Abstract

Oriental tragedies were among the most popular new plays of the eighteenth century and the most commonly revived. David Hume theorizes that the pleasure of tragedy comes from creating two separate presences, the character and the actor, with whom the audience could sympathize. Oriental settings paradoxically increase the potential for sympathetic exchange by highlighting the distance between the spectators and the tragic subjects. This paper focuses on Aaron Hill’s The Tragedy of Zara (1735) and argues that its metatheatrical metaphors of spectatorship increase the potential for sympathetic exchange in order to, in the words of Hill, “teach a languid people how to feel.”

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 501-521
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-03
Open Access
No
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