Tragedy and Trauerspiel: Too Alike?

Samuel Weber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Despite Walter Benjamin's fascination and esteem for Friedrich Hölderlin, Benjamin's theory of tragedy as outlined in his The Origins of the German Mourning Play seems diametrically opposed to Hölderlin's conception as articulated in his 'Remarks on Oedipus' and 'Remarks on Antigone'. For Hölderlin, tragedy seeks to re-establish a certain 'balance' through the 'counter-rhythmic' interruption of the 'caesura', whereas for Benjamin tragedy involves the refusal of the tragic hero to speak and thereby countenance the language of 'myth', thereby announcing mutely a world in which 'man is better than his gods'. This chapter seeks to explore the differences that separate the two conceptions but also to complicate any attempt simply to oppose them to one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTragedy and the Idea of Modernity
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191800672
ISBN (Print)9780198727798
StatePublished - May 21 2015


  • Caesura
  • Counter-rhythmic interruption
  • Gegen
  • Gleich
  • Hölderlin
  • Like
  • Walter Benjamin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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