Presentation on theme: "Ancient Greece Mr. Jacques -- Drama. Greek Mythology Write a list of the Greek Gods that you know about (ex: Aphrodite – Goddess of Love) Who was Homer?"— Presentation transcript:
Greek Mythology Write a list of the Greek Gods that you know about (ex: Aphrodite – Goddess of Love) Who was Homer? When did he live? In Literature, what subject were the Greeks most concerned about?
Origin of Greek Theatre: Dithyrambs Drama and Tragedy evolved from dithyrambs, songs sung by a chorus men in praise of Dionysus each year in Athens (around 7 th Century BCE) Dithyrambs: an emotional choric hymn or speech sung by a group of men. Dionysus: The Greek God of wine and fertility.
The “O.G.” Chorus Usually a group of about 15 men Spoke in one voice as one “character” Offered prayers to the gods Explained the action of the story as it related to the law of the state and the law of the Olympian gods
Thespis – First Actor Around 540 BCE, Thespis became the first “actor” who performed speeches (using masks to distinguish between the different characters). The “actor” spoke and acted as if he were the character, and he interacted with the chorus, who acted as narrators and commentators. Thespis’s style of drama became known as tragedy -- which means 'goat song', perhaps referring to goats sacrificed to Dionysus before performances, or to goat-skins worn by the performers.
The Second Actor and Dialogue In 471 BCE (70 years later), the dramatist Aeschylus innovated a second actor, thus making dialogue between characters possible onstage. The chorus remained on-stage and functioned in the same manner.
The Third Actor Around 468 BCE, Sophocles introduced a third actor making more complex dramatic situations possible. Three actors subsequently became the formal convention (the actors could still play more than one character, distinguishing between them with masks).
Festival of Dionysus In 534 BCE, annual competitions for the best tragedy (goat song) were instituted at Dionysus Festival in Athens. As Drama evolved, the competition evolved as well. Each playwright submitted three tragedies (trilogy) and one comedy (satyr) Winners won a goat
Sophocles The Most Famous Playwright Wrestler, musician, general, politician Very handsome and successful Celebrated playwright 120 (ish) plays 20 (ish) first prizes Only 7 plays remain – the most famous: Oedipus Rex
Theater of the Greeks Every show was done during the day Audiences could be as many as 14,000 Minimal set (if any at all) Actors (only men) wore masks Never showed any violence on stage
Role of the Chorus Changed Originally, the dithyrambs chorus tried to stay in rhythm with each other so they could be viewed as one entity rather than separate entities. When the number of actors increased from two to three, the leader of the chorus interacted with the characters, and spoke for the general population (the play's public opinion).
The New Role of the Chorus The chorus now functioned as a separate character rather than a narrator. This change, attributed to Sophocles, favored the interaction between actors and thus brought ancient Greek tragedy closer to the modern notion of dramatic plot. In addition, the subject matter of the plays expanded so the whole body of Greek mythology and Greek Gods expanded beyond just Dionysus.
The New Role of the Chorus * To provide exposition (background information) for the audience To foreshadow the future To serve as an actor in the play, speaking “for” the general audience To sing and/or dance To present the author's views.
Greek Tragedy Also as Drama evolved, the term “tragedy” became more defined: Greek Tragedy is a verse drama written in elevated language in which a great and noble protagonist falls to ruin during a struggle caused by a flaw in his character, such as pride, or an error in his rulings or judgments.protagonist
Greek Comedy Comedy is mockery of people and situations, a criticism against immorality, avarice and corruption. Its goal is to pass the message of the return to tradition and to the values of the ancestors. Comedy's language may seem vulgar, but it was not shocking to the ancient Greek audience, since it was in harmony with the comedy's rural roots. The chorus' disguise depended on the play (birds, frogs etc).
Satiric Comedy (Satyr) Satiric Comedy is part of Dionysian festivities. (In the contests every writer was participating with three tragedies and one satyr.) The stories mock the lives of heroes or Dionysus, in order for the audience to relax after having attended the presentation of three tragedies.
Masks Why would the Greeks wear masks on stage? One of the main reasons was the fact that there were female roles but women were forbidden from performing on stage. Men wore female masks when they played the female roles. When an actor had to play more than one role. A simple change of masks was all one needed to switch characters.
Masks Theories about the masks helping to accentuate the actor's voice, but many Greek discount this concept. Usually made of wood, cloth or leather and were as creative as the people who made them. Many of the masks were decorated with hair, either human or animal, to complete the effect. There was only a small hole drilled where the pupil of the eye would be for the actor to see through.
The Perfect Tragedy According to Aristotle, the best example of the perfect tragedy was Oedipus Rex. As we continue, think of how Oedipus Rex meets each of the following requirements.
The Three Unities According to Aristotle the perfect tragedy should hold to three unities: Time: the action should take place in 24 hours – ideally it should all be congruous, but 24 hours is ok Place – one location – no set changes Action – one plot – no sub plots (the mysterious fourth – mood – the entire play should be serious – no comic relief)
Tragic Hero Must be a noble King or Ruler (but the audience should be able to identify with the hero) Must have a tragic flaw: (Hubris: Pride) Downfall must be caused by his own actions as a result of his tragic flaw Must have recognition of his own demise He should die with honor and courage
Predestination Do you believe in the supernatural (a higher spirit? Why or why not? Do you believe that people can prophesize or predict the future? Why or why not? Do you believe in that your life is predestined (fated) or that your life is made of free will?
Oedipus Rex Notes… Background Oedipus leaves his home city of Corinth to go wandering Comes to a cross road and kills a man who wouldn’t get out of his way Comes to city of Thebes who has recently lost their king. Thebes is under siege of the Sphinx and her riddle Oedipus answers riddle, Sphinx dies, Oedipus is made king and marries the previous queen
Sphinx’s Riddle… how smart are you? What walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening? Answers? (you die if you get it wrong…) A man – child, healthy adult, old man with a cane
Oedipus Rex Notes… Remember: This is a story that was not invented by Sophocles The original audiences would have known the story and how it ended
Apollo… Greek god of music, medicine, light, truth, and poetry Had an oracle at Delphi – which was the most famous oracle of Ancient Greece An oracle is a priestess who delivers the prophesies of the god
Oedipus Rex Notes… Themes Willingness to ignore the truth Limits of free will Human pride Symbolism Sight and Light = Truth Blindness and Dark = Ignorance/lies Motifs (when an author uses a literary element over and over – in this case symbols and irony – that emphasize the themes) Sight vs. Blindness / Light vs. Dark Dramatic irony
Literary Terms for you… Irony – when the opposite of what is expected happens Situational Irony – when a character or reader expects one thing to happen but something else entirely happens Verbal Irony – when someone says one thing but means another Dramatic Irony – the contrast between what a character knows and what the reader or audience knows
Literary Terms for you… Hubris as a character flaw Pride was considered a grave sin because it placed too much emphasis on individual will, thereby downplaying the will of the state and endangering the community as a whole. Because pride makes people unwilling to accept wise counsel, they act rashly and make bad decisions.
Literary Terms for you… Hamartia or Character Flaw