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War, Catharsis, Peace: Ancient Greek Visions and 21st Century Violence

Par Christine Froula : Professor of English - Northwestern University
Publié par Marion Coste le 12/03/2020
This presentation brings together an American play and an American film inspired by Greek plays: Aeschylus’s ((Suppliants)) and Aristophanes’s ((Lysistrata)). Charles Mee’s gripping drama ((Big Love)) (2000) animates the plot of ((The Suppliants)) to explore the violence of the American socio-economic sex/gender system, moving from male violence to female violence to catharsis to peace. The title of Spike Lee’s brilliant, urgent, visionary utopian film ((Chi-Raq)) (2015) names Chicago’s horrific neighborhood gang wars and America’s imperial violence in one angry word and empowers its heroine, Lysistrata, to organize the neighborhood women to seize arms, treasure and the power of language in order to stop the gang warfare that, in real life as in the film, destroys children and young men in our city every day.

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Introduction 00:06
1. Staging violent crises and states of emergency 06:31
  • The agon between violence, the law and justice
10:01
  • Defining tragic catharsis
12:00
2. Aeschylus’s The Suppliants 15:20
  • Race and kinship
15:42
  • Fleeing forced marriage: justice and civilized life
20:15
  • Granting asylum to the suppliants: towards a democratic vote
24:20
  • Justice against hubris: from chattel to refugees to citizen strangers
32:35
  • Other versions of the myth 
41:26
3. Charles Mee's Big Love (2000) 43:15
  • Staging a crisis of hospitality and a state of emergency in a modern world
44:35
  • Adapting the play in the 21st century: questioning gendered justice
48:35
  • Sovereignty and hospitality
54:21
  • Two ideals of justice: male and female
59:41
  • Tragic justice and catharsis
01:12:30
4. Aristophanes’s Lysistrata and Spike Lee's Chi-raq 1:17:18
  • Sex strikes and calls for peace: Lysistrata as an avatar of Athena
1:17:47
  • Chi-raq: gun violence and tragic catharsis
1:25:37
Pour citer cette ressource :

Christine Froula, "War, Catharsis, Peace: Ancient Greek Visions and 21st Century Violence ", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mars 2020. Consulté le 07/08/2020. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/litterature-americaine/war-catharsis-peace-ancient-greek-visions-and-21st-century-violence