Greek Drama Powerpoint2


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Greek Drama Powerpoint2

  1. 1. Greek Drama<br />An Introduction<br />
  2. 2. Origins <br />Where?<br />the eastern Mediterranean<br />When?<br />6th and 5th centuries, B.C.<br />
  3. 3. The Dionysus Cult<br />Greek drama originates from the Greek god Dionysus, the god of the vine (and of wine, theater, and dance).<br />Every fall, with the coming of the cold, Dionysus died…<br />But he was resurrected again each spring!<br />This cycle assured the Greeks that death does not end it all: his death and rebirth showed them that the soul lives on forever<br />
  4. 4. The Festival of Dionysia<br />The most famous and popular public festival<br />4-5 days long – business was suspended, prisoners let out of jail on bail, foreign heads of state were honored, etc.<br />When: End of March/early April<br />
  5. 5. began as choral songs about the death and resurrection of Dionysus<br />became a theatrical contest<br />3 dramatists competed over a 3-day duration<br />judged by a panel of 10 elected judges<br />subject of plays: ancient myth and heroes, stories the audience knew<br />
  6. 6. The Playwrights:<br />Thespis, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Eruipides<br />
  7. 7. Thespis<br />invented “tragedy”<br />originally, the genre consisted of dance accompanied by songs sung/chanted by a 50-member Chorus<br />“invented” the art of acting by having a member of the Chorus step out of the Chorus to become a myth character or messenger – this person conversed with the Chorus<br />introduced dialogue<br />
  8. 8. Aeschylus<br />“invented” the second actor<br />allowed for dramatic conflict, more than one point of view<br />wrote trilogies on unified themes<br />
  9. 9. Sophocles<br />added a 3rd actor<br />allowed the complicated relationships between the characters to dominate the plays<br />reduced the size of the Chorus from 50 to 15<br />reduced the role of the Chorus from active participant to commentator<br />
  10. 10. wrote 123 plays (only 7 survive today)<br />first competed in the Dionysia theater contest at age 27 – beat Aeschylus to win<br />won the contest 18 or 24 times<br />died in 406 B.C., at age 90!<br />plays were trilogies, but each could stand alone<br />added painted scenery<br />
  11. 11. Euripides<br />reduced the Chorus’ role even further<br />relied heavily on prologues and mechene endings (flying machines so characters could fly in and out)<br />known for his portrayal of women<br />characters tend to speak and act like the people of the time – therefore his plays seem more “modern”<br />
  12. 12. Conventions of the Theater<br />plays only performed during the daytime<br />how did they indicate the time of day??<br /> verbal reference (e.g., “good afternoon!”)<br /> scenery<br /> props (e.g., torches might suggest night)<br />the large outdoor theaters could seat 15,000 spectators!<br />
  13. 13. most of a play’s action was set outdoors<br />no curtains<br />no intermissions, just a continuous flow of action<br />the Chorus was always on stage with the actors<br />
  14. 14. Actors and Acting<br />originally, the playwright was the actor<br />leading role: protagonist<br />second actor: deuteragonist<br />third actor: triagonist<br />all roles were played by men<br />Rule of Three: the play is limited to 3 actors (each played multiple character roles) <br />the number of extras allowed was unlimited and didn’t break the Rule of Three<br />
  15. 15. The Messenger<br />Reported off-stage events and violence not able to be seen<br />Why? Violence was too large-scale to reproduce on stage; no one could die because the actor was needed for a later role!<br />Often the Messenger’s speeches contained the play’s best writing – did the playwrights prefer writing to staging?<br />
  16. 16. Costumes<br />long, flowing robes<br />high boots, often with raised soles<br />larger-than-life masks made of linen, wood, or cork<br />masks identified age, gender, and emotion<br />masks had exaggerated features so the audience could see more easily<br />Thespis whitened the face<br />Acschylus added color to the face<br />
  17. 17. Masks<br />Middle-aged man with eyebrows meeting in the center, wrinkled forehead and open mouth. Tragic Mask. 4th Century B.C.<br />
  18. 18. The Three Unities<br />Unity of Action<br />The events of the play center around one single action. There are no subplots.<br />Unity of Place<br />The events of the play are set in one unchanging scene.<br />Unity of Time<br />The timeframe of the events of the play are limited to a 24-hour period. Previous events or background information has to be recounted on the stage.<br />
  19. 19. The Chorus<br />originally, told the entire story<br />made up the story’s background characters (e.g., town elders, maidens, war captives)<br />Sophocles reduced from 50 to 15 members<br />Despite reduced numbers, was still an important part of the play <br />
  20. 20. Functions of the Chorus<br />comment on the action/ offer approval or criticism<br />ask questions<br />give advice or warnings<br />supply background information<br />provide lyrical relief (perhaps relieve the tension of a highly emotional scene)<br />guide the audience’s emotions (like a movie soundtrack)<br />maintain a sense of ceremony and ritual<br />serve as an emotional bridge between audience and actors<br />unite the music, dance, and speech components<br />separate the scenes/ divide the action into episodes<br />
  21. 21. Choral Terminology<br />Prologue: the part before the Chorus enters; presents background information to situate the conflict<br />Parodos: the entrance song of the Chorus<br />Ode: a song sung by the Chorus between episodes (scenes)<br />Epode: the final stanza in some odes<br />Paean: the concluding song, a song of thanksgiving to Dionysus<br />Exodus: the final exiting scene<br />Choragos: the Choral Leader; might dialogue with the Chorus but technically wasn’t a 4th actor<br />
  22. 22. The Theater<br />In the 5th Century, the stage was a simple rectangular structure of timber. The benches were also made of wood except for special stone seats for priests and officials.<br />The theater was rebuilt of stone in the 4th Century.<br />By the 1st Century, the stage was flanked by Doric columns and a second floor was added<br />
  23. 23. The Theater<br />A: Theatron<br />This is where the audience sat – men in the front and women in the back<br />There were 63 rows of limestone benches<br />The front row consisted of 67 marble thrones for Festival officials and important priests<br />The grandest throne, in the center, was reserved for the Priest of Dionysos. The seat has iron claw feat on either side. The Priest was shaded from the sun by a canopy. <br />B: Orchestra<br />This was a circular dancing area where the actors and Chorus performed<br />Later this became a semi-circle as the Chorus lost its importance<br />
  24. 24. C: Thymele<br />This was an altar to Dionysus set in the center of the orchestra<br />Originally, a goat was sacrificed here (“tragedy” in Greek means “goat song”)<br />D: Skene<br />This building behind the stage was used as a dressing room<br />The reliefs at the rear of the stage, now mostly headless, depict the exploits of Dionysus<br />E: Proskenion<br />The façade of the Skene served as the scenery/backdrop of the play (skene = scenery)<br />F: Parodos<br />Located on either side of the stage, these entrances to the theater were used by the Chorus<br />
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  27. 27. What is Tragedy?<br />“Any serious and dignified drama that describes a conflict between the hero (protagonist) and a superior force (destiny, chance, society, gods) and reaches a sorrowful conclusion that arouses pity or fear in the audience.”<br /> -Aristotle, a Greek philosopher<br />
  28. 28. Important Terms Associated with Tragedy<br />Anagnorisis(Recognition)<br />the hero’s change from ignorance to knowledge – he learns truths about the human condition<br />Peripeteia<br />a reversal of fortune; a change of a situation to its opposite, for example, from happiness to misery<br />Catharsis<br />a relieving of emotional tension, typically pity or fear, in response to watching a tragedy unfold and resolve<br />*the audience is cleansed of this tension so as to face life with less pity or fear or to have more control over these emotions because the tragedy has taught them greater understanding<br />
  29. 29. The Tragic Hero<br />A tragic hero is a person who experiences a fall because of a flaw in his character.<br />A tragic hero<br />is noble in stature, well-known/famous, or prosperous (must have a lofty position to “fall” from)<br />is neither completely virtuous nor completely villainous (has both positive and negative qualities, does both good and bad deeds)<br />
  30. 30. The Tragic Hero, Cont.<br />has free choice – fate may be involved, but the tragic hero must choose one course of action over another<br />has a punishment that exceeds the crime (there is a sense of injustice that the tragic hero didn’t deserve what he got)<br />has increased awareness or enlightenment – comes to understand what went wrong, what was really going on, how he brought about his own downfall<br />has Hamartia, or a tragic flaw – some flaw or defect in his personality brings about his downfall<br />Hubris, or arrogant, excessive pride, is a common tragic flaw.<br />
  31. 31. The Oedipus Trilogy<br />Antigone written 442 B.C. <br />Oedipus Rex written 430 B.C.<br />Oedipus at Colonus written 401 B.C. (produced after Sophocles’ death)<br />This Theban Cycle contains 3 stories about the House of Laius.<br />Chronologically, Antigone is the last of the cycle.<br />