This week’s music: The Wallflowers’ “6th Avenue Heartache,” from Bringing Down the Horse (1996).

General Introduction
– Stamps, pogs, and other collections
– What’s on the blog this week?
– Response to Sam Mulberry

Introduction to Tragedy
– Will we all be dead in an hour?
– Our fearful, pitiful show
– Euripides, Hippolytus, and the quarrel with the gods
– Senseless tragedy vs. deserved tragedy

Aristotle’s Poetics
– Exclusion of the gods
– The Triangle
– Aristotle’s misreading of Sophocles
– The limits of Aristotle
– Characteristics of the tragic hero
– A tragedy in miniature for the information age

Plato’s Republic
– Why Plato hates poets
– How St. John resolves Plato’s contradictions
– Theory of forms
– The tragicomic irony of Plato’s legacy

The Pardoner’s Tale
– David tells the tale
– The Pardoner’s Tale and the heist movie

Shakespearean Tragedy
– Shakespeare as a student of Seneca
– Departures from Greek tragedy
– What feels modern about Hamlet
– Is Flash Gordon a tragedy?

We Finally Get to Movies
The Godfather as tragedy of ambiguity (spoiler alert!)
– Yakuza films
– In which we spoil everything but Citizen Kane (you’re welcome, Victoria)
– Another tiresome discussion about the Coen Brothers
– Greek-flavored tragedy movies
Oceans 13 is a tragedy?!?

Christian Attitudes Toward Tragedy
– Tragedy as precursor to the Gospel
– Flannery O’Connor’s false-bottomed tragedy
– Why Christianity goes beyond tragedy

Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. Malcolm Heath. New York: Penguin, 1997.

Buechner, Frederick. Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale. New York: HarperOne, 1977.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Ed. V.A. Kolve and Glending Olson. New York: Norton, 2005.

Euripides. Heracles. Trans. John Davie. Heracles and Other Plays. New York: Penguin, 2002. 8-46.

—. Hippolytus. Trans. John Davie. Medea and Other Plays. New York: Penguin, 2003. 135-174.

Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Scribner, 1995.

Plato. The Republic. Trans. Desmond Lee. New York: Penguin, 1987.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Neil Taylor and Ann Thompson. London: Arden, 2006.

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Trans. Robert Fagles. The Three Theban Plays. New York: Penguin, 2000. 155-252.

4 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode 12: Tragedy”
  1. Awesome series guys!

    I had a question about something mentioned toward the end of the comedy episode about most television series being epic. I was wondering if you could go more into detail about that. The reason being I was going to bring up a couple I had thought of–namely, Lost (yeah, I’m one of those guys the Onion warned you about :-D), mostly just because of the enormous scope of the show.

    Also, about No Country For Old Men, I read the book after seeing the movie, and you are spot on about it being just about the closest adaptation of a book to a movie. I can only think of one small scene in the book that was slightly different, and that may just be something I forgot that actually was in the movie. It was astonishingly true to the book.

  2. I too enjoy Yakuza films David, namely the Zatoichi films about a blind vegabond swordsman. Nearly every film ends with him being forced to intervene and save the town/woman from the local gang. Usually this means he has to kill everyone…

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