But now we have
Fadi Abou-Rihan of The Psychoanalytic Field, asking the question: "Was the classical Athenian theatregoer any more resistant to the temptations of laughter and hooting than the modern day viewer of television talk shows and situation comedies?"
Look out for the noble and upright king who, because of his pierced ankles, has to hobble his way across the stage. Make sure not to miss our hero’s hyperboles for everything about his words and deeds is in line with the basic structure of humour as exaggerated non-sense. Note the sympathy you feel for him as he heaps his misdeeds and confusions one upon the other, à la Lucy Ricardo, desperate for the clear-minded and practical interventions of a Creon, his Ricky. (Might there be a psychoanalytic import to the implicit homosocial contract between king and brother-in-law here?) Keep track of our hero’s familial lines as they progressively blur beyond recognition: his children are his siblings; his brother-in-law is his uncle; his daughter will soon plan to marry the man who is both his nephew and cousin; many of Jerry Springer’s most outlandish of scenarios could only dream of such twists and complications. Last but not least, do not overlook Jocasta, Antigone, and Euridyce’s final suicidal gestures, sacrificial and redemptive only from the point of view of a modernity that has been thoroughly Christianized; to their original, almost exclusively male, audiences, they remained pitiable and laughable.
This is from the second of three (so far) on his Oedipus Rex series... what an extraordinarily liberating reading!
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HERE for the most recent to date.