Focus Questions on Aeschylus - SEND THIS

Focus Questions on Aeschylus - SEND THIS - FOCUS QUESTIONS...

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FOCUS QUESTIONS ON AESCHYLUS If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: Andy Bishop [email protected] 816.769.4327 Also – it will be helpful to you to look at the actual handout. There is a lot of useful information that is given in between the questions themselves. For example, number one doesn’t even ask a question. It simply gives a narration of the origins of Oresteia . 3. What kinds of choices did Aeschylus make in separating Agamenmnon’s return from Troy and its consequences into three separate plays? What events are highlighted in the way he “emplotted” the myth? How did he conceive his actors in term of character (ethos) and decisive action? Aeschylus’ tragedy differed from other tellings of the myth in its stress on intrafamilial and male/female conflict Some other things that stand out with Aeschylus’ telling are: Orestes’ revenge The introduction of matricide Clytemnestra kills Cassandra AND her husband, Agamemnon Aeschylus highlights the influence of past crimes on current actions 4. What makes Greek tragedies hard to read? The language is dense, ambiguous and experimental. Aeschylus invents new words, borrows obscure ones, and fractures ordinary syntax. What elements of the original performance are completely missing for modern readers? Many features of the original text are lost in the translations: Imagery Complexity The true meaning of the choruses (both in the staging and understanding their role) Why are the choral passages the hardest to follow? Hard to understand through difficult language of the choral odes These are different than the spoken portions of the play Much of the choral passages are meant to be sung and not spoken In what way does the chorus represent the citizens sitting passively in the audience? Represent citizens because the chorus was acted by those at the margins of Attic political life The chorus was acted by old men who were past the age of military battle
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How do the chorus members remind the audience about key events in the past that are relevant to the action? Choruses shape audience expectations and link episodes through repeated themes and images How do they “cue” the audience to react to the events and news unfolding in the plot? This was done all through the text. Greek poets can use word order to emphasize ideas. This is again something that is lost through modern translations and doesn’t transcend to the modern stage. Why does a playwright like Aeschylus rely so heavily on symbolic language (metaphors, images)? It is the use of verbal persuasion. It can transform ordinary events into something strange and almost inaccessible. Trace the Imagery Coming of Light: The trilogy begins in darkness with a watchman waiting for the signal of light.
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