Fall 2021

The Tragic Condition

Moodle site: Course


Richard P. Hutchins (Section 01)


Recent events over the past year and a half in the United States and across the globe, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Black Lives Matter protest movement, have revealed how tragic human life can be. But what do people really mean when they call something “tragic”? This course explores the tragic condition by reading the most lasting works of Ancient Greek tragedy by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides alongside modern retellings of these tragedies by authors from diverse communities around the world. We will learn about the enigmatic origins of tragedy in archaic Greece and also about the performance of tragedy in ancient Athens by studying the conventions of music, dance, and the mask. Most important, we will reflect on enduring relevance of Greek tragedy today by reading several works by authors and playwrights from diverse communities around the world who have taken the powerful myths, stories, and characters from Greek tragedy and adapted them to the Black, Chicano, Transgender, African, Latin American, Muslim, and Japanese experience. All readings will be in English translation. No previous knowledge is required.

Fall Semester. Professor Hutchins. 


Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2021