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Greek theatre

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Notes on Ancient Greek Theatre

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Greek theatre

  1. 1. Poetics, Playwrights and Comedy
  2. 2. Aristotle Aristotle was aphilosopher and critic;wrote nearly 100years after the goldenage of Greek theatre The Poetics, dramaticcriticism written in 335BCE, were a series ofnotes that we still usetoday to define theatre
  3. 3. The Three Unities The most famous of the Aristotelianrules were those relating to the unities: Time - the supposed action of the play islimited in the duration to, roughly, that of asingle day Place – limits to location to one generallocality Action - limits the plot to a single set ofincidents which are related as cause andeffect
  4. 4. On the Unity of Place: Perhaps tacitly he assumed that theobservance of the unity of place wouldbe the practice of good playwrights,since the chorus was present during thewhole performance, and it would indeedbe awkward always to devise an excusefor moving fifteen persons about fromplace to place.Martha Fletcher Bellinger, A Short History of theDrama
  5. 5. The Six Elements of Drama Plot: the arrangement of dramaticincidents Characters: the people represented inthe play Thought or theme: the ideas explored Language: the dialogue and poetry Music Spectacle: scenery and other visualelements
  6. 6. Oedipus – the Ultimate GreekTragedy Aristotle felt thatSophocle’s playOedipus was the bestexample of tragedybecause of: the excellentmanagement of plot andchorus the beauty of thelanguage the irony of thesituations the general nobility ofconception
  7. 7. Satyr Plays Comical play involving a chorus ofsatyrs (mythological creatures who werehalf goat, half man) Parodied the myths presented in dramas Posed fun at honored Greekinstitutions, such as religion and heroes Often included vulgarity
  8. 8. Old Comedy Do not follow the rulesof climactic drama Comedies make fun ofsociety, politics orculture Frequently, thecharacters ofcomedies wererecognizablecontemporarypersonalities
  9. 9. Aristophanes The only OldComedies that survivetoday are byAristophanes Used fantastical andimprobable plots tounderline its satire Employs a chorus withtwo unique elements: Agon: a scene with adebate between twoopposing forces Parabasis: wherechorus speaks directlyto audienceLysistrata
  10. 10. PlaywrightsAeschylus The Father of Tragedy Introduced theSecond Actor Wrote over ninetyplays, only sevenhave survived Most famous playsinclude PrometheusBound and theOresteian Trilogy
  11. 11. Sophocles Took first prize in hisfirst City of Dionysiacompetetion Accomplished actor;performed in manyof his shows Added the thirdactor Famous worksinclude Oedipus theKing and Antigone
  12. 12. Euripedes Considered amisunderstood poet Although he wrote 92plays, was ignored bythe judges of theGreek festivalbecause he did notcater to Atheniancrowd The forerunner of themodern psychologicaldramatist
  13. 13. Euripedes (cont.) Forced his characters to confrontpersonal issues Most famous plays include: The Bacchae Medea Trojan Women
  14. 14. Aristophanes Famous for hiscomedies His first survivingplay, TheAcharnians,is theworlds first anti-warcomedy In he play TheClouds, he skewersfamous philosopherSocrates
  15. 15. Aristophanes (Cont.) Favorite target was Euripedes Wrote Lysistrata twenty-one years intothe Peloponnesian War Although the play is light-hearted, it waswritten out of the poets grief over thethousands of Athenians who hadrecently lost their lives in the terribledefeat at Syracuse