By Thomas G. Rosenmeyer
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Nero's train and consultant, wrote philosophical essays, a few of them within the kind of letters, and dramas on Greek mythological themes, which because the early Renaissance have exercised a strong effect at the ecu theater. simply because in his essays Seneca, in his personal eclectic manner, subscribes to the philosophy of the Stoic university, students and critics have lengthy been asking the query no matter if the performs, additionally, can be considered as transmitters of Stoic proposal. quite a few solutions, starting from a express no to an uneasy certain, were given. With few exceptions, the scholars who've involved themselves with this query have sought for their enlightenment in Stoic psychology and Stoic ethics. during this e-book, Thomas G. Rosenmeyer proposes in its place to examine the Stoic technology of nature, of the area and people on the earth, as a extra believable grounding for the adaptation among Senecan drama and its Greek predecessors. within the means of what the Stoics, in particular the early Stoics, needed to say concerning the forces making a choice on average phenomena, the writer uncovers a deeply pessimistic pressure in Stoic cosmology, and an curiosity in physicality and environmental stress, that he unearths replicated within the theater, not just of Seneca, but additionally of the later eu culture indebted to him.
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Extra info for Senecan Drama and Stoic Cosmology
My grief delights in savoring The gruesome narrative entire. (Tro 1065–67) The speaker is prepared for the rehearsal of what is central in Senecan tragedy: the sequence and interconnection of misdeeds, in their mobilized particularity, designed to appeal to listeners who expect the worst and need to have their fears corroborated. Tractare has its own quality: handle, caress, but also manage philosophically, consolatorily. The speaker calls for a demonstration rather than a report. The demonstration comes with its own proper setting.
Both Plato and Seneca can be quoted to the effect that all life is a form of dying. But Socrates died to live; the death of the ironist, in Plato's Phaedo, is sketched in lightly, almost shrugged off, because it is only a means, a passport to a greater being, or a convenient closure to a full life.  He insists on controlling, prolonging, hastening, enjoying, protesting his death, not ― 59 ― for what it promises, or for what it shuts off, but for the expenditure of manifest energy it makes possible.
In his opinion, heimarmene and tragedy are irreconcilable. The beauty of tragedy is precisely that the precise affiliation be― 70 ― tween the various partial perceptions of the principle of causality is not clear. There is a deep nick in Time's restless wheel For each man's good, when which nick comes, it strikes; As rhetoric yet works not persuasion, But only is a mean to make it work, So no man riseth by his real merit, But when it cries "clink" in his raiser's spirit. 134–39) Chapman's implicit analogy between the forces that determine a man's life and the powers that shape a work of literature is instructive.