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Greek Tragedy

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Amy Gibson

on 18 January 2012

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Transcript of Greek Tragedy

Structure of Greek Tragedy The tragedies of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles followed strict structure, which was designed to effectively communicate the Story as well as the underlying Moral. A Greek tragedy consisted of SIX sections, some of which were repeated as necessary to accommodate the plot. They are: PROLOGUE:
A monologue presenting the tragedy's Topic.

The entry of the chorus. Use chant and dance to explain what has happened Episodes would be added depending on plot needs. The protagonist in a Greek tragedy was expected to experience a reversal of fortune, usually due to his own hubris [excessive pride] While this downfall could result in death, it could also be followed by a catharsis, an emotional cleansing meant to suggest redemption. Aristotle suggested three rules of "Unity" for Tragedy: Unity of Place, Unity of Time and Unity of Action: PLACE. The setting should be just ONE location (Oedipus Rex takes place on the steps outside the palace).

TIME. The play should represent the passage of only ONE day (previous events leading up to the present were recounted on stage).

ACTION. All actions/scenes should contribute directly to the main plot. The Chorus played critical roles: The first function of a tragic chorus was to chant an entrance song called a parodos as they marched into the orchestra. The Chorus was comprised of 12- 15 people, though no more than 3 actors appeared in a play. Actors performed multiple roles by using masks, costumes and props. EPISODE:
The main section of the play, where most of the plot occurs. Actors speak dialogue about the plot (all action/violence took place off stage).

The chorus comments on the episode The Chorus's most important function was to sing and dance the stasima (stasimon). 2nd: clarifying the exposition by warning, or sympathizing with the dilemma of the protagonist 3rd: provide time for scene changes and give the principle actors a break MASKS served several purposes in Greek theater. Exaggerated expressions helped define the characters . Allowed actors to play more than one role/gender
Projected sound somewhat like a small megaphone
In a Tragedy, masks were more life-like.
In Satyr plays, masks were ugly and grotesque. Greek theater always contained a group of 12-15 actors called the Chorus. KOMMOS:
Song of lament in which the Chorus speaks directly to another character
The final chorus chant where the Moral of the tragedy is discussed. Deus ex Machina
"God from the machine"
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