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Introduction to Greek Theatre and Tragedy

Introducing the various aspects of Greek life, theatre, and tragedy, as well as some biographical info about Sophocles.
by

Jeremy Young

on 15 February 2011

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Transcript of Introduction to Greek Theatre and Tragedy

An Introduction to
Greek Theatre,
Life, and Tragedy. dasdsadsads Greek Theatre Greek Life Greek Tragedy Sophocles Performed in the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens. Rebuilt and expanded many times, difficult to tell the original shape. People of the Theatre The Players
also consisted of 12 - 15 dancers.

The term "actors" didn't fully
develop, until later. The Dramatists wrote and acted in plays.

also choreographed and often directed. dedicated to Dionysus, god of wine,
agriculture, and the fertility of nature. His festivals drove the development of
Greek Theatre. Older Temple of Dionysus Located in the precinct (district of a city)
- altar
- theatre Dionysus's statue
was in the front
row, where he
could see the
sacrifices being
made at his altar. think of wards in our city Pericles in the 5th century, he built
a recital hall.

Used for ceremonies and
many oher purposes.

"Theoric Fund"
- set aside for the poor
who couldn't get into the
theatre. The Stage ie.) Sophocles What is a greek tradegy? tragic chorus
A composition written to be performed by actors, where the main character (called tragic protagonist/hero) suffers tragedy that is not accidental but, tied to the actions of the character.

Generally, the tragedy is undeserved by the tragic hero. The Tragic Hero Main character usually has a lot of power.
He has much to lose.

Harmatia – even though the character is good, he makes an error that derives from a flaw.

Catastrophe - The hero suffers a downfall from the error

Catharsis – The hero realizes his error but is too late to fix his mistake. Hubris an important word in Greek tradegy.

It is extreme arrogance.
This is often the tragic hero’s downfall. The tragedy usually
- takes place in a short amount of time
- is in one location
- one main plot. Famous Greek tragedians
- Sophocles
- Aeschylus
- Plato
- Euripides
- Aristotle Political Structure 495 - 405 B.C saw the beginnings of democracy.

Anti-democrats, the intellectuals like Plato, who wanted an oligarchy.


Greece was run by the poor.

Plato eventually ran down the idea of democracy. critical thinking democracy " " democracy is appalling, since it represents the rule of the poor, ignorant, fickle and stupid majority over the socially and intellectually superior minority, the world turned upside down. Roles roles of men roles of women roles of children We women are nothing;—happy indeed is our childhood, for THEN we are thoughtless; but when we attain maidenhood, lo! we are driven away from our homes, sold as merchandise, and compelled to marry and say 'All's well.' " " - training in military

- discussing politics

- went to the Theatre for entertainment to watch dramas that they could relate to.

- men were the only ones who could go to theatres, or perform. intellectuals warriors theatre war Boys were introduced to a very miltaristic or intellectual lifestyle.

Girls were often shepherded from early age by their family.
At age 12 or 13, they were usually married off. Daily Life Social structure was made up from independent states, called Polis, or city state. Free people and Slaves. Free people then further divided into Citizens and Metics.
The social classes applied to men only, as women took their social and legal status from their male partner.

Women in ancient Greece were not permitted to take part in public life. Sophocles was born the son of a wealthy merchant in 495 B.C., about a mile northwest of Athens, when the Greek Empire was at its height. From a young age he studied the arts. By sixteen, he was the lead boy in his choir, and at 28, in his first theatre competition, he won first prize over no other than Aeschylus. From then on, Sophocles would become renowned throughout Greece for his dramatic works. Over his lifetime he produced over 120 plays, though few survived in their complete form till today. He pioneered the addition of the third actor in plays, as well as making the trilogic form obsolete. In other words, he made Greek theatre a lot more like the modern Western theatre that we know today.

His most famous plays are 'Antigone' and 'Oedipus Rex' He died in 406 B.C., marking the end of a great age in Greek tragic theatre
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