Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greeks-us/coleridge_greek-theatre.asp?pg=2

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
The Greeks Us / Greece in West  

Coleridge, Resting with complacency

From Shakespeare as poet

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader
Page 2

I have said, and I say it again, that great as was the genius of Shakspeare, his judgment was at least equal to it. Of this any one will be convinced, who attentively considers those points in which the dramas of Greece and England differ, from the dissimilitude of circumstances by which each was modified and influenced. The Greek stage had its origin in the ceremonies of a sacrifice, such as of the goat to Bacchus, whom we most erroneously regard as merely the jolly god of wine;- for among the ancients he was venerable, as the symbol of that power which acts without our consciousness in the vital energies of nature,- the vinum mundi, - as Apollo was that of the conscious agency of our intellectual being. The heroes of old under the influences of this Bacchic enthusiasm performed more than human actions;- hence tales of the favorite champions soon passed into dialogue. On the Greek stage the chorus was always before the audience; the curtain was never dropped, as we should say; and change of place being therefore, in general, impossible, the absurd notion of condemning it merely as improbable in itself was never entertained by any one. If we can believe ourselves at Thebes in one act, we may believe ourselves at Athens in the next. If a story lasts twenty-four hours or twenty-four years, it is equally improbable. There seems to be no just boundary but what the feelings prescribe. But on the Greek stage where the same persons were perpetually before the audience, great judgment was necessary in venturing on any such change. The poets never, therefore, attempted to impose on the senses by bringing places to men, but they did bring men to places, as in the well known instance in the Eumenides, where during an evident retirement of the chorus from the orchestra, the scene is changed to Athens, and Orestes is first introduced in the temple of Minerva, and the chorus of Furies come in afterwards in pursuit of him.

First Page ||| Next Page
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

The Greeks Us Library

Learned Freeware

 

Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greeks-us/coleridge_greek-theatre.asp?pg=2