Greek Tragedy

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Greek Tragedy

  1. 1. Greek Tragedy The father of Modern Western Drama
  2. 2. What is Drama? <ul><li>Drama comes from a Greek word meaning “action” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In Greek Theater, there are plays about two kinds of action: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1. Tragedy : where violent action leads to misfortune for the main characters. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2. Comedy : Where the main characters usually “Get Action” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Aristotle <ul><li>Aristotle found something gracefully greek in Drama </li></ul><ul><li>He defined it as “ Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions. . . . Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality, n a mely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Melody </li></ul>
  4. 4. Sophocles <ul><li>The playwright preceded Aristotle and inspired his defintion of drama </li></ul><ul><li>Sophocles, like most greeks liked order </li></ul><ul><li>As a result, his plays are organized into a definite structure. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Sophoclean Structure <ul><li>Prologue and prosis- introduced by main character </li></ul><ul><li>Four episodes followed by four staisimon or Choral Odes </li></ul><ul><li>Concludes with Exodus </li></ul><ul><li>They follow the arc of the traditional story triangle </li></ul>
  6. 6. How did drama get Started? <ul><li>They started as a religious Ceremony to honor the God Dionysis. </li></ul><ul><li>Why dionysis? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Because as the god of wine and feast, the drunken revelries that ensued in his worship allowed people to act as people other than themselves: hence, he became the god of acting as well. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The Chorus <ul><li>Musical theater owes much to sophocles who incorporated a chorus into his shows. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>After the major action, the chorus would perform a song or chant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They served as the voice of reason, always providing good advice that the main tragic heroes mostly never took. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>While actors would travel from city to city, the chorus was usually always made up of citizens of the town where they play was performed. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Religious climate during Sophocles time <ul><li>Most know that the greeks revered the gods, but during sophocles’s time, a group called the sophists insisted that gods were not real and that fate didn’t drive human affairs and suffering; people did. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Tragedy and Free will <ul><li>As a result, tragedy, they insisted was resultant of people making choices; therefore there was no tragedy without free will. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus the idea of a tragic hero was born- a hero who makes a mistake unknowingly and brings about his own downfall due to a tragic flaw or hamartia. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reversal in Greek Lit <ul><li>Greeks loved the wheel of fortune and how one could be on top of the world one moment and on the bottom at another. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus, they loved to employ ideas of parepetia- or reversal of intention </li></ul><ul><li>And catastrophe-or reversal of fortune. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Perepetia <ul><li>Oedipus the king demonstrates a number of instances of role reversal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For one, he runs away from his adoptive parents to avoide a certain fate; yet that decision only allows him to fulfill it. It wasn’t his intention. </li></ul></ul>

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