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Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides by Anne Carson
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“Why does tragedy exist? Because you are full of rage. Why are you full of rage? Because you are full of grief.”
Anne Carson (Translator), Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Could you visit me in dreams? That would cheer me.
Sweet to see friends in the night, however short the time.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Come here, let me share a bit of wisdom with you.
Have you given much thought to our mortal condition?
Probably not. Why would you? Well, listen.
All mortals owe a debt to death.
There's no one alive
who can say if he will be tomorrow.
Our fate moves invisibly! A mystery.
No one can teach it, no one can grasp it.
Accept this! Cheer up! Have a drink!
But don't forget Aphrodite--that's one sweet goddess.
You can let the rest go. Am I making sense?
I think so. How about a drink.
Put on a garland. I'm sure
the happy splash of wine will cure your mood.
We're all mortal you know. Think mortal.
Because my theory is, there's no such thing as life,
it's just catastrophe.
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“There is a theory that watching unbearable stories about other people lost in grief and rage is good for you—may cleanse you of your darkness. Do you want to go down to the pits of yourself all alone? Not much. What if an actor could do it for you? Isn’t that why they are called actors? They act for you. You sacrifice them to action. And this sacrifice is a mode of deepest intimacy of you with your own life. Within it you watch [yourself] act out the present or possible organization of your nature. You can be aware of your own awareness of this nature as you never are at the moment of experience. The actor, by reiterating you, sacrifices a moment of his own life in order to give you a story of yours.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Now every mortal has pain
and sweat is constant,
but if there is anything dearer than being alive,
it's dark to me.
We humans seem disastrously in love with this thing
(whatever it is) that glitters on the earth--
we call it life. We know no other.
The underworld's a blank
and all the rest just fantasy.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Myths are stories about people who become too big for their lives temporarily, so that they crash into other lives or brush against gods. In crisis their souls are visible.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Friends disappear
or they are powerless.
This is what misfortune means
an acid test of friendship.
I wouldn't wish it on anyone.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“DEATH
. . .
And now you are here to fight for this woman.
You know her promise is given.
She has to die or her husband won't go free.

APOLLO
Relax, I'm not breaking any laws.

DEATH
Why the bow, if you're breaking no laws?

APOLLO
I always carry a bow, it's my trademark.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Your grief is as great as your splendor was: some god is weighing the one out equal to the other.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Grief and rage--you need to contain that, to put a frame around it, where it can play itself out without you or your kin having to die. There is a theory that watching unbearable stories about other people lost in grief and rage is good for you--may cleanse you of your darkness. Do you want to go down to the pits of yourself all alone? Not much. What if an actor could do it for you? Isn't that why they are called actors? They act for you. You sacrifice them to action. And this sacrifice is a mode of deepest intimacy of you with your own life. Within it you watch [yourself] act out the present or possible organization of your nature. You can be aware of your own awareness of this nature as you never are at the moment of experience. The actor, by reiterating you, sacrifices a moment of his own life in order to give you a story of yours.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“I will not stop singing
the Muses who set me dancing.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Look at me. This is nobility in a man:
to bear what falls from the gods and not say No.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“MEGARA: You love the light so much?
AMPHITRYION: I do, I love its hopes.”
Euripides, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“what song of death, what dance of Hades shall I do?”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“I lack myself.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“I went mad, a god hurt me, I fell.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“CHORUS
Many are the shapes of things divine.
Many are the unexpected acts of gods.
What we imagined did not come to pass --
God found a way
to be surprising.
That's how this went.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
tags: god, poetry
“Oh look, here's Death at the gate!
Punctual as ever.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“—not to believe, that is, in the story of his own life. Bold move.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“MEGARA
Wait for worse? You love the light so much?

AMPHITRYON
I do, I love its hopes.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“he smashes
the black car of his luck.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Who knows what will happen if I'm alone with my grief.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Tragedy is not concerned with human justice. Tragedy is the statement of an expiation, but not he miserable expiation of a codified breach of a local arrangement organized by the knaves for the fools. The tragic figure represents the expiation of the original sin, of the original and eternal sin of...having been born.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Nothing is as it was before, after the screen has gone to black. Darkness lies on the soul. To use Beckett's phrase, "what cowers behind it begins to seep through." With her new shopping cart Hekabe, queen of Troy, will be prowling the aisled for dog biscuits.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“You will see me,
like a mountain animal,
bitter little animal”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Aidos ("shame") is a vast work in Greek. Shame vibrates with honor and also with disgrace, with what is chaste and with what is erotic, with coldness and also with blushing. Shame is felt before the eyes of others and also in facing oneself...shame is a split emotion.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Three days
(so I hear)
she is without food,
keeps her body
pure of bread, longs to
run herself aground
in a sad secret death.

Is it a god inside you, girl?”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“The fact is that there are people, good people who,
not because they want to
but all the same,
fall in love with the wrong thing.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Because my theory is, there's no such thing as life,
it's just catastrophe.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides
“Nothing is as it was before, after the screen has gone to black. Darkness lies on the soul. To use Beckett's phrase, "what cowers behind it begins to seep through." With her new shopping cart Hekabe, queen of Troy, will be prowling the aisle for dog biscuits.”
Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides