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Sophocles treats marine soldiers from a post war stress after Afghanistan and Iraq

24 January 2010 / 09:01:11  GRReporter
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Panic, nightmares at night, depression, desperation, aggressive behavior. This is the condition of many American soldiers after their return from Afghanistan and Iraq. These symptoms of a post war stress are known to humanity since the hoary antiquity and the ancient Greeks have found the cure for it at that time. It is called “catharsis” and means the process in which the literary drama purifies the soul. Its therapeutic effect is indisputable in the past 2000 years and until present times.

That is why the Pentagon spares 3,7 million dollars on Military theater through which the ancient Greek dramas help the soldiers who came back from Afghanistan and Iraq to forget about the post war stress. As the New York Times newspaper announces, the founders of the theater have preferred the dramas of Sophocles Eas and Philoctetes, whose main characters are aggressive and have a variable behavior after their return home. The action of the two plays takes place after the ending of the events described by Homer in Iliad and before the end of the Trojan war.

The military theater plans to visit 50 military bases where they will perform readings of the two works of Sophocles which will be followed by an opened discussion. The scenes from Eas describe his plans to kill the generals who humiliated him, but the Goddess Athens interacts and blurred his mind and he kills animals who he believes to be the generals. The scenes from Philoctetes present Greek military leaders who are trying to make him lead his army against Troy in a moment in which he is torn by a physical and soul pain.

In the project are taking part David Stratan, nominated for Oscar for his performance in the movie “Good night and good luck”, Brian Doris, a writer, a director and founder of the Military theater, Jeffrey Riot, Gloria Ruben and Adam Driver, a former marine soldier. “Sophocles himself was a general and during his time Athens was conducting long wars. These two plays have been viewed by thousands of soldiers. I want our performances to  help them see their problems in a wider historical context and make them feel less lonely”, said the director for New York Times.

Picture: New York Times

Tags: Sophocles post war stress american soldiers literature
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