Scape Goat Song

So back in the old, old, olden days, the term “tragoidia” was coined because it was Greek for “goat song.” The rumors (for nobody who went to the yearly tragedy festival(s) are extant) are that the playwright who created the top tragedy had a goat sacrificed in his name, once all the plays had been performed. It was the culmination of a great deal of very hard work — for, children, writing a play is hard fucking work, even if it's just about two foreign exchange students in a laundromat, or a couple on their last date, or whatever — and the victor was able to enjoy the spoils, if not during his life, then by pleasing the gods and enjoying a happy afterlife.

Of course, Aristotle says nothing about this in his Poetics, still pretty much the book on how to write the book on tragedy, but rumors are rumors, and a rumor that's been around for more than 2,000 years is a pretty solid rumor, if you ask me.

So it is interesting to me, and seems a logical tangent, to determine from whence we get the term “scapegoat.” A scapegoat is defined as one who shoulders the blame for the actions of others. And yeah, this one goes even farther back than our goat song: all the way back to Leviticus 16:8 (hello, Torah), which stateth: “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.” The scapegoat wasn't killed, but rather led off into the wilderness, bearing the sins of Satan. Hebrews believed it would be claimed by the fallen angel Azazel.

And yet I can't help but meld the two, “goat song” and “scapegoat,” because every tragedy features a tragic flaw in the protagonist (say, blind trust), that results in a catharsis (say, the audience feeling intense shadenfreud, a joy tinged with sadness and guilt for feeling joy), and then the goat song that was the most successful, resulting in the greatest catharsis, the greatest feeling of “o God I'm so glad that didn't happen to me, but it could, but it didn't so I'm happy, but it could happen to someone else, and that makes me feel like shit,” resulted in a sweet little goat being led to the altar and getting its throat cut.

To which all I can really say is: Mehehehehenh, mehehenh.

One thought on “Scape Goat Song

  1. Excellent!

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