By Karen Bassi
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Extra resources for Acting Like Men: Gender, Drama, and Nostalgia in Ancient Greece
The homogeneity of these positions is a means of presuming sameness in the face of multiplicity and difference. " When Goldman turns or returns to Greek tragedy, as all critics must, this founding process overtly apprehends him and his implied or ideal reader. Like Aristotle and Freud, he envisions himself and his readers as elite male citizens in fifth-century Athens. We are far from the hero. A good portion of the entire city's population sits around us. We all look down the vast cupped slope into the stone bull's-eye, the dancing ring with an altar at the center.
Courage, or t'1voQEia, is essential to the guardians' education and to the preservation of the city (Republic 429a-430c). " Nostalgia and Drama 23 all males are masculine, or that bodily acts and speech acts are transitory and illusory, only proves the need to postulate an essential core of immutable masculinity. Plato's censorship of bodily or visualized impersonations thus illustrates how the critique of dramatic impersonation is a manifestation of disciplinary practices that are ultimately aimed at establishing an inner core of unchanging masculinity.
In book 3 of the Republic, Socrates argues that fully enacted first-person impersonation-that is, "to impersonate both in voice and in looks" (393C5-6)-is dangerous in the ideal state, in which no citizen may be "double or multiple, since each one does one thing" (397el-2). 14 In this political context, the baser sort of citizen is one who is wholly indiscriminate and will "attempt to imitate everything in earnest before many people" (397a3-4). The danger inherent in such indiscriminate imitations is that, if they are practiced from an early age, they can become habitual and naturalized in "body and voice and thought" (395dl-3).