Infamilles : crime et rédemption sur la scène tragique

From the cursed family of Atreus to the concept of “family myth” forged in 1963 by Ferreira (American therapist of the Palo Alto school), family has always been at stake in theater. Aristotle defines “the conflict within alliances” as the best topic for a tragedy because it necessary triggers both pity and terror amongst spectators. Family crystallizes all kind of conflicts because it symbolizes altogether a “cement” that units the group and a prison from which it is hard to escape.

The genre of tragedy, in particular, emphasizes the problematic link between freedom and fatality. Even if man believes in his free will, he inhabits a world where families are doomed and Gods are almighty. Therefore he needs to struggle to find his own path. Can he free himself from traditions and heredity in order to shape his own identity? Can he leave his family without destroying it? Or is this desire a fallacy that does not apply to ancient texts and only reveals our perception of the modern world?

This course aims at exploring the familial myth from the Antiquity to the 20th century, by looking at five main figures: the mother, the step-mother, the father, the child and siblings. Indeed, antique, classic and contemporary tragedies (as well as their film adaptations) question and reshape these myths that led the foundations of our humanity.

The use of tools borrowed from sociology, philosophy or psychoanalysis will deepen our analysis. We will also take advantage of the Avignon festival to attend various plays and explore staging and acting pratices in order to make these texts alive!

Authors include Seneca, Euripides, Corneille, Racine, Anouilh, Sartre and Lagarce as well as film-makers such as Pasolini and Dolan.