Monday 3 March 2008

the greeks had a word for it

Last year, when I interviewed Philip Pullman about The Golden Compass and Chris Rapley about the Science Museum, they both had copies of the same book on their desks: James Martin's The Meaning of The 21st Century.

Martin subtitles his book 'a vital blueprint for ensuring our future', but 35 pages in, he goes back 2,500 years, and to theatre, to make his point:

'In tragedies of classical Greek theatre, the hero does not know that his actions will lead to disastrous consequences. It is man's miscalculation of reality that brings about his tragedy.'

'The purpose of Greek theatre was to ask questions about the nature of man, his position in the scheme of things and his relation to the powers that govern his life. The audience is aware of forces in the world powerful enough to topple even the most admirable of men ... The sin of the Greek hero is hubris - excessive pride and self-confidence that lead him to ignore warnings from the gods and, thus, invite catastrophe. The 21st century presents such themes on the grandest scale.'

No comments:

Post a Comment