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Classical Greek Drama
Transcript of Classical Greek Drama
Actors (all men) wore elegant robes, huge masks, and often elevated shoes
Sophocles (an innovator) used three actors
(a group of about 15) commented on the action
(the leader of the chorus) participated in the dialogue
Mythological Sources and Greek Deities
myth: a traditional story, usually concerning some superhuman being or unlikely event, that was once widely believed to be true
legend: a story handed down from the past, especially one that is popularly believed to be based on historical events
dramatic irony: when the audience knows more than the characters do
allusions: an indirect reference to a famous person, place, event, or literary work
Ancient Greek and Roman drama known as
Arose in Athens from religious celebrations to honor
Began as ritual chants and songs performed by a group called a chorus
Evolved during the sixth century B.C. when individual actors included dialogue with the chorus to tell a story
Why does it matter?
Developed some of the most cherished ideas of Western civilization:
individual freedom, democracy, rational thought
Ideals of beauty and justice spread throughout the world
Greek literature (especially poetry and drama) continues to inspire
Classical Greek Drama
Cradle of Democracy
Athens (the largest and most influential of the Greek city-states) was the birthplace of democracy, drama, and philosophy
Athenian sculpture and architecture are still imitated today
Athens was named for Athena, the gray-eyed goddess of war and wisdom
Religious festival = spectacle and pageantry!
Attended by thousands
Plays performed during the day in an outdoor theater with seats built into a hillside
Divides mainland Greece into various regions
Greeks believed their gods and goddesses lived at the top of the highest mountain in Greece: Mount Olympus (shown above)
Greek mythology heavily influenced the literature of the Western world
Skene: a long building that served as a backdrop for the action and as a dressing room for each play
Orchestra: a spacious floor, often a raised platform, located between the skene and the audience
Theatron: the location of the audience
496 B.C. - 406 B.C.
Great Greek tragedian
Aeschylus (his senior)
Euripedes (his younger contemporary
Beat Aeschylus in his 20s
May never has placed below 2nd
Wrote 123 dramas
7 complete tragedies still exist