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.
These essays are as deep as they are lucid; Flaumenhaft succeeds splendidly in her goal of using 'ordinary language' to 'think about the primary questions in our real lives.'--William Mullen, Bard College