The Tyrant's Fear  (2017)

Bigliazzi, Silvia
The Tyrant's Fear
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Western Michigan University
tyranny, Aeschylus, Oresteia, Shakespeare, Macbeth
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Literary and dramatic representations of tyranny abound since antiquity alongside critical distinctions between different forms of totalitarian and oppressive regimes. Yet, book-length studies on the topic of the tyrant’s fear are relatively few. Part 1 of this special issue (part 2: 54.2 Spring 2018) goes back to a discussion of Xenophon and Plato, who were among the first to highlight the condition of fear as typical of the tyrant, while Aristotle detailed the political strategies the tyrant used to check his own fear of loss of power and retribution, in turn causing fear in his subjects. Accordingly, the ‘tyrant’s’ mentioned in the title of this special issue is understood as both subjective and objective genitive, and as such fear will be considered as the fundamental, if seldom investigated, condition of tyranny. This topic is dealt with both in theory and in relation to theatre, offering a comparative approach to Aeschylus’s Oresteia and Shakespeare’s Macbeth as two fundamental models for our understanding of the mechanics of ancient and modern tyranny within a context of transhistorical continuities which look ahead to contemporary experiences of tyrannical regimes. The aim is not only to trace direct legacies, but also, and especially, to interrogate Aeschylus’s and Shakespeare’s complex responses to ideas of tyranny, and explore their potential to speak to us today by casting light upon issues of power, legitimacy, subjectivity, agency, and ethos as well as to the capacity of theatre to perform such questions. Part 1 of this special issue comprises an introduction and six essays. The discussion opens with a critical overview of the stage tradition of performances of tyranny in Attic and Elizabethan theatre alongside political treatments of this subject (1 and 2), and continues with articles on blood and figures of dismemberment (3), female and male tyranny (4), and the paradoxes of the tyrant’s fear of the legitimate yet alienated heir to the throne (5 and 6).
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October 25, 2022
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The Tyrant's Fear , eds. Bigliazzi, SilviaWestern Michigan University2017

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Kingship, Tyranny, and Power Department Lingue e Letterature Straniere Silvia Bigliazzi, Guido Avezzu'


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