In: KulturPoetik 2012, Heft 1


Monika Ritzer


›Gewalt über unsre Leidenschaften‹? Pathos und Pathetik der Emotion in der Tragödienästhetik der Aufklärung




Emotions are one of the main subjects of cultural studies and have been one of the main topics in the poetics of tragedy since Greek and Roman antiquity. The article illustrates the original relationship between heroic ›pathos‹ and ›pathetic‹ effects, and shows how the early psychological analysis of emotional functions (Descartes) influenced the aesthetic debates about dramatic ›passion‹ in Europe throughout the 18th century. Focused on the pathetic’s strategy of rousing the emotions (›Rührung‹), the discussion demonstrates the Enlightenment dialectic inherent in the ›violence of passion‹ (Lessing). Becoming part of the natural person in the tragedy of Storm and Stress, passion preludes a new pathos of the individual.