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Oedipus the King by Sophocles
Transcript of Oedipus the King by Sophocles
How was a Greek tragedy staged?
Costume, Music, and Dance in Greek Tragedy
Played during the chorus'
Used a single flute, or lute
Historians do not know who composed the music or what it sounded like
The Three Unities
Three unities: time, place, and action.
Greek playwrights observed them for several reasons:
Important because if the action takes place in one location for a long period of time, audience loses interest.
Time and action are important because if nothing happens for a long time, the audience loses interest
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Six Parts of a Tragedy:
"Most powerful elements of emotional interest in Tragedy are either Peripeteia or Reversal of the Situation, and Recognition scenes which are all parts of the plot" (Section VI)
"The Plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy" (Section VI)
"Character: reveals moral purpose, showing what kind of things a man chooses or avoids." (Section VI)
"Diction: the expression of the meaning in words" (Section VI)
"Song: most important among the embellishments" (Section VI)
"The Spectacle: least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry." (Section VI)
"Simple action: the change of fortune that takes place without Reversal of the Situation and without Recognition" (Section VI)
"Complex action: change is accompanied by such Reversal, or by Recognition, or by both." (Section VI)
"A well constructed plot must neither begin nor end at haphazard (in the middle of the action)" (Section VII)
"A certain length is necessary, and it must be easily remembered." (Section VII)
"A plot is 'epeisodic' when the episodes or acts succeed one another." (Section IX)
"There are three parts to a plot: Reversal of the Situation, Recognition and the Scene of Suffering" (Section XI)
"Separate parts into which Tragedy was divided: Prologue, Episode, Exode, and Choric song (divided into Parode and Stasimon.)" (Section XII)
: entire part of a tragedy which precedes the Parode of the Chorus." (Section XII)
: part of a tragedy which is between choric songs." (Section XII)
: has no choric song after it." (Section XII)
: first undivided utterance of the Chorus" (Section XII)
: Choric ode without anapaests or trochaic tetrameters" (Section XII)
: joint lamentation of Chorus and actors." (Section XII)
"A perfect tragedy should be arranged not on the simple but on the complex plan" (Section XIII)
Simple plots only satisfy the moral sense and don't arouse pity or fear
"Pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune." (Section XIII)
EXAMPLE: "fear by the misfortune of a man. Such an event will be neither pitiful nor terrible" (Section XIII)
"A well constructed plot: single in its issue, rather than double." (Section XIII)
"Change of fortune should be from good to bad" (Section XIII)
"Fear and pity may be aroused by spectacular means; but they may also result from the inner structure of the piece, which is the better way." (Section XIV)
Third case: "to be about to act with knowledge of the persons and then not to act." (Section XIV)
Fourth case: "some one is about to do an irreparable deed through ignorance, and makes the discovery before it is done." (Section XIV)
"To be about to act knowing the persons, and then not to act, is the worst. It is shocking without being tragic, for no disaster follows. " (Section XIV)
Best way: "the deed should be carried out in ignorance, and the discovery made afterwards. There is then nothing to shock us, while the discovery produces a startling effect." (Section XIV)
If a play has a prolonged period of time with no action, the audience will lose interest. therefore action is very important
Time and place are important because audience will also lose interest if it takes a long period of time for the hero to fall
Four things to be aimed at for character.
"First, it must be good. The character will be good if the purpose is good." (Section XV)
"The second thing to aim at is propriety." (Section XV)
"Thirdly, character must be true to life: for this is a distinct thing from goodness and propriety," (Section XV)
"The fourth point is consistency: for though the subject of the imitation, who suggested the type, be inconsistent, still he must be consistently inconsistent." (Section XV)
"Recognition: change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined for good or bad fortune." (Section XVI)
"Best form of recognition: coincident with a Reversal of the Situation, as in the Oedipus." (Section XVI)
"First, the least artistic form, is most recognition by signs (ex. congenital) " (Section XVI)
"Others are acquired after birth" (Section XVI)
EXAMPLES: "bodily marks (scars), external tokens (necklaces),"
"The use of tokens for the express purpose of proof is a less artistic mode of recognition." (Section XVI)
"Next come the recognitions invented at will by the poet."
"The third kind: memory when the sight of some object awakens a feeling." (Section XVI)
"Fourth kind: by process of reasoning" (Section XVI)
"The best form: arises from the incidents themselves, where the startling discovery is made by natural means." (Section XVI)
: part of the tragedy which precedes the Parode of the Chorus
: first utterance of the chorus
: part of the tragedy which is between complete choric songs
: a choric ode without anapaests or trochaic tetrameters
: the part of a tragedy which has no choric song after it
: the part of an ancient Greek choral ode sung by the chorus when moving from right to left
: the part of a Greek tragedy sung by the chorus when returning from left to right
: everything from the beginning of the action to the turning point of the tragedy
: the point at which the circumstances overcome the central motive
: that which extends from the beginning of the change to the end
relieving of emotional tensions, especially through tragedy
: critical moment of recognition or discovery
: tragic flaw
: sudden turn of events or an unexpected reversal
In medias res
: in the middle of things
Deus ex machina
: a god introduced into a play to resolve the entanglements of the plot
Standard costume: sleeves, full body length, decorated tunic (more relevant to the Chorus)
Boots: known as "cotharnus"
Cloaks: long- "himation", short "cloak: chalmys"
Wore "chitons" (made of linen or silk)
"Hemateon": cloth worn over shoulder
"Prosterneda": used when acting as a female
Made of linen cork
Expressions were expressed on masks (sad for tragedy)
Shape of mask amplifies actors voice
Helmet-like with holes for eyes and mouth and had a wig attached
"Classical theater resembled today’s rock concerts" -Howard Tomb
Was parallel to the character the actor was acting
Costume and Masks in Greek Tragedy
- The acting area
- Had a small altar to the God Dionysos in the center
- Where the Chorus danced and the actors spoke
- The large backdrop
- Where the action actually took place (hidden)
- Wheeled platform
- Used to display set pieces
- A large crane
- Used for the entrance of gods
- Deus ex machina
Every tragedy falls into two parts,—Complication and Unravelling or Denouement
• There are four kinds of Tragedy, the Complex, the Pathetic, the Ethical, and the Simple.
• The Chorus should be regarded as one of the actors; it should be an important part of the whole.