Through this illustrated chapter, Jolyon Mitchell and Linzy Brady consider how the story of the Massacre of the Innocents (from the Gospel of Matthew) has been transformed through appropriation, adaptation and elaboration. They analyse how this brief, ancient, biblical story (Matthew 2.16-18) is used to reflect upon more recent events of injustice, horror and tragedy. They demonstrate how this compressed tale of slaughter has exerted a powerful imaginative hold. Mitchell and Brady critically consider journalistic reports, literary imaginings, artistic representations, theatrical enactments, and cinematic portrayals. They explore how it has resonated through the centuries and has a rich and extensive afterlife, which reflects evolving understandings of tragedy. Examples from literature, art, theatre and film are used to interrogate different kinds of representation and transformation of tragedy. This detailed analysis raises a number of questions such as: What is an appropriate representation of this tragic tale when artistic beauty sharply contrasts with actual extreme violence against innocent children? Drawing upon a wide range of examples, the authors move from motherhood and massacre in art in the Middle Ages to political representations of genocide and war on the stage and screen in the twenty-first century.
The Transformations of Tragedy: Christian Influences from Early Modern to Modern explores the influence of Christian theology and culture upon the development of post-classical Western tragedy. The volume is divided into three parts: early modern, modern, and contemporary. This series of essays by established and emergent scholars offers a sustained study of Christianity’s creative influence upon experimental forms of Western tragic drama.
Both early modern and modern tragedy emerged within periods of remarkable upheaval in Church history, yet Christianity’s diverse influence upon tragedy has too often been either ignored or denounced by major tragic theorists. This book contends instead that the history of tragedy cannot be sufficiently theorised without fully registering the impact of Christianity in transition towards modernity.