December 2022: Classical Tragedy and the World of Ideas
Please join us in December 2022 for a Virtual Reading Group with Aeon Skoble.
Pre-registration is required, and we ask you to register only if you can be present for ALL sessions. Most readings are available online; one book must be purchased. Participants who successfully complete ALL sessions will be eligible to receive an Amazon e-gift certificate.
What can tragic dramas from the ancient world have to teach us today?
Session I: Thursday, December 1, 4-5 EST: Understanding classical tragedy
In this first session we’ll consider Aristotle’s analysis of the formal elements of tragic drama, and we’ll look at Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Aristotle’s go-to example. We will see whether and to what extent Oedipus Rex achieves its intended effects, and why. The events of Oedipus Rex also set the context for Session II.
Aristotle, Poetics book I
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
Session II: Thursday, December 8, 4-5 EST: Sophocles’ Antigone
In this session we’ll consider the ideas that go into making this story tragic. The conflict between Antigone and King Creon is one of the earliest literary treatments of what would later be known as civil disobedience themes. Arguably, both Antigone and Creon are tragic figures. We will discuss both characters’ motivations and the larger philosophical implications of their choices.
Session III: Thursday December 15, 4-5 EST: Aeschylus’ Oresteia
In this session we will discuss the context and motivations of several killings by various characters, and what aspects of these plays qualify as tragic. We will consider contrasting views of justice and vengeance as illustrated in the trilogy, as well as what it proposes as a solution to a perennial social problem. We will also discuss ways in which the apparent takeaway contrasts with that of Antigone.
Virtual Reading Groups
- February 2023: Bruno Leoni: Freedom and the Law
- January 2023: Oakeshott’s Moral Vision
- January 2023: The Messiness of Progress: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and David Hume’s Essays and Histories
- December 2022: Classical Tragedy and the World of Ideas
- December 2022: J.S. Mill “Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion"
- November 2022: The Election of 1800: Jefferson v. Adams
- October 2022: Shakespeare’s First Tetralogy
- September 2022: The Evolution of American Federalism
- September 2022: Liberty and Virtue in the Axial Age
- August 2022: Jane Austen’s Persuasion: Aristocracy, Independence, and Economics
- May 2022: THE BILL OF RIGHTS: SELECT CASES IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
- April 2022: Education in a Free Society
- March 2022: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Rights of Women
- March 2022: Ancient v Modern Liberty
- February 2022: Joseph Schumpeter’s “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy”
- January 2022: James Madison and the Conflict Between the Executive and Legislative Branches
- November 2021: Pericles' Funeral Oration
- September 2021: Celebrate Constitution Day
- August 2021: Agriculture, the State, and Liberty
- June 2021: Adam Ferguson’s History of Civil Society
- May 2021: The Colonial Origins of the Bill of Rights