By Stefano Zuffi
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Extra info for Caravaggio
9 If we abstract it from its polemical bias, that statement no more than articulates in particularly pointed form the mainstream philosophical and / or political implications of tragedy in both theory and practice from its beginnings. For Aeschylus the emphasis may lie on a combination of theodicy and political progress, while Sophocles simply stresses the nobility of man in the face of a hostile universe.
Just as Apollo assures them that neither the elder nor the younger gods have any consideration left for them (721-2), so they themselves have no illusions about the fact that "the orders of an elder time" have been destroyed (728 and passim) the hard hands of the gods and their treacheries have taken [their] old rights away. (879-80) In turn, the younger gods never question their basic anti-female attitude. Athena, the goddess born solely of a man, declares that she is "always for the 31 The Birth of Tragedy male" (737).
Where Eteocles describes the opponent of the Typho-warrior Hippomedon, this opposition of devices is developed in enough detail to give the oncoming battle some of the dimension of a war in heaven: for man with man they shall engage as foes and on their shields shall carry enemy Gods. The one has Typho breathing fire, the other, Hyperbius, has father Zeus in station sitting upon his shield, and in his hand a burning bolt. No one has yet seen Zeus defeated anywhere. Such on each side are the favors of the Gods; we are on the winning side, they with the vanquished if Zeus than Typho mightier prove in battle.