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The Metaphysical Quality of the Tragic

A Study of Sophokles, Giraudoux, and Sartre


Brenda J. Powell

This analysis of the nature of tragedy uses the literary theory of Polish phenomenologist Roman Ingarden (1893-1970) as a point of departure. By formulating the concept of the tragic as a metaphysical quality, this work balances an attention to textual detail with an awareness of the role of the reader in concretizing a literary work of art. The significance of this concept is demonstrated in its application to readings of a Classical Greek and two twentieth-century French versions of the Electra myth, readings which pay particular attention to the interplay of the moral and aesthetic elements in these literary masterpieces.
Contents: Roman Ingarden's literary theory. History of theories of tragedy. The tragic as a center of crystallization of moral, artistic, and aesthetic literary qualities. Electra myth. Appropriate for advanced undergraduates, graduates, and faculty.