A theatrical culture that flourished in ancient
Came into existence in Athens, Greece, and
was usually staged there.
Greek drama was constructed as a way of
honouring Dionysus, the Greek God of ecstasy.
Athenians spread these festivals to its
numerous allies to promote a common identity.
Staged in the amphitheatre.
represents an ethos, a social consciousness that
serves as a constant reminder of moral and
social issues at stake in the drama.
The chorus in
comedy is 24
The chorus in
overtime from 50
Lamentation or warning.
Heightening significant moments.
Encouraging and rejoicing.
Foretelling the future.
Remembering what characters had forgotten
and did not know.
Better performed by symphonies and
Choral entry song (parados)- in which the
Greeks invite the God/Gods before beginning.
First stasimon- reflects what was done in the
episodes and puts it in a larger mythological
framework (usually done in tragedies).
Exodus- the exit song, offers words of wisdom
related to the actions and outcome of the play.
Greek term for mask is persona.
Known to have been used since the time of
Aeschylus and considered to be one of the
ironic conventions of classical theatre.
Made of wood, stiffened linen, animal and
human hair, cork, leather.
Exaggerates expressions to help define the
characters being portrayed (sex, age, social
Allowed actors to play various roles or
Had greater dramatic effect in tragedies.
Were normally ugly and unsightly in comedy
and satyr plays, but life-like in tragedies.
Help to create character.
They were elaborate decorated versions of
everyday clothing of the Athenians.
Tragic actors wore buskins (raised platform
shoes) to symbolise superiority.
Comedy actors wore plain socks.
For female roles, males wore a prosterneda
(imitation of breasts) and progustreda
(stomach or belly), both wooden parts.
It depicts the downfall of a good person by a
fatal error or misjudgment, producing suffering
and insight on the part of the protagonist and
arousing pity and fear on the part of the
It should evoke pity and fear on the part of the
A tragic hero must be essentially admirable
In a true tragedy a hero’s demise must come as
a result of some persona error or decision.
Anagnorisis- the moment that the tragic hero
suddenly realises the web of fate he has entangled
Hamartia- the error of the protagonist that
eventually leads to the final event in the play. It
can be something as simple as a miscalculation or
Nemesis or retribution- the inevitable punishment
or cosmic payback for the acts of pride or over-
aspiration on the hero’s part.
Peripateia (plot reversal)- a crucial action on the
part of the protagonist that changes his situation
from seemingly secure to vulnerable.
Ancient comedy originated from the komos, a
curious spectacle in which a company of festive
males apparently sang, danced, and cavorted
rollickingly around the large phallus.
For most of its history, comedy has involved a
high-spirited celebration of human sexuality
and the triumph of eros.
In essence, a comedy is a story of the rise in
fortune of a sympathetic central character.
Comic figures are usually average or below
average in terms of moral character.
The most ridiculous characters are those who
are high-born, but self-centered instead of truly
Diazoma- horizontal walkway dividing upper and
lower sections of the theatre.
Kerkis- wedge-shaped seating section of the
Klikames- stairways in the theatron
Logeion- Greek stage.
Orchestra- space between the audience and the
stage; primary chorus performance space in Greek
Paraskenion- hellenistic projecting side
additions to the skene.
Parodos- side entrance into the orchestra of a
Skene- building behind the orchestra originally
used for storage but provided a convenient
backing for performances.