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The land The myths The stage. Greece has thousands of inhabited islands and dramatic mountain ranges Greece has a rich culture and history Democracy was.

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Presentation on theme: "The land The myths The stage. Greece has thousands of inhabited islands and dramatic mountain ranges Greece has a rich culture and history Democracy was."— Presentation transcript:

1 The land The myths The stage

2 Greece has thousands of inhabited islands and dramatic mountain ranges Greece has a rich culture and history Democracy was founded in Greece Patriarchal (male dominated) society Philosophy, as a practice, began in Greece (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle)



5 Theater was a celebration in ancient Greece. Athenian of the 5 th century B.C. held festivals in honor of Dionysus, their god of wine. During this time, citizens gathered to watch competitions between playwrights/dramatists, who presented plays from well-known myths.

6 The plays depicted events that exposed arrogance and emphasized reverence for the gods. Thousands of Athenians saw the plays in outdoor theaters like the one shown below, in which seats rose in a semicircle from a level orchestra area.

7 The plays performed in these theaters had limited numbers of characters. There were no curtains to allow for changes of scenery between acts, so scenes were interspersed with songs. No violence or irreverence was depicted on stage, although both were central to the plots of many plays. Such events occurred offstage and were reported in dialogue.


9 The Theater: Greek drama usually accompanied religious festivals and was part of the fanfare. The stage was built into a hillside and plays were performed during the day before thousands of onlookers. A large orchestra, located in a pit between the stage and the audience, provided music before, during, and after the performance.

10 Greek plays were performed during religious ceremonies held in honor of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry (altars generally on stage) Banks would shut down for days, people would travel from all around to see the drama competitions—even prisoners were temporarily released to see the plays Tragedy means “goat song” (relates to Dionysian rituals)

11 Three Main Portions of Greek Theatre: Skene – Portion of stage where actors performed (included 1-3 doors in and out) Orchestra – “Dancing Place” where chorus sang to the audience Theatron – Seating for audience


13 1. Explained the unexplainable 2. Justified religious practices 3. Gave credibility to leaders 4. Gave hope 5. Polytheistic (more than one god) 6. Centered around the twelve Olympians (primary Greek gods)

14 Dionysian cults in ancient Greece were founded to worship Dionysus, god of grapes, vegetation, and wine.

15 The Romans used myths to create family trees for their leaders, enforcing the made-up idea that the emperors were related to the gods and were, then, demigods.

16 The Olympians: The Main Gods of Greece

17 King of gods Heaven Storms Thunder Lightning

18 Poseidon Zeus’s brother King of the sea Earthquakes Horses

19 Hades Brother to Zeus and Poseidon King of the Underworld Husband of Persphone (Demeter’s daughter)

20 Zeus’s son God of war

21 Hera Zeus’s wife Queen of gods Women Marriage Childbirth

22 Apollo God of the sun Music Poetry Fine arts Medicine

23 Hephaestus [hi-fes-tuhs] Hera’s son God of fire Craftspeople Metalworkers Artisans

24 Dionysus [dahy-uh-nahy-suhs] God of Wine Partying (Revelry) [dahy- uh -nahy-s uh s ]

25 Zeus’s son God of messages Trade Commerce Travelers Thieves & scoundrels

26 Demeter [dih-mee-ter] Goddess of Harvest Agriculture Fertility Fruitfulness Mom to Persephone

27 Hestia [hes-tee-uh] Goddess of Hearth Home Community

28 Athena Goddess of wisdom Practical arts War

29 Aphrodite Goddess of love and beauty

30 Artemis Virgin goddess of hunting and the moon.

31 Actors: All roles were played by men wearing large masks, extravagant robes, and platform shoes. Sophocles, the most popular of Greek dramatists, used three actors who changed costumes between scenes.

32 The Tragic Hero: A tragedy recounts the downfall of a tragic hero. A tragic hero is: A dignified character, usually of noble birth. A person who possesses a tragic flaw, or hamartia (usually pride, or hubris) which leads to a catastrophe.

33 I. Prologue: Spoken by one or two characters before the chorus appears. The prologue usually gives the background information needed to understand the events of the play. II. Parodos: the song sung by the chorus as it makes its entrance III. Episodes/Scenes: the main action of the play

34 IV. Odes: songs (and often dances) that reflect on the events of the episodes, and weave the plot into a cohesive whole A. Choragos: the leader of the chorus who often interacts with the characters in the scenes. B. Chorus: the 15 singers/dancers who remark on the action 1. strophe: the movement of the chorus from right to left across the stage 2. antistrophe: the reaction to the strophe - moves across the stage from left to right.

35 V. Paean: a prayer of thanksgiving to Dionysos in whose honor the Greek plays were performed VI. Exodos: sung by the chorus as it makes its final exit, which usually offers words of wisdom related to the actions and outcome of the play

36 Ancient Greek tragedies should be thought of as closer to opera/operetta than to our spoken, prose dramas. Though deviations were possible, most tragedies had a typical structure, which derived from the role played by the chorus.

37 DramatistBornWrote Aeschylus524 B.C.Seven Against Thebes Sophocles496 B.C.Antigone Oedipus Euripides480 B.C.Medea

38 (496-406 B.C.) won 24 contests never lower than 2 nd believed to have introduced the 3 rd actor fixed the chorus at 15 (had been 50)

39 emphasis on individual characters reduced role of chorus complex characters, psychologically well-motivated characters subjected to crisis leading to suffering and self-recognition - including a higher law above man exposition carefully motivated

40 scenes suspenseful and climactic action clear and logical poetry clear and beautiful few elaborate visual effects theme emphasized: the choices of people


42 Oedipus was the son of Laius [ley-uhs] and Jocasta [joh-kas-tuh], king and queen of Thebes. After having been married some time without children, his parents consulted the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi about their childlessness. The Oracle prophesied that if Jocasta should have a son, the son would kill her husband Laius and marry her.

43 In an attempt to prevent this prophecy's fulfillment, when Jocasta indeed bore a son, Laius had his ankles pinned together so that he could not crawl, and gave the boy to a servant to abandon on the nearby mountain.

44 However, rather than leave the child to die of exposure, as Laius intended, the sympathetic servant passed the baby onto a shepherd from Corinth and then to another shepherd. Oedipus the infant eventually comes to the house of Polybus [pol-uh-buhs], king of Corinth and his queen, Merope [mer-uh-pee], who adopt him as they are without children of their own.

45 Many years later, Oedipus is told by a drunk that Polybus is not his real father but when he asks his parents, they deny it. Oedipus seeks counsel from the same Delphic Oracle. The Oracle does not tell him the identity of his true parents but instead tells him that he is destined to kill his father and marry his mother. In his attempt to avoid the fate predicted by the Oracle, he decides to not return home to Corinth. Since it is near to Delphi, Oedipus decides to go to Thebes.

46 As Oedipus travels he comes to the place where three roads meet, Davlia. Here he encounters a chariot, driven by his (unrecognized) birth-father, King Laius. They fight over who has the right to go first and Oedipus kills Laius in self defense, unwittingly fulfilling part of the prophecy. The only witness of the King's death was a slave who fled from a caravan of slaves also traveling on the road.

47 Continuing his journey to Thebes, Oedipus encounters a Sphinx which would stop all those who traveled to Thebes and ask them a riddle. If the travelers were unable to answer correctly, they were killed and eaten by the sphinx; if they were successful, they would be able to continue their journey. Oedipus was the first to answer the riddle correctly. Having heard Oedipus' answer, the Sphinx is astounded and inexplicably kills itself by throwing itself into the sea, freeing Thebes.

48 Grateful, the people of Thebes appoint Oedipus as their king and give him the recently widowed Queen Jocasta's hand in marriage. The marriage of Oedipus and Jocasta fulfilled the rest of the prophecy. Oedipus and Jocasta have four children: two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene.

49 Many years after the marriage of Oedipus and Jocasta, a plague of infertility strikes the city of Thebes; crops no longer grow to harvest and women do not bear children. Oedipus, in his hubris, asserts that he will end the pestilence. He sends Creon, Jocasta's brother, to the Oracle at Delphi, seeking guidance. When Creon returns, Oedipus hears that the murderer of the former King Laius must be found and either be killed or exiled.

50 In a search for the identity of the killer, Oedipus follows Creon's suggestion and sends for the blind prophet, Tiresias, who warns him not to try to find the killer. In a heated exchange, Tiresias is provoked into exposing Oedipus himself as the killer, and the fact that Oedipus is living in shame because he does not know who his true parents are.

51 Oedipus becomes unnerved as he begins to think that he might have killed Laius and so brought about the plague. When a messenger arrives from Corinth with the news that King Polybus has died, Oedipus is relieved concerning the prophecy, for it could no longer be fulfilled if Polybus, whom he thinks is his father, is now dead.

52 Nonetheless, he is wary while his mother lives and does not wish to go. To ease the stress of the matter, the messenger then reveals that Oedipus was, in fact, adopted. Jocasta finally realizes Oedipus' true identity, and begs him to abandon his search for Laius's murderer. Oedipus misunderstands the motivation of her pleas, thinking that she was ashamed of him because he might have been the son of a slave. Jocasta then goes into the palace where she hangs herself.

53 Oedipus seeks verification of the messenger's story from the very same herdsman who was supposed to have left Oedipus to die as a baby. From the herdsman, Oedipus learns that the infant raised as the adopted son of Polybus and Merope was the son of Laius and Jocasta. Thus, Oedipus finally realizes in great agony that so many years ago, at the place where three roads meet, he had killed his own father, King Laius, and as a consequence, married his mother, Jocasta.

54 Oedipus goes in search of Jocasta and finds she has killed herself. Using the pin from a brooch he takes off Jocasta's gown, Oedipus gouges his eyes out. Oedipus asks Creon to look after his daughters, for his sons are old and mature enough to look after themselves, and to be allowed to hold them one last time before he is exiled.

55 His daughter Antigone acts as his guide as he wanders blindly through the country, ultimately dying at Colonus after being placed under the protection of Athens by King Theseus. His two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, arrange to share the kingdom, each taking an alternating one-year reign. However, Eteocles refuses to cede his throne after his year as king. Polyneices brings in an army to oust Eteocles from his position, and a battle ensues.

56 The Tale in 8 Minutes

57 In the battle for the throne of Thebes, Antigone's brother Eteocles has died defending the city, while her brother Polyneices has died attacking it. Creon, the king of Thebes, has sworn that although Eteocles has been given a soldier's funeral, Polyneices' body will remain unburied.

58 Antigone defies the decree and buries her brother, even though her sister, Ismene, refuses to help her. Creon then condemns both Antigone and Ismene to death. He changes his mind about Ismene, but locks Antigone away in a stone vault.

59 Later, after the blind prophet Teiresias predicts doom, Creon decides to free Antigone, only to find that she has committed suicide. Antigone's death leads to the suicide of Creon's son, Haemon, who was betrothed to her, and then to the suicide of Creon's wife, Eurydice.

60 Families torn apart by political/moral differences Gender bias Death penalty Suicide Divine law

61 Crime and Punishment Fate/Prophesy Leadership Vengeance Pride Respect for the Dead

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