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By Karen Bassi
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Additional info for Acting Like Men: Gender, Drama, and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece
20 Acting Like Men excellence (605a2), pleases a multitude of spectators by treating them to imitations and impersonations of every sort. External bodily dispositions and behaviors are clearly the focus of Socrates' critique of imitation or impersonation, in particular of the sorts of human dispositions and behaviors that good men, in their roles as good citizens, must avoid impersonating. Thus Plato's discussion corroborates what I have suggested earlier, namely, that visualization must precede impersonation.
Second, it suggests that the visual corporeality of the tragic genreepitomized in the Oedipus plot-is somehow dangerous for the spectator. If there is a critique of bodily acts and impersonations in the Poetics, here is its founding principle. But what is the meaning of this critique? Like Plato's political regimen, Aristotle's therapeutic regimen works to subsume dramatized performance as a spectacle of bodily heterogeneity under a dominant discourse of invisible and essential dispositions and feelings.
43 Thus, for example, in his much quoted 1975 book The Actor's Freedom: Toward a Theory of Drama, Michael Goldman suggests that "the covert theme of all drama is identification, the establishment of a self that in some way transcends the confusions of the self" (122-24). Like Aristotle and Freud, Goldman offers up a therapeutic regimen that would guarantee an essential and inner selfhood, even godhood. " Identification is thus naturalized and valorized as a unifying "mechanism" by which the actor, the spectator, and the character occupy undifferentiated 41.
Acting Like Men: Gender, Drama, and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece by Karen Bassi