2 Ancient Greek TheatreOriginated as part of a festival to the god Dionysus (the Dionysia festival)Evolved from single performers reciting poems into three actors + a chorusFormed the basis for modern drama
3 Ancient Greek TheatreEach play would be performed by, at most, three actorsActors wore masks to identify them with the personage they portrayed; as well as to help project their voicesActors were accompanied by a chorus who sang
4 Ancient Greek TheatreTheatre sessions were a competition where, at the end of ten days, a winner would be announcedKnown playwrights:Aeschylus: Added a second character and dialogSophocles: Used three characters and created more realistic dramatic scenesEuripides: Created psychologically complex charactersThespis: Replaced the chorus with one character who stepped forward from the chorus to narrate or tell the story
5 Sophocles Developed form of tragedy to a high art Plays focused on humans under the influence of the godsStories taught moral and social lessonsOedipus CycleTold the story of a great king who violated the rules of the gods (and society)
6 Characteristics of the Buildings Built on a large scale to accommodate large audiences (up to 14,000 people)Mathematics played a large role in the construction of these theatres - acoustics had to be such that actors' voices could be heard throughout the theatre, including the very top row of seats
7 Characteristics of the Buildings Theatron: (literally, “viewing space”) where the spectators sat. Usually part of a hillside overlooking the orchestra.Orchestra: (literally, “dancing space”) a circular area where the chorus would dance, sing and interact with the actors on the stage near the skene.Skene: backdrop or curtain where actors changed costumes and deaths took place (it was considered inappropriate to show deaths to the audience). The skene grew larger as interest in settings and backdrops grewParodos: (literally, “passageways”) the paths by which the chorus and some actors made their entrances and exits
8 Scenic ElementsMachina: a crane that gave the impression of a flying actor (thus, deus ex machina).Ekkyklema: a wheeled wagon used to bring dead characters into view for the audienceTrap doors or similar openings in the ground to lift people onto the stagePinakes: pictures hung into the scene to show a scene's sceneryThyromata: more complex pictures built into the second-level scene (3rd level from ground)
9 Masks Persona One of the iconic conventions of classical Greek theatre All twelve members of the chorus wear the same mask because they are considered to be representing one characterClassical masks were able to bring the characters' face closer to the audience, especially since they had intensely over-exaggerated facial features and expressionsEnabled an actor to appear and reappear in several different roles, thus preventing the audience from identifying the actor to one specific character
10 TragedyA form of art based on human suffering that causes pity (pathos) and fear within the spectators. This results in a catharsis (emotional cleansing) or healing for the audience through their experience of these emotions in response to the suffering of the characters in the drama
11 Elements of TragedyChorus: a group of 12 or 15 minor actors. Their purpose is to:offer a variety of background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance.comment on themesexpress to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their hidden fears or secrets
12 Elements of TragedyTragic Hero: the main character in a tragedy. The modern use of the term usually involves the notion that such a hero makes an error in his or her actions that leads to his or her downfall or flaw.The hero discovers that his downfall is the inevitable result of his own actions, not by things happening to himA tragic hero is often of noble birth, or rises to noble standingThe suffering of the hero is meaningful, because although it is a result of the hero's own actions, it is not totally deserved and may be cruelly disproportionate.
13 Elements of Tragedy Tragic Flaw: Hamartia: An imbedded flaw in the hero’s character that leads to tragic consequencesExamples of tragic flaw:Hubris (excessive pride) – the opposite of Arete (pursuit of excellence)StubbornnessLack of knowledgeHamartia:A tragic error committed by the hero (often caused by their tragic flaw) that leads to the hero’s downfallIt is the starting point of a causally connected train of events ending in disaster.Often, the hero believes he is choosing to do good, but in doing so, chooses something that will lead to unhappiness
14 Elements of Tragedy Construction of Drama: Prologue Parados Episodia Establishes the dramatic situation; precedes the entrance of the chorusParadosThe beginning processional hymn by the chorus; provides expositionEpisodiaThe main action of the play; characters engage in dialogue; equivalent of a modern “act”StasimonA brief interlude where the chorus makes comment on the episodeExodosThe chorus’ ending processional ode
15 Elements of Tragedy Deus ex machina from deus (“a god”) + ex (“from”) + machina (“a device, a scaffolding, an artifice”)In Greek tragedy, a device where a machine is used to bring actors playing gods onto the stageGenerally, a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.
16 Elements of Tragedy Deus ex machina The Greek tragedian Euripides is often criticized for his frequent use of the deus ex machina. More than half of Euripides's extant tragedies employ a deus ex machina in their resolution. A frequently cited example is Euripides' Medea in which the deus ex machina, a dragon-drawn chariot sent by the Sun-God, is used to convey his granddaughter Medea, who has just committed murder and infanticide, away from her husband Jason to the safety and civilization of Athens.
17 Elements of Tragedy Anagnoresis Perepeteia Apotheosis The moment of recognition. The protagonist of a tragedy recognizes or has it revealed to him that his trouble is his own fault.PerepeteiaA reversal of fate (from good to bad, usually). Peripeteia is, therefore, the turning point in Greek tragedy.ApotheosisWhen a tragic hero achieves a god-like status, usually after death.