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Ancient Greek Drama.

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Presentation on theme: "Ancient Greek Drama."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ancient Greek Drama

2 Originated in Athens, Greece and reached it’s peak in the fifth century B.C.
Grew from ancient religious rituals.

3 Greek Mythology Zeus Apollo Dionysus –

4 Dionysus Son of Zeus & a mortal woman

5 Mother was killed while pregnant by Zeus‘s lightning bolt
Underwent resurrection – 2nd birth from Zeus’s thigh

6 Dionysus God of wine and fertility in nature God of common people
Thought to liberate worshippers from personal trouble

7 Dionysus was a suffering god
Ceremonies were not compatible w/ Greek tradition Rapid movements of hands & body Hysterical screaming Cycle of lamenting and rejoicing

8 Dionysus’s teachings went against Apollo’s teachings of restraint.
Apollo’s follows believed in “Nothing too much” and “Know thyself”

9 Often the worship of Dionysus was forbidden
More women worshippers than men

10 A Suffering God Lamenting mirrored god’s death
Dionysus was believed to have undergone death and resurrection Religious ceremony mirrored this Lamenting mirrored god’s death Rejoicing with wild dancing and singing mirrored god’s resurrection Often involved animal sacrifices

11 Service served as a social safety valve
After service worshippers left with peace of mind Was a type of catharsis

12 Dithyrambs Choral lyric poems in honor of Dionysus
Sung while dancing around altar Performed by 50 men dressed in goat skins (sacred animals of the gods)

13 Dithyrambs Later evolved into what we see as chorus
Goats later awarded as prizes in tragedy festivals

14 Dithyrambs Tragedy = goat song (tragoidia)
Men represented satyrs (Dionysus’s companions

15 Included stories of gods and heroes
Dithyrambs evolved Became poetic in form Included stories of gods and heroes

16 Arion (writer) was the 1st to write dithyramb as literature in poetic form

17 Choragos The leader of the chorus filled in the intervals between portions of lyric poems with stories of Dionysus

18 Peisistratus Ruler of Athens 6th Century B.C.
Gave official recognition to tragedy Festival instituted

19 Thespis Introduced first actor Hypokrites - answerer
Middle of 6th century BC Thespis Introduced first actor Hypokrites - answerer Performed between dances of the chorus Would take several roles – change costumes many times - wore mask Conversed w/ leader of chorus

20 Thespis The “Father of Drama” was born in Attica, and was the first prize winner at the Great Dionysia in 534 BC. He was an important innovator for the theatre, since he introduced such things as the independent actor, as opposed to the choir, as well as masks, make up and costumes.

21 Aeschylus added the second actor
With this addition, drama was born Possibility of conflict Chorus was reduced to 12

22 Introduced painted sets
Sophocles Added 3rd actor Stabilized chorus at 15 Introduced painted sets

23 Sophocles Prominent citizen of Athens
Generally considered the greatest of ancient Greek playwrights Known for musical, poetic, and dramatic talents General, political leader, priest

24 Career spanned 62 years At age of 17, was leader of the chorus
At age of 28, won prize and defeated leading playwright of the day Wrote 120+ plays Won 1st place 24 times for 72 plays Never won less that 2nd prize (7 times) Names of nearly 100 plays known today Seven complete plays survive today

25 Contributions Added the third actor
Fixed the number of chorus members to 15 Introduced painted scenery Made each play of trilogy separate in nature Wrote Oedipus (430 B.C.), Oedipus at Colonus (405 B.C.) and Antigone (440 B.C.) Plays always contain a moral lesson – usually a caution against pride

26 Production of the plays

27 Tragedy as an art form Reached its height in 5th century B.C.
Tragedies presented at Tragedy Festivals Originally presented in honor of god Dionysus

28 City Dionysia - Festival
Most important of 3 annual festivals Plays produced by state 5 days in March/April City Dionysia - Festival

29 Festival Structure DAY 1
Grand procession w/ statue of Dionysus carried to the theatre – sacred parade A herald would announce the competing plays DAYS 2 & Dithyrambs – Men & 5 Dithyrambs – Boys

30 Later a comedy also presented Only 3 playwrights participated
Festival Schedule DAYS Drama contest Each playwright presented three tragedies - & 1 satyr play (ridicule gods or heroes) Later a comedy also presented Only 3 playwrights participated

31 Actors were chosen by state earlier in the year
Public businesses suspended Prisoners released on bail 14,000 spectators Attendance mandatory – religious obligation Citizens often required to participate in productions

32 Spectators Men and women were segregated Originally free
When trouble over seats – fee charged State provided fund for those who couldn’t pay.

33 Playwright’s Responsibilities
Wrote plays Composed music Directed Supervised rehearsals Acted Assigned actors, chorus, musicians, etc.

34 Costs paid by wealthy citizens (honor) Was considered a public service
Required as a special tax on wealthy Shared praise Sponsor

35 Prizes Wreaths, Crowns of ivy Bull, Goat Name carved in marble

36 10 – 20 judges were chosen by government
Elaborate precautions to prevent corruption

37 Winner of the first contest
Thespis Winner of the first contest

38 Other winners Aeschylus Sophocles Euripides

39 Theater



42 Actors and Acting Hypocrites (answerer) Never more than three actors in a performance All male performers

43 Costumes and Masks Long flowing robes Colored symbolically
Often padded to add stature High boots with raised soles Props carried to identify roles

44 Larger Than Life Masks Made of linen, wood, cork
Made with human or animal hair Exaggerated features – large eyes and open mouth

45 Masks continued Used to inspire audience (larger than mortals)
Hid actor’s face from gods as they impersonated them Acted as megaphone to amplify voices Identified age, gender and rank of character Called a “persona” Choir masks much simpler

46 Chorus Entertains Points out significance of events Gives advice
Identifies themes Ideal Spectator Introduces & questions new characters Chorus Passage of time or transition between scenes Gives background information Entertains

47 Conventions of Tragedy
Unities of time, place, action Techniques of stichomythia, strophe, antistrophe, epode, and in media res Messenger who tells happenings offstage and reports acts of violence (never allowed on stage

48 Conventions continued
No violence on stage The action always takes place outdoors There were limitations of the theater No intermission No lighting, no curtain Myths were already known to audience – playwright had to rely on dramatic irony

49 Structure of tragedy Prologue Parados Episodes Stasimon Paean Exodus

50 Background of story is established Single actor
Prologue Opening scene Background of story is established Single actor

51 (known as scenes in our translation)
Episodes Counterparts of Acts 4 – 8 in a tragedy (known as scenes in our translation)

52 Stasimon Choral ode at the end of each episode
Originally a poem written to be sung Serves to separate the scenes since no curtains were present: provides the chorus’ response to the preceding scene

53 Paean A choral hymn in praise of a god
In Antigone praise to Dionysus, in whose honor the Greeks presented their plays

54 Exit of Chorus and Actors
Exodus Exit of Chorus and Actors

55 Definition of Tragedy Defined by Aristotle in 335 BC in Poetics
Told to arouse emotions of pity and fear in audience Pity because the tragic hero is not an evil man – punishment is too great Fear because of the possibility of error in ourselves Produces catharsis in audience (new understanding of gods and man) Produces catharsis in audience – come away with new understanding of gods and man Tells story of downfall (catastrophe) of tragic hero Order is restored in the end of the play

56 Tragic Hero Noble Powerful & respected Tempts fate
Has a tragic flaw in personality (usually pride) Brings extraordinary amounts of sorrow and suffering on himself Undergoes a reversal of fortune Has a moment of self awareness Dies or wishes to be dead in the end of the play

57 Basic Concepts of Greek Culture
Believed every person’s life ruled by predetermined fate – a natural force set in motion by the gods and one that could not be altered Believed every person’s fate held in store a personal allotment of unavoidable misery Believed man possessed a certain freedom of will and action and could live out his life with dignity, bringing upon himself no more than his allotted share of grief

58 Basic concepts of Greek Culture continued
Believed man was inferior to the gods because he was mortal and fallible Believed man was to be punished if he defied the gods

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