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Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes,

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Presentation on theme: "Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes,

2  Festival of Dionysus, the god of grapes, wine, “ritual madness and religious ecstasy” (“Dionysus” in Wikipedia)  In several myths, he is ritually killed and dismembered and his parts scattered  Throughout the land (like Osiris)  Parallels agricultural cycle of death in winter and rebirth in spring  Four Dionysiac celebrations each winter in Athens  The point was to guarantee fertility of soil  Also fertility of the community

3  Became contests for the best plays where winning playwrights won great prizes  March-April – celebrating the end of winter  Were also periods of relaxation from traditional roles, dress, and inhibitions  3 tragedies and a satyr play (erotic and comic)  Free to everybody since rich people paid

4 Right below the Parthenon (the Acropolis) in the center of Athens Theatrical performances began in the 6 th century (500’s) BCE as part of the cult of Dionysus.

5  “The winners received monuments to display the tripods they had won. The monument that displayed the winners’ tripod would be placed around the theater and along a street that led East; the Street of the Tripods” (“Theater of Dionysus” Wikipedia)  One of the major winners was Aeschylus, who won in 458 BCE for his Oresteia: Agamemnon, Choephori, and Eumenides. It is 3 plays that start with Clytemnestra’s revenge on Agamemnon for killing her daughter Iphigenia, goes through Orestes dilemma in that he must kill his mother, and ends with Athena founding the jury system. Innovation of Aeschylus was to have two actors: “to intensify the dramatic value of each agon, the confrontation between antagonists” (Jacobus 38). 


7  Orchestra – where chorus sang & danced  Proskenion – “scene house” – a place for the actors and a background for the action  One at Epidaurus:

8  Mekane – booms or derricks to lower actors down to stage to simulate Gods entering (deus ex machina)  Tragedy – “song for the sacrificial goat”  Agon – dramatic confrontation,  single actor against the Chorus  Masks – so one actor can do  several parts

9  Strophe: choral ode, sung by Chorus as it moved from right to left  Antistrophe: sung as Chorus moved left to right  Parodos: Songs sung while moving onto the stage  Stasima – sung while standing still  In Antigone: the Chorus consists of men loyal to the state  Satyr play: comic & erotic. Played with phallus, a mock penis.  Comedy: in Greek theater, it “shows people from a lower social order than the nobility, who are the main figures in a tragedy” (Jacobus 36).

10  Fifth century BCE  Sophocles: (441) Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Ajax, and Electra  Euripides – Medea, The Trojan Women, and The Bacchae  Aristophanes - comedies like The Frogs, Lysistrata, The Clouds

11  Rulers of Thebes, King Laius and Queen Jocasta, heard that their son, Oedipus, would kill his own father so they had him taken out to die on the hillside with his feet pinned together. But he was found and raised by the king and queen in Corinth. He found out the prophecy at Delphi, so ran away from Corinth, afraid he would kill the king of Corinth. On the way, he got into a quarrel at a crossroads with Laius and killed him. Then he arrived in Thebes, solved the riddle of the Sphinx (who had been besieging Thebes), and married Jocasta since he was a local hero.

12  Jocasta and Oedipus had four children: Eteocles and Polynices (sons) and Antigone and Ismene (daughters). Then the city began to suffer a plague. Oedipus found that it was because he had killed his actual father and married his actual mother. Jocasta hanged herself. Oedipus took out his eyes and left with his two daughters.  Eteocles and Polynices fought over who would rule Thebes. They died fighting. Creon buried Eteocles but not Polynices. The play starts.

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