C. A. J. Littlewood approaches Seneca's tragedies as Neronian literature rather than as reworkings of Attic drama, and emphasizes their place in the Roman world and in the Latin literary corpus. The Greek tragic myths are for Seneca mediated by non-dramatic Augustan literature. In literary terms Phaedra's desire, Hippolytus' innocence, and Hercules' ambivalent heroism look back through allusion to Roman elegy, pastoral, and epic respectively. Ethically, the artificiality of Senecan tragedy, the consciousness that its own dramatic worlds, events, and people are literary constructs, responds to the contemporary Stoical dismissal of the public world as mere theatre.
About the author
Cedric Littlewood is Assistant Professor of Greek and Roman Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada