Tragedy represents a classical literary genre the field of disability studies often prefers not to approach too closely, lest disability also be called a tragedy by association. At the same time, my thinking is organized around my personal experience of chronic illness, pain, and disability that appear in early adulthood, when it’s maybe least expected and most difficult to comprehend; or, in a word, tragic. I turn to the literary genre of classical Greek tragedy to think about/with more enigmatic and tragic forms of disability and crip temporality. In particular, I read Sophocles’s classic tragedy Oedipus and Aristotle’s foundational interpretation of the tragedy’s plot in his Poetics together with theories of crip time—and also crip times plural—from disability studies and crip theory. One way I offer here we can faithfully translate and do justice to the broken, fragmentary poetries of sick and disabled bodyminds is allowing ourselves the complex pleasures of sitting down and staying awhile with the classic tragic emotions of pity and fear. An Aristotelian interpretation of the end of the tragedy can help us understand Sophocles’s Oedipus as an essentially human drama of shared disability identity and problems of disability recognition internalized in the psyche of its tragic hero.
"Enigmatic, Tragic, Crip; or, Crip Time in Sophocles’s Oedipus and Aristotle’s Poetics,"
Journal of Gender, Ethnic, and Cross-Cultural Studies: Vol. 2:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://epublications.marquette.edu/jgecp/vol2/iss1/4