What is social commentary? How are we exposed to social commentary? How do the arts provide vehicles for social commentary?
Greece’s history is one of a great adventure of the human mind. Advocated self-knowledge Art, science, philosophy The passionate search for the truth began with the Greeks.
Predominant role of morality Awakening to the voice of the conscience Justice, sobriety, selflessness, kindness, moral maturity Never expected to be listened to
Student of Socrates: taught a spirit of absolute devotion to the truth Interest in father-son relationships Reason and wisdom should govern Apparent world vs unseen world
Student of Plato Saw philosophy as scientific study Left works on logic, ethics and aesthetics Opened broad avenues in history and science “Natural philosophy” examined the phenomena of the natural world which today would include biology, physics and other natural sciences
Deeply religious character of the Greeks Intensely aware of their dependence on the gods The hero of Greek tragedy often breaks the bond and feels himself to be his own master which leads to his downfall
Nothing of importance was attempted without cultic sacrifice Lived in a world pervaded by a sacred atmosphere Viewed the sea, lightning, thunder, seasons, rivers, trees, and animals as sacred and personified them as gods
Art and literature were linked to religion These grew out of the cult of the gods Greek sculpture displayed the gracefulness of movement – they were at home with their own bodies
In the beginning there was void (chaos/emptiness), and from the void, came Earth and Eros (desire) Disorder to order Whereas the Hebrew God creates from nothing, the Greek god creates from void Hebrew God created the universe: the universe created the Greek gods
At its height during the 5 th Century B.C. The great Athenian tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides emerged during this era Plays based on traditional myths employing well known plots and characters
Interpreted the stories to express their individual conception of man involved in the struggle to understand himself, his fate and his place in human society and the universe.
Tragedy festivals were held at which the dramatists competed for prizes Most important honored Dionysus, god of vegetation (especially the vine) 3 days; dramatists each offered 3 tragedies and a satyr play Satyr plays were often obscene and grotesque but were meant to offer comic relief; only 2 remain
A jury awarded prizes to the authors and their sponsors Playwrights often directed and sometimes acted in their own plays Aeschylus, father of tragedy; 7 complete tragedies survive. Yearly favorite; won 12 Sophocles 100 plays, 7 complete tragedies survive; won 18-20 1 st place prizes Euripides only five wins
Expected to fulfill an educational function Responsible for shedding light on the dark recesses of human conscience and the mysteries and tragic side of human destiny Showed that even great man can fall prey to tragic situations