Presentation on theme: "Greek Tragedy Important Points to Remember. Four Qualities of Greek Drama: 1. Greek dramas were performed for special occasions--particularly religious."— Presentation transcript:
Greek Tragedy Important Points to Remember
Four Qualities of Greek Drama: 1. Greek dramas were performed for special occasions--particularly religious festivals. Athens had four festivals worshipping Dionysus, known as Bacchus by the Romans, who was the god of wine, fertility, and rebirth.
Four Qualities of Greek Drama: 1. Greek dramas were performed for special occasions--particularly religious festivals. Athens had four festivals worshipping Dionysus, known as Bacchus by the Romans, who was the god of wine, fertility, and rebirth. 2. Greek dramas were competitive, and there were prizes awarded to the winning playwright. Ironically, Sophocles’ Oedipus, the play that Aristotle identified as the perfect example of a tragedy, apparently didn't win in 430 BC. It came in 2 nd. 3. Greek plays were choral. A chorus of men, varying in number from three to fifty, sang in interaction with the actors, who were known as thespians. 4. Greek plays were closely associated with religion, and thus were based on myth or history.
Structure of Greek Tragedy: 1.Late point of attack 2.Violence and death offstage 3.Frequent use of messengers to relate information 4.Usually continuous time of action 5.Usually single place 6.Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events 7.Focus is on psychological and ethical attributes of characters, rather than physical and sociological.
Sections of Greek Tragedy: *Prologue, which describes the situation and sets the scene (exposition) *Parados, an ode sung by the chorus as it makes its entrance *Five dramatic scenes (episodes), each followed by choral odes, an exchange of laments by the chorus and the protagonist *Exodus, the climax and conclusion
Functions of the Chorus: 1. an agent: gives advice, asks, takes part 2. establishes ethical framework, sets up standard by which action will be judged 3. ideal spectator - reacts as playwright hopes audience would 4. sets mood and heightens dramatic effects 5. adds movement, spectacle, song, and dance 6. rhythmical function - pauses / paces the action so that the audience can reflect.
The Theban Trilogy
Laius and Jocasta were king and queen of Thebes, a town in Greece. One day, they had a baby boy. An oracle prophesied that the boy would grow up and kill his father and marry his mother.
To thwart the prophecy, Laius and Jocasta decided to kill their baby. In those days, it was usual to leave an unwanted or defective baby in the wilderness. Laius and Jocasta did this. To be extra-sure, they pierced his little feet and tied them together.
A kindly shepherd found the baby. He gave the baby to a friend, who took it to Corinth, another town. (Corinth reappears in the New Testament.) The king and queen of Corinth couldn't have a baby of their own. So they adopted the foundling.
Nobody ever told little Oedipus that his mother was never pregnant. One day, after he had grown up, a drunk mentioned his being adopted. Oedipus questioned his parents, but they denied it. Oedipus visited various oracles to find out whether he was really adopted. All the oracles told him instead that he would kill his father and marry his mother.
To thwart the oracles, Oedipus left Corinth permanently. (Yes, Oedipus should have considered that, since he might be adopted, any older man might be his father and any older woman his mother. But this is a folk tale.)
Traveling the roads, Oedipus got into a traffic squabble at a place where three roads meet. In one version, there was a dispute over right- of-way on a bridge.
In those days, high rank got to go first, Oedipus identified himself as heir to the throne of Corinth, and for some reason (again, don't worry about it) Laius's people simply attacked instead of explaining that he was king of Thebes. Some versions say that the rude Laius drove over Oedipus's sore foot, making him lose his temper.
Some versions say that the rude Laius drove over Oedipus's sore foot, making him lose his temper. Anyway, he killed a stranger who (unknown to him) -- and who, of course, was King Laius.
In this folk-tale within a folk-tale, Oedipus solved the Riddle of the Sphinx.
"What animal has four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?"
Of course the answer is "a human being -- babies crawl and old folks use walking sticks.")
Because Oedipus was the new hero, he was made king. Oedipus married Laius's widow, Queen Jocasta. He ruled well, and they had four children.