Maurizio Pirro

Paradigms of virtue and tragic affects in Johann Friedrich von Cronegk’s Codrus

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Keywords: aesthetics, tragedy, Enlightenment

In his Codrus, Johann Friedrich von Cronegk enhances the tragic effect by admiration for the protagonist’s virtue and contempt for Artander, the king of the Dorians. Admiration serves as the main catalyst for Classicist tragedies, which strongly condemn the lack of humanity in evil characters. By mid-18th century Lessing’s theories on Mitleid put a strain on the theoretical model grounded on Bewunderung. This essay frames Cronegk’s work between tradition and innovation. Cronegk compensates the psychological implausibility of inherently good or evil characters by evoking tolerant morals, which ward off any impersonal conception of virtue, while disciplining the destructive potential of affects.

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