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Animal Husbandry, Tragedy,and the Patriarchal Psychosis 

in New Theatre Quarterly 1/15, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).


The object of my essay is to trace the historical derivation of tragedy as a patriarchal cultural achievement. To this end, I will organize the pertinent developments and show how tragedy came into being with the transition from nomadic to sedentary agrarian societies – principally, with the onset of livestock farming in the Mediterranean. Tragedy is the reinterpretation of pre-patriarchal myth in the mindset of this new way of life, and it developed in response to the male guilt complex in early patriarchal society. It serves as a non-religious exculpation instrument and as collective therapy. Until today, the dramatic form consolidates power by privileging an ideology of change (that is drama) that individualizes conflict as an opportunity for personal growth and in so doing, distracts from the systemic conflict that can be solved only by subverting the dominant social order.

[1] I use the term drama in the Aristotelian sense, in which drama is subdivided into to comedy and tragedy.

My Essay  in full length: