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Intro to Tragedy


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Intro to Tragedy

  1. 1. The Greek Tragic Theater
  2. 2. Tragedy <ul><li>A literary composition in which a central character suffers some serious misfortune. This misfortune is not accidental, but is a logical result of the character’s actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Tragedy stresses the vulnerability of human beings whose suffering is brought on by a combination of human and divine actions, but is generally undeserved with regard to its harshness. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Aristotle’s “Poetics” <ul><li>Tragedy excites pity and fear </li></ul><ul><li>Character between two extremes of good and evil is needed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Of high renown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Misfortune brought about by some error or frailty (“tragic flaw”) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Oedipus’ “Family Tree”
  5. 5. Theater of Dionysos today (ruins c. 86BCE), Lycurgos
  6. 6. Artist’s Rendition of the Theater of Dionysos, 4 th century BCE. Est. capacity: 17,000
  7. 7. When and Why <ul><li>C. 5 th century BCE, at festivals throughout the year </li></ul><ul><li>Main one in Athens: festival in honor of Dionysos </li></ul><ul><li>Used to demonstrate Athens’ political and military power </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation of tribute </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Where <ul><li>Major festival at Athens </li></ul><ul><li>Other places had festivals </li></ul><ul><li>Most cities had a place for performances of plays </li></ul>
  9. 9. Pompeii
  10. 10. Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA
  11. 11. Who: Playwright <ul><li>Three playwrights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sophocles (24) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aeschylus (13) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Euripides (5) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wrote trilogies of three tragic plays and one satyr play </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only surviving trilogy: Oresteia </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. What <ul><li>Stories from the mythology of Greece </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agammemnon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ajax </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oedipus the King </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Bacchae </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Who: The Actors <ul><li>Actors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No more than three actors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Protagonist, deuteragonist, tritagonist </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Male </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Masks / Costumes </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Who: The Chorus <ul><li>12-15 young men </li></ul><ul><li>Amateurs </li></ul><ul><li>Recruited, trained, and paid for by a wealthy citizen named as that year’s choregos (producer) </li></ul><ul><li>Sang and danced </li></ul>
  15. 15. Key physical components of the theater <ul><li>Orchestra </li></ul><ul><li>skene </li></ul><ul><li>mechane </li></ul><ul><li>ekkyklema </li></ul>
  16. 17. Five “W”s of Greek Tragedy <ul><li>Who </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional actors (2-3) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amateur chorus (12-15) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Playwright </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What </li></ul><ul><ul><li>stories from mythology </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outdoor theaters in Athens and other places </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When </li></ul><ul><ul><li>C. 5 th century BCE, at festivals throughout the year </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both a religious festival and a display of cultural and political power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not “entertainment”, but certainly entertaining </li></ul></ul>