Publication Details

Hadaegh, B. 2010, 'Regressive progression: the quest for self-transcendence in western tragedy', Alizes: Revue Angliciste de La Reunion. Old Days, New Days, no. 33, pp. 27-48.


The quest for a higher self is the recurring motif of the three reformative eras of Western tragedy. This recurring theme is manifest in the Renaissance Elizabethan tragedy, nineteenth century Domestic drama, and the Absurd Theater. Throughout these three dramatic periods, the idea of the quest reveals itself in three different manifestations-action, imagination and inaction. Based on Nietzsche's notion of tragedy and a Dionysian approach of the quest for the "sovereign individual" (Nietzsche, Genealogy (GM)), the process of the quest for the higher self in the three major dramatic periods of Western tragedy reflects a progressive directionality that Nietzsche refers to in terms of a "progressus," a "task" or a "goal" (GM, 2, 2).