The Current

Using Greek Tragedies to help veterans open up about battlefield trauma and guilt

In his book The Theatre of War, Bryan Doerries writes about how ancient Greek tragedies speak to the timeless trauma of war, and what veterans today can learn from from them.
Author Bryan Doerries says that veterans can benefit from ancient Greek tragedies because they speak to the timeless trauma of war. (Thatcher Cook/Flickr cc)

Ajax, by the ancient Greek dramatist Sophocles, has been finding new audiences and new life lately.  Ajax, as with other Greek tragedies, is the story of a warrior, and even today, it speaks to military veterans, and the families of veterans, who are suffering.

Bryan Doerries had the idea to start staging Greek tragedies inside military academies, theaters and hospitals around the United States. Now he's telling the story of what happened at these events in his new book, "The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today."

I think the purpose of watching these plays is to wake us up to the possibility of our own agency. To the possibility of making a decision that might avert disaster."- Bryan Doerries

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.