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The Eumenides bent on gender focused on justice international touchstone.

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1 The Eumenides bent on gender focused on justice international touchstone

2 Temple of Dionysius, birthplace of Western drama

3 Aristotle, from The Poetics “Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions.... Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality— namely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Melody “

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5 theater history theater history c. 625 choruses are produced, transferred to Dionysius 25 years later : festival of the Greater Dionysia (Athens) 525 Aeschylus is born; his first dramatic competition is when he is 25 or 26; he does not win one until 484 when he is almost 40. The Oresteia: 458; he dies 2 years later, in 456. To get a sense of time here, Socrates dies in 399

6 Theaters: note basic structure

7 Tragedies: basic structure Prologue: before chorus appears Parados: chorus sings as it enters orchestra, dances First Episode…characters and chorus talk First Stasimon…chorus dances & sings this, puts events in larger framework continues alternating these until continues alternating these until Exodus: chorus sings, words of wisdom

8 Ruins of Temple of Apollo, Delphi

9 Theatre and Temple at Delphi

10 The stage set-up Actors performed on three levels: in the orchestra, on the stage, and on the roof of the skene. In the center of the orchestra was the altar of Dionysus The skene (literally, “tent” or “hut”) served as the dressing room of the actors.Actors performed on three levels: in the orchestra, on the stage, and on the roof of the skene. In the center of the orchestra was the altar of Dionysus The skene (literally, “tent” or “hut”) served as the dressing room of the actors. The façade of the building, the proscenium, carried the scenery of the play which usually represented the front of a palace or a temple with three doorways, with columns, pediments, and statues.The façade of the building, the proscenium, carried the scenery of the play which usually represented the front of a palace or a temple with three doorways, with columns, pediments, and statues. There was no stage curtain. By mid-5th century B.C., painted scenery, attributed to Sophocles, was fully established: painted draperies or boards attached to the wall of the skene.There was no stage curtain. By mid-5th century B.C., painted scenery, attributed to Sophocles, was fully established: painted draperies or boards attached to the wall of the skene.

11 Part 1 of Eumenides Scenery: temple of Apollo at Delphi, with central door of stage as main entrance, surrounded by statues of gods Time: Orestes has just arrived from Argos, pursued by the Furies (Erinyes). Apollo stands with him

12 Staging of Eumenides, 2 Part 2: Temple of Pallas Athene on thePart 2: Temple of Pallas Athene on the Areopagus (Mars’ Hill; pre-classical: Council of elders; classical: chief homicide court; temple of Furies: a sanctuary)

13 Staging of Agamemnon In the Agamemnon, the skene is dressed to look like the Palace at Argos. Who enters the performance area through the double doors of the skene? Clytemnestra. Who is in charge? Clytemnestra.In the Agamemnon, the skene is dressed to look like the Palace at Argos. Who enters the performance area through the double doors of the skene? Clytemnestra. Who is in charge? Clytemnestra. Agamemnon, the King, arrives home after the war, but enters directly into the orchestra (via the parodos) in his chariot and joins the multitude outside the royal house, like any other citizen of the city (represented by the chorus, already in that space) - a clear signal that he doesn’t hold the upper hand in his own house.Agamemnon, the King, arrives home after the war, but enters directly into the orchestra (via the parodos) in his chariot and joins the multitude outside the royal house, like any other citizen of the city (represented by the chorus, already in that space) - a clear signal that he doesn’t hold the upper hand in his own house.

14 Agamemnon, 2 Agamemnon eventually does pass through the doors of the skene - and the next time we see him, he is being wheeled out through those doors again as a corpse. After the murders of Cassandra & Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus make a final appearance, passing through the double doors of the skene one more time to appear before the people of Argos as their King and Queen. This scene is replayed in reverse in The Libation BearersAgamemnon eventually does pass through the doors of the skene - and the next time we see him, he is being wheeled out through those doors again as a corpse. After the murders of Cassandra & Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus make a final appearance, passing through the double doors of the skene one more time to appear before the people of Argos as their King and Queen. This scene is replayed in reverse in The Libation Bearers people.hsc.edu/drjclassics/lectures/theater/ancient_greek_ theater.shtmpeople.hsc.edu/drjclassics/lectures/theater/ancient_greek_ theater.shtm

15 In costume

16 Political goals of Eumenides Assumed by most classical scholars of 19 th and early 20 th century to be an exaltation of Athens and the Athenian demos (see i.e. by most classical scholars of 19 th and early 20 th century to be an exaltation of Athens and the Athenian demos (see i.e. The play gives sanctuary to the Furies, who become the Eumenides: older, vengeful justice is tempered by mercy, which is now built into the Athenian system of justiceThe play gives sanctuary to the Furies, who become the Eumenides: older, vengeful justice is tempered by mercy, which is now built into the Athenian system of justice

17 Political and moral choices One moral theme of the trilogy is seen in the opening chorus with their omen, the two eagles who kill the pregnant hare: they echo the sacrifice of innocent youth by powerOne moral theme of the trilogy is seen in the opening chorus with their omen, the two eagles who kill the pregnant hare: they echo the sacrifice of innocent youth by power Tracing the imagery of the play shows the rise and the fall of light, from the watchtowers in A to the cloaks in ETracing the imagery of the play shows the rise and the fall of light, from the watchtowers in A to the cloaks in E Gender becomes a major issue in death and choicesGender becomes a major issue in death and choices

18 Hubris – actions that shame victim and perpetrator through pride and arrogance Hamartia – the tragic flaw

19 Modern interpretations “for contemporary artists…[classical] texts are certainly neither dead nor viewed as the property of dead white males….Despite debate over the Western canon in US universities, Rita Dove…. poet laureate” published an adaptation of Oedipus Rex set in pre-civil-war South. An Alaskan play included the shaman Tiresias [Foley 1999]

20 Foley: TransAmPhilAssn 129:1-12 Eastern theater traditions, with mask, dance, ritual and poetry, “bring to life those aspects of ancient drama that are alien to the tradition of Western 19 th c realism” ( Foley 2) -- because Greek tragedy has imaginary past, amenable to change of venue, multiracial casting, political without being topical: often used to stage political protestEastern theater traditions, with mask, dance, ritual and poetry, “bring to life those aspects of ancient drama that are alien to the tradition of Western 19 th c realism” ( Foley 2) -- because Greek tragedy has imaginary past, amenable to change of venue, multiracial casting, political without being topical: often used to stage political protest

21 World War II and Sartre’s The Flies The French Existentialist philosopher put on this play in 1943; since many feel the play was in reference to the French Occupation, it is often so staged. In this interpretation, Orestes must create the meaning of his own existence and repudiates theThe French Existentialist philosopher put on this play in 1943; since many feel the play was in reference to the French Occupation, it is often so staged. In this interpretation, Orestes must create the meaning of his own existence and repudiates the injustice of Zeus; he takes on the injustice of Zeus; he takes on the guilt of his people, and leaves guilt of his people, and leaves

22 Molora: adapting Greek tragedy for South African stage by Jael Farber, 2004: uses the Oresteia as a metaphor for the brutal horrors of Apartheid, to break the cycle of violence by Jael Farber, 2004: uses the Oresteia as a metaphor for the brutal horrors of Apartheid, to break the cycle of violence ch?v=OaLnLckySio ch?v=OaLnLckySio

23 Wole Soyinka’s chorus of village women From Death and the King’s horseman Nobel Prize winner, play wins plaudits: “antique tragedy with the cultic sacrificial death as theme”

24 Other recent versions Japanese Orestes: has been played 3 times in the last decade by Tatsuya Fujiwaru, who expands the relationship of O with Electra An all-male version, British: e=PlayList&p=718F4214E345891D&index=8 e=PlayList&p=718F4214E345891D&index=8 e=PlayList&p=718F4214E345891D&index=8 Chinese opera, experimental: SIMS trilogy:

25 The force that is Electra Eugene O’Neill’s play cycle premiered in 1931; currently playing off-Broadway. It is reset as a family of a Northern General in the American Civil War. It includes murder, adultery, incest, revenge and the NY Times hates this revival. O’Neill’s cycle has also been a movie, a miniseries and an opera.

26 Jill Scott’s Electra after Freud

27 Electra’s choices re-evaluated Chooses anger, revenge over sorrow Orchestrates matricide: violent, aggressive Causes us to re-evaluate Freud and the focus on the Oedipal model Gives rise to multiple new references and metaphors: i.e. Plath about “Daddy” wM wM

28 Changing roles of men and women Rise of powerful female protagonists in late 19 th and early 20 th C plays, books – see Ibsen and others.Rise of powerful female protagonists in late 19 th and early 20 th C plays, books – see Ibsen and others. New debates on gender and subjectivityNew debates on gender and subjectivity Just as with the whole Oresteia, just as with the focus on Orestes, Electra has been appropriated as metaphor for making sense of traumaJust as with the whole Oresteia, just as with the focus on Orestes, Electra has been appropriated as metaphor for making sense of trauma

29 Toni Morrison’s Jazz Even more than Beloved, Jazz may be the work in which Morrison most draws on the Greeks to reintepret barbarism, love, death and sacrifice. Carolyn Jones (1997; 31) says Morrison asks in Jazz the questions of Aeschylus: how to break the cycle, how to escape retribution, victimhood, how to claim a recovered, rememoried self

30 changes changes A myth becomes a Play Becomes a metaphor Becomes another work Of art Becomes a Myth becomes a


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