By Karen Bassi
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Additional resources for Acting Like Men: Gender, Drama, and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece
21-22. She offers a succinct reading of Freud's use of the Oedipus plot in The Interpretation of Dreams: "He attributes universality to the very thing that is alleged to grant universality to his own views" (21). 36. On Aristotle's statement at Poetics 1448blO-12, that mimesis affords pleasure in what ought to give pain, see chap. 5. Obviously actual spectators could refuse to look at Oedipus on stage; my point depends on the principle that, by definition, spectators are in the theater to watch.
First, I want to consider why Aristotle's definition of tragedy as an "imitation of an action" is disengaged from what is arguably tragedy's most distinctive formal feature, namely, the visual enactment. 22 In the following discussion I consider three related questions: How can the proper effect of tragedy (catharsis) be achieved in the absence of one of tragedy's principal elements (apsis)? What is the purpose of the assimilation of what might be called the dramatic auditor and the dramatic spectator?
But why does Aristotle weaken the argument for this interdependence by stating that the visual apparatus of tragedy (opsis) is unnecessary for achieving the tragic effect? In other words, why does he neutralize tragedy as a spectacle of bodily action by insisting on its efficacy as a verbal expression of internal and invisible mental states and feelings? 24. " See Blundell 1992, 162. 25. Cf. Poetics 1450b4-12; 1456a37. See Lucas 1968, on 1449b38. " See also p. 175 n. 82. 26. Blundell 1992, 157.