2Greek MythologyWrite 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?
3Origin 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 7th Century BCE)Dithyrambs: an emotional choric hymn or speech sung by a group of men.Dionysus: The Greek God of wine and fertility.
4The “O.G.” Chorus Usually a group of about 15 men Spoke in one voice as one “character”Offered prayers to the godsExplained the action of the story as it related to the law of the state and the law of the Olympian gods
5Thespis – First ActorAround 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.
6The 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.
7The Third ActorAround 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).
8Festival of DionysusIn 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
9Sophocles The Most Famous Playwright Wrestler, musician, general, politicianVery handsome and successfulCelebrated playwright120 (ish) plays20 (ish) first prizesOnly 7 plays remain – the most famous: Oedipus Rex
10Theater of the Greeks Every show was done during the day Audiences could be as many as 14,000Minimal set (if any at all)Actors (only men) wore masksNever showed any violence on stage
13Role 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).
14The 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.
15The New Role of the Chorus * To provide exposition (background information) for the audienceTo foreshadow the futureTo serve as an actor in the play, speaking “for” the general audienceTo sing and/or danceTo present the author's views .
16Greek TragedyAlso 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.
17Greek ComedyComedy 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).
18Satiric 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.
19Masks 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.
20MasksTheories 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.
25The Perfect TragedyAccording 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.
26The Three UnitiesAccording 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 okPlace – one location – no set changesAction – one plot – no sub plots(the mysterious fourth – mood – the entire play should be serious – no comic relief)
27Tragic HeroMust 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 flawMust have recognition of his own demiseHe should die with honor and courage
28PredestinationDo 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?
29Oedipus Rex Notes… Background Oedipus leaves his home city of Corinth to go wanderingComes to a cross road and kills a man who wouldn’t get out of his wayComes to city of Thebes who has recently lost their king.Thebes is under siege of the Sphinx and her riddleOedipus answers riddle, Sphinx dies, Oedipus is made king and marries the previous queen
30Sphinx’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
31Oedipus Rex Notes… Remember: This is a story that was not invented by SophoclesThe original audiences would have known the story and how it ended
32Apollo…Greek god of music, medicine, light, truth, and poetryHad an oracle at Delphi – which was the most famous oracle of Ancient GreeceAn oracle is a priestess who delivers the prophesies of the god
33Oedipus Rex Notes… Themes Symbolism Willingness to ignore the truthLimits of free willHuman prideSymbolismSight and Light = TruthBlindness and Dark = Ignorance/liesMotifs (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. DarkDramatic irony
34Literary Terms for you… Irony – when the opposite of what is expected happensSituational Irony – when a character or reader expects one thing to happen but something else entirely happensVerbal Irony – when someone says one thing but means anotherDramatic Irony – the contrast between what a character knows and what the reader or audience knows
35Literary Terms for you… Hubris as a character flawPride 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.
36Literary Terms for you… Hamartia or Character Flaw