La scuola a teatro: tragedia greca, novità filosofiche e tradizioni omeriche (tra Prometeo, Elettra e Filottete) – Greta Castrucci – Stratagemmi 22





School at the theatre: Greek tragedy, philosophical news and Homeric tradition (Prometheus, Electra, Philoctetes)


Homeric paideia can be described as a sacred form of education, based on the transmission of traditional values through a faithful and lasting relationship between teacher and pupil. The sophists famously brought about a crucial shift in the Greek conception of paideia, resulting in a bewildering ethic relativism and in a secular idea of education: the relationship between teachers and pupils is now reduced to short collective conferences delivered upon payment, regardless of the identity of the pupil. Against this familiar background, the article pinpoints the role of tragedy in such a shift of values. In the first part, the focus is on tragic characters strongly opposing Sophistic paideia. This form of education is seen as the province of false didaskaloi who pretend to be ‘teachers’: by presenting itself as a ‘paideutic’ discourse and by promoting the Homeric idea of sacred paideia, tragedy brings on the stage the relationship between teachers and pupils and aims to expose and debunk these ‘false-didaskaloi’. To this effect, the article discusses some passages featuring examples of antithetical conceptions of paideia (in particular from Sophocles’ Electra and Philoctetes, and from Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound). In the second part, the focus is on good educational paradigms. In particular, the following pairs are examined: Philoctetes and Neoptolemus, the Paidagogos and Electra, Prometheus and the Oceanids, Prometheus and Ocean. Good tragic paideia appropriates and enhances two aspects of Homeric paideia: the first is the notion of sympatheia (the Aeschylean principle of pathei mathos can be construed as sympatheiai mathos, mediated by the pathos of another character); the second is the figure of the ‘Teacher of Truth’ (according to the definition of M. Detienne), and of the ‘e-ducator’, who develops the real physis of the pupil and his inner aletheia.