Pagina:Zibaldone di pensieri VII.djvu/400

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(4458-4459) pensieri 391

quelle tante raccolte da Plutarco nel libro da me citato altrove in tal proposito) we must therefore suppose some knowledge of Greek legends, though not necessarily of Herodotus himself (5-8 febbraio 1829).

*    Alla p. 4359. Niebuhr (loc. cit. p. 4431, fine) sezione intitolata The Beginning of the Republic and the Treaty with Carthage, not. 1078. p. 456-7. This play (the Brutus of L. Attius) was a praetextata, the noblest among the three kinds of the Roman national drama; all which assuredly, and not merely the Atellana, might be represented by well-born Romans without risking their franchise.  (4459) The praetextata merely bore an analogy to a tragedy: it exhibited the deeds of Roman Kings and generals (Diomedes, III, p. 487. Putsch).; and hence it is self-evident, that at least it wanted the unity of time of the Greek tragedy; that it was a history, like Shakspeare’s. I have referred above (pag. 431) to a dialogue between the King (Tarquinio superbo) and his dream-interpreters in the Brutus (dialogo citato da Cicerone de Divinat. I. 22)., the scene of which must have lain before Ardea: the establishment of the new government (del governo repubblicano a Roma), which must have been the occasion of the speech, qui recte consulat, consul siet (nel Brutus: parlata citata da Varrone De L. L. IV, 14. p. 24)., occurs at Rome: so that the unity of place is just as little observed. The Destruction of Miletus by Phrynichus and the Persians of Aeschylus were plays that drew forth all the manly feelings of bleeding or exulting hearts, and not tragedies: for the latter the Greeks, before the Alexandrian age, took their plots solely out of mythical story. It was essential that their contents should be known beforehand: the stories of Hamlet and Macbeth were unknown to the spectators: at present parts of them might be moulded into tragedies like the Greek;