In this exploration of four plays by Aeschylus, Euripides, Machiavelli and Shakespeare, Mera Flaumenhaft argues that, by revising well-known myths or histories, each playwright reshapes the community for which he writes. Emphasizing the context in which the plays have been read and performed, she examines the moral and political effects of each drama and its production, from the role of classical tragedy in MAINtaining the classical city, to the role of the modern history play in forming and maintaining the nation-state. Flaumenhaft demonstrates how the playwright's presentation of political themes within each drama relates to his view of the broadly political function of theater in his society.
Mera Flaumenhaft has given us superb analyses of Aeschylus, Euripides, Machiavelli, and Shakespeare. Beyond this, she has demonstrated the social and political function of drama in maintaining and strengthening community. Not only those interested in the history of drama, but also anyone concerned with the problem of community in modern society has much to learn from this sensitive and insightful treatment.--Mary P. Nichols, Fordham University