• RONALD VINCE deposited The Sacrifice of Isaac as Psycho-Moral Drama in the group Group logo of Early Modern TheaterEarly Modern Theater on Humanities Commons 5 months, 2 weeks ago

    The horror of the situation at the center of the story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis has historically prompted a myriad of attempts to reconcile the apparently sadistic demands of God with normal human sensibilities. The tension–both in the story itself and in critical reactions to the story–is inherently dramatic, but the dramatic qualities, so suggestive of the dilemmas of tragic protagonists such as Aeschylus’s Agamemnon or Corbeille’s Horace, nevertheless accord only uneasily with Aristotelian or even Kierkegaardian categories. Medieval dramatizations of the story, governed by typology and innocent of classical theory, remained theocentric, allowing theology to be played out in terms of human psychology. The loss of the theocentric vision in the anthrocentrism of the 16th century resulted in he fracture of the typological love that in the medieval plays had reconciled God and humankind and the substitution of a melodramatic struggle between good and evil in which the protagonist, no matter his decision, cannot escape tragic destruction independent of divine grace. These themes are illustrated in brief analyses of the Brome “Abraham and Isaac” (15th century) and Théodore de Bèze’s “Abraham sacrifiant” (1550).