prosecution of the plot against the dictators. For instance when for the kiddies asleep they recommend to me a promise that he go away in the court of which drugs the man is now ainus and helpless and so on. These are the spokesman dramatic play the identity of face and dramatics and thing. And they're not very convincing. Age and dramatic play in a sympathetic sense and are not meant to be.
What this amounts to is to say that appearing in this play Sophocles deliberately destroy the sympathetic dramatic values and the dramatic certainty of the conclusion. To put it more simply it means we don't want the denouement which we know is going to happen. And this is all the more remarkable because what we want theatrically is a tragic past for Philip TVs and even conclusiveness other rather ambiguous good resolution from the A plot of. What the plane makes as one is statically is in comparison what it suggests is however the terminations of that in conclusiveness in a quite convincing conclusion which violates one's wishes and sympathies.
Now you may say to me quite well that this doesn't need to be said. They elected France a hamlet can read about the King. You may say things we don't want the denouement how to read about the king either. But I do think if you think about it you'll find your reaction is qualitatively different in the two case. Our course to the degree that one feels identified with Hannah already tippers one doesn't want the conclusion one suffers when they hear it was destroyed. But I do think that you'd agree with me if you think about it that is basically speaking you want the conclusion. I mean even with all the actions of the piece including those of the hero and those emanating from outside of the former I designed the completion of which is felt to be right and significant in itself. Imaginative
play. And my contention would be that this is not true in the case of the Philippines. But on the contrary the pattern which we see being formed outside of the hero we resent deeply. That we feel perfect TT's in his suffering a sentiment quite unlike back which we entertain for Hamlet or eight of us. But we are finally forced to believe in the sense that they are Philip it is a surrender and the message of heroic plays in virtue of an outside the theater our psychological truth but which character lays for us is an inadequate theatrical image. Now we may reasonably ask if it is true that in this play we believe the actor in the final certainty of predicted Jesus return to Troy. If so what makes a certain audience.
Now of course we're told that Helena says prophesied it. I mean the conclusion directly says that this is faith and so on. But that does not necessarily establish a kind of emotional certainty for us. I'll give you an example of this and. Perhaps I should say first of all that it seems to me that probably anywhere in the history of Western man where there is a deep rooted belief or a theological doctrine as in this case in the conception of faith. It springs from some kind of truth in man's nature as interpreted in the tradition. But perhaps one can accept it in the same terms that one's ancestors did. And then the example I think for instance in the case of Marlowe's posts it would probably be true that for mottoes audience I'm deliberately accepting model themselves.
But from our audience probably the notion of damnation is as real as physical death. It may well be that wouldn't be true for us. But on the other hand we still have the conception of the inevitability of act and some sort of conception of sin. And so the emotional curtain J at the end of the model. Is probably as great for us as it was for them. Though the doctrinal symbol has for us become a kind of allegory. Now the question in the Phillip TT's is what is the nature of the certainty of destiny for us and proclaimed by the Spirit Helen. If we do accept the outcome prophesied as certain what translation have we affected in ourselves of the naked statement of the Prophet and its conformity with destiny. I think it's worth noticing the Sophocles has provided us with a lot of subsidiary human probability for the ultimate production
abilities I don't think anyone has really grown to the age most of us are. In our time. I. Can't help feeling a rather uneasy certainty of the success of somebody like Felix. Is this machine like syrup and all the moral failure of NEAP Ptolemy as his sort of would be decent and inhibited a young man. All the herd are harnessing to some purpose or other good or bad thing that teaches. Who is so proud and intractable and raw. Some will even try to impart. A sense of ambiguity which belongs to the genuinely unknown in real life by making the act of destiny and I are. It's conceived of as possible that Philip Davies may or may not acquiesce but
Troy may or may not pull all the predicted he's may or may not be healed. But I am quite sure that the something much younger than faerie human probability based on the interpretation of character of action which extorts our belief in the victory of faith in this play. The greatest risk in the play dramatically is that it should fall away into Marlise ation and smugness and we should feel too clearly that Phillip Peatross is the cause of his own destruction and we should wait complacently on to be currently comes to his center senses and that is why you see the chorus are given all these lies about. After all you have in your own hands you don't need to stay here if you don't want to and so on. And it isn't the avoidance of this that Sophocles shows a skill. Nothing short of the actual scenes of physical suffering and the comforts of life on Lemnos would drive home to us the object of misery of a man
whose imaginative like in this misery is his link with us and the source of our final break in sympathy with him. The isolation of elected Islamist element began before his desertion on the island. In some way it is symbolic significance of which is not apparent. He has offended the God who has made him and then the smell of a saw or an association with his fellow men have rendered him a perpetual offense in the ordinary life of those around him and so he is abandoned by them. He was forced for years to live alone and he has found a tiny and complete form of life for himself with a living center. The shame of the pain.
Which originally imposed the loneliness of the name. And the hatred for those who had dramatically emphasized the isolation by abandoning them. The play represents him as ultimately indifferent to the removal of the original reason. For his withdrawal from society. He doesn't want healing but an escape to a country where the shame and the hatred which belong to its beginning can never again be linked back beginning. If you can get away he will live and live with the hurt to be have to but not in the loneliness of lameness when he is faced with the prospect of seeing the try to get and helping the senses one are on bearable Shay.
Shame that the past should be so blotted out that we could meet these men on terms of our lives and friendship. The price to pay for a return to normal life is too high. It's the surrender obvious pride and the form in which that pride had kept life in him. It's not the 291 in any simple sense of the word. His moment of shame and hate to live but the shame of the isolation and the hatred of those who enforced it. Have a sequence. Which was dramatic and satisfying in the light be it Liberal or not. When reduced to as low a condition of articulate human existence as the Greeks could conceive he had acquired at least the mastery of his own destiny. The clips in the cave in the fire of the
beastie it killed all parks of the drama in which he is the creator and the actor. He is no longer at the disposal of other men. When he wishes to escape from his island home words buddy pictures is a life where the moment of the shame and his abandonment had no consequence. Where time stopped after they had left him alone and he himself had the true and dramatic conclusion to the wrong which was done him in his survival on the most positive and basic human terms. The only likely wants now is a new life a complete break with Troy and with all that it meant there must be no line up continuity from the day I just left him on line NASS and the rest of his life.
And it is here that the stealing of the blow bow had a peculiar horror for him but it was only the bow and unable to be again master of his life and is also the only potent say but survived his rock. If you must now lose back to this years. The old shade and in thought have been repeated and deepened and the last remaining element of power has been taken from me. It's just that the pieces of the legend come together what mere columnist offers him is a restitution for normal say the healing of a split in the winning of such distinctions as in the old days he would have been glad to wear these or not when he wants any more because the price to pay is an implicit rejection of the years of suffering when his hatred had built a world of its own and a form for its expression.
That is the rejection of the reality of those years of suffering. The cruelty which collectively is felt in a disused treatment of him was the cruelty in implementing inhuman. His existing loneliness separated from other men by his pain in the branding of the God he could yet maintain the superficial connections with other men by being with them. Instead they wanted to see us as their agent. Instinctively and for their own comfort rejected and cast him away. He had become for them not a kind of creature who suffered but the suffering things which had no right to live with them anymore. And some of the Greeks left him too alone and as Stephen Moore absolutely abandoned him on his island.
The original abandonment the deception and finally a disuse of trek to take to their TVs arms without TVs are all consistent. They make a public TV is not a man but a thing a thing that offends a thing that can be circumvented. A thing which under certain circumstances can be dispensed with. And so to the healing and the distinction promised by the god are consistent with another conception of for the peace in which he becomes again a man with contact with other men and natural chances among them. The course of the play is the image of the passage from the one to the other. And the blowing up tolerance becomes for us the living expression of our understanding of what that passage means. He starts with unintelligent certainty and then his conscience and his perceptions are awakened.
Nice force to take back if decision reverses act. And eventually with new understanding advocate the old course. But for him and for us. There's a kind of weariness in the act we have. A want to in your conviction of its work. The other is recognition of the necessity. The players three point the climax the first 20 up top the most true idiocy of strategy games the victory over collective and then victory he chooses death rather than compliance. The second one me up Thomas really just uses offered in identical terms but after having given back the bow and confessed the whole conspiracy is again refused by the TV and the last pretty directly that appears and repeats the are as Philip Peters agrees.
Now the offer is always the same prospect and in the mouth of the destroyers and neap Thomas and Herrick Please therefore the end of the pain and the resumption of all the finicky days of work for before. But there are the very best of reasons why collective it is. Only used to the last. For if a man can becomes an instrument for others. And if a wrong done and we can mechanically be andan by restitution many years later and if the pain of body and soul of those years count ultimately for nothing then there's no meaning in toto in man's effort to acquire truth and reality in his moment of emotion. And if his joy is in his wrongs and sorrows and joys. Are only a momentary displacements of the atmosphere which will one day be compensated by a similar displacement in the other direction.
Then there is no tension between two ways of understanding like the one which is a kind of vision of perfection and the other of unending Che. There is only a succession of facts and this is not the tragic passion in the theatre means ever. Even if the continuity of life accurately represented annihilates the dreams of the self identity of the moment or a feeling. Tragedy never denies that this self identity is something almost as real as that which Congress is. And so it is in accordance with the true nature of trad today that it destroys its stratagems and his offers are rejected and foiled and his boast that perhaps the arms without their own over will serve his purposes empty. But according to Helen as. Phillip TT's as both Bo and himself
cannot be separated they says the decree of Destiny is the dramatic way of asserting that the final reduction of all human wrongs and restitution to a mechanical measurement is not true. But even with no fraud to blind his eyes and with hope of cure and ambition to work Jim collectivistic lines me up Ptolemy and this is in a sense quite decisive for our sensation play. For his refusal is not quite different in the reaction it evokes. From the first time. This is really the first time that we become completely aware of the nature of collective is obstinacy. It is an obstinacy which is bent on denying any future life to its possessor except a life dream. We must realize actually that this is a negation of
himself as a man and as a human being. He's not being asked to see to sacrifice his resentment and his life on the island which was its expression for a cause greater than himself. If this were so it might indeed be enough to deny our lover's humanity. And it's rather interesting to notice this is the way east of us in Europe it is wrote that they make him finally overcome by the pleas to his Patrick isms are. It's not now a question of remaining on the island to starve as a defiant gesture which is the only alternative to helping the enemy. He will not choose home and no cure and no honor rather than cure and the restoration to a life of ambition. His refusal means that this disease which brings with the total isolation is preferable to him to it through mobile.
Now this is the way of the imagination and it's not the way of real life. For it denies the reality of the passing of time in the sequence of events for the life outside of the theater. It's enough the killick TV should still be alive enough to accept the new turn of events. That there should be only a ritual acknowledgement of wrong by disuse and the Pride Day by their willingness to affection reinstate him. And so we're torn as we listen to the last stage of the play and now we know it was quite different but it just made the offer. The pillock TV is denying the whole course of life when he implicitly denies the significance of passing time when he took her out to the reality of a wrong committed ten years before will persist in the basic crowd of unhappiness rather than destroy the aesthetic meaning of that rock. Yet Philip
Davies does doesn't quite lose touch with the something in us which knows what he's giving up. Simone he said Do good friends and evil to your enemies and winning we accept that. We accept it because it fits with our notion imagines of reality. There's very little to do with the reality of life or the sequence of acts which we cannot control usually means that we do evil to our friends and good to our enemies. We are unproductive uses side still. We now know that is wrong but we know it only intellectually and not passionately and theatrically. And this is a curious parody almost of the regular sensation of tragedy. Put in the regular. In the ordinary tragedy we
accept the conclusion of why we dread it. But in the color TVs we feel that we understand and are involved in is being destroyed. It must be so and we are neither either uphold nor pleased that it should be said. That the Greeks characterised as the perfect symbol for conveying this meaning. He's not quite a God and not quite a man. He can sympathize with physic TT's and yet firm destiny. He is impersonal uninvolved and still for the Greeks. Not quite the God from the machine. He's not but for us because that is for us no symbol in any election which reconciles the two warring human realities that have the imagination form and beauty and that of the on ordered world of sequence in time in advance.
Egoist in tragedy
The Philoctetes of Sophocles, part two
Producing Organization
University of Chicago
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features the second part of David Grene's lecture on Sophocles' Philoctetes.
Other Description
Three lectures by David Grene, poet, translator, and Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago. He discusses a particular kind of tragedy and focuses on three examples.
Broadcast Date
Sophocles. Philoctetes.
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Producing Organization: University of Chicago
Speaker: Grene, David
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-12-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:57
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Chicago: “Egoist in tragedy; The Philoctetes of Sophocles, part two,” 1955-05-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2022,
MLA: “Egoist in tragedy; The Philoctetes of Sophocles, part two.” 1955-05-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2022. <>.
APA: Egoist in tragedy; The Philoctetes of Sophocles, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from