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Δρᾶμα Drama: from Greek words meaning "to do" or "to act."

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Presentation on theme: "Δρᾶμα Drama: from Greek words meaning "to do" or "to act.""— Presentation transcript:

1 δρᾶμα Drama: from Greek words meaning "to do" or "to act."

2 Greek Theater Began as part of a religious ritual and gradually progressed into a dramatic form that included music, masks, costumes and actors Theater was used as part of religious services to celebrate and honor the gods, especially Dionysus and Zeus for the purpose of ethical and moral improvement of the spectators and to ensure the spiritual survival of the community Spring festivals were important; people wanted to celebrate the fact that what had been dead was now coming to life

3 Tragedy Based on significant worldly things such as love, loss, pride, the abuse of power, a search for meaning or stories about ‘gods and men.’ Tragic Hero Macbeth, Oedipus, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, John Proctor (we’ll meet him soon in The Crucible), Winston Smith (remember him?), Odysseus, Antigone, Othello. . . Bill Clinton? Tiger Woods? Jesse James?

4 Tragic Hero The hero is flawed with one or more weaknesses.
Hubris: Greek word for excessive pride or arrogance Humartia: Greek word for error in judgment, especially resulting from a defect in the character of a tragic hero; the tragic flaw Throughout the drama, the hero struggles to achieve his objectives, which involves overcoming obstacles placed in his path. The hero is normally defeated and as a result of this, the play ends in unfortunate circumstances.

5 Tragedy - Etymology Sacrifice a goat - prayer for fertility, pour blood on the land goat = tragos in Greek tragedy comes from the word “song of the goat” tragedy begins to stand for serious song People drank the blood of the goat in order to become fertile later they drank wine

6 Introducing the God of Drama: DIONYSUS!
Dionysus, also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus, was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility. He is also the patron god of the Greek stage.

7 Festival of Dionysus The people of Athens held an annual week-long fertility festival in March devoted to the god Dionysus men would dress up in rough goat skins (goats were thought to be sexually potent) men gorged themselves on wine they strutted about, sang and chanted to welcome Dionysus one simple rule: you had to be drunk

8 Festival of Dionysus Began as random, frenzied improvisations of song and dance (remember the week-long wine fest) These religious rites were eventually written down in verse form later took on a more structured format This is how the art of the ‘play’ was formed. People sat on hillsides to watch; seats were eventually built


10 Greek Dramatists Drama was highly respected because it was part of religion. Authors were high-ranking citizens.

11 Greek Dramatists Thespis Father of drama (6th c. BC)
introduced first actor (which makes dialogue!) before Thespis, Greek theatre was performed entirely by a chorus protagonist Thespis was the first performer to step away from the chorus and deliver lines to them, introducing the concept of dialogue. he is also credited with inventing the theatrical mask. And the winner is Thespis the only actor in the play!

12 How’d he do it? Thespis amazed the audience by leaping on the back of a wooden cart and reciting poetry. Last tidbit: It is his name with which the dramatic arts are associated in the word "Thespian".

13 Greek Dramatists Aeschylus (525-426 BC)
added second actor antagonist wrote trilogies on unified themes Legend has it that Aeschylus met his death when a Gypaetus barbatus mistook his bald head for a rock and dropped a tortoise on it.

14 Greek Dramatists Sophocles (496 – 406 BC) added third actor
fixed number of chorus to 15 introduced painted scenery made each play in the trilogy separate in nature his plays are more about the relation between humans rather than between humans and gods

15 In 468 BC Sophocles defeated Aeschylus the great tragic poet in a dramatic competition.

16 Greek Dramatists Euripides (486 – 406 BC)
reduced participation of chorus in main action his plays include ordinary people ie: women and slaves he showed the reality of war and he criticized religion relied on heavy prologues and “deux ex machina” endings His plays are more exuberant than those of Sophocles and Aeschylus; often, he has the heroes and heroines face difficult choices, which are finally solved by the sudden appearance of a god (deus ex machina). The homely one

17 Structure of the Greek Theater
Skene -- wooden building with three doors through which actors made their entrances and exits Theatron -- “seeing place” where audience sat Orchestra -- circular dancing place of the chorus; where performance is held Parados -- chorus marching in from the left or right Thymele -- altar to Dionysus on which sacrifices were made, and which was sometimes used as a stage prop Proscenium -- level area in front of the skene on which most of the plays action took place


19 Proskenion


21 Tragedy Usually followed a formula set down by Aristotle
demanded that tragedy must be formal and of great moral significance for the Greek people Conflict was an essential ingredient Aristotle saw tragedy in drama as a benefit to society by the end of a play the audience would have been made to release a whole range of healthy human emotions cleansing experience

22 Tragedy serves the purpose of catharsis – purging the soul of fear and pity.
- Aristotle

23 MECHANICS OF GREEK DRAMA (items in pink are also limitations of the theater)
Scenes of the drama were always outdoors no lighting There was no violence on stage There was “unity” in plot Action – simple plot Time – single day Place – one scene throughout There were no curtains or intermissions. Continuous presence of chorus “on stage” Messenger tells news happening away from scene reports acts of violence not allowed to be seen

24 Structure of Greek Tragedies
Prologue-- opening scene (introduction) Parados – entrance of chorus First, second, third and fourth episode episode -- act or scene Choral odes (end of each episode) Exodos -- final action of the play (recessional of chorus)

25 Structure of Greek Tragedies
Choral ode -- lyric sung by the chorus which develops the importance of the action Strophe (in Greek means turn)-- a turning, right to left, by chorus Antistrophe (in Greek means turn back)-- a turning, left to right, by chorus Sophocles may have split them into two groups, so that it was as if one part of the Chorus was conversing with the other Perhaps this represents the endless irresolvable debates for which Greek tragedy is famous??? Epode -- the part of a lyric ode following the strophe and antistrophe

26 Parts of a Greek Tragedy
Contest (Conflict between main characters) Sacrificial death Messenger’s speech Lamentation Recognition scene Celebration of the gods

27 ACTORS Actor and dramatist originally the same – playwright took leading role Remember Thespis? All male Costumes and masks Long, flowing robes – colored symbolically High boots, often with raised soles Larger than life masks Made of linen, wood, cork Identified age, gender, emotion Exaggerated features – large eyes, open mouth

28 Chorus Function Choragos Sets overall mood and expresses theme
Adds beauty (theatrical effectiveness) through song and dance Gives background information Divides action – breaks play into scenes Usually fifteen members Adds color, movement, spectacle Offers reflections on events Choragos Chorus leader Questions, advises, expresses opinion


30 Chorus in Antigone Traditional costume Chorus

31 Oedipus as told by vegetables

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