Comp Lit 05.28.09 - Comparative Literature 05/28/09 Bakkhai...

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Comparative Literature 05/28/09 Bakkhai 1. Dates (sense of chronology) a. Orestaia–458 b. Oidepus– 480’s c. Medea– 451 d. Bakkhai 405 2. Connections between drama and cult of Dionysos a. Recall tragedies performed during Great Dionysia i. Processions 1. Opened with procession that took cult statue of Dionysos Eleuthereus from Athens to temple on the road to Thebes 2. Sacrificied offered to statue at temple 3. Then escorted back ii. The statue 1. Probably a mask on a shaft 2. Thyrsos (staff garlanded with ivy) 3. Back in Athens–the statue taken in procession that ended with bull sacrifice iii. Dithyrambs in Great Dionysia 1. Choral poetry in honor of Dionysos 2. Each tribe had a chorus of men and boys 3. Competition between the choruses of each tribe iv. Priest of Dionysos 1. had prominent seat in theater 3. Dionysos a. Associated with i. Thebes (where mother Semele comes from) ii. God of wine––Anthesteria (tasting of wine in his honor) iii. Ritual madness (spirit of liberation and exuberance) aka maenadism iv. God of theater v. Mysteries that promise a happy afterlife 1. Found gold plates with instructions on how to go to afterlife vi. Unclear: Connected with life, fertility (renewal), but also the destruction and dismemberment of it 4. Why is drama performed in the context of the Great Dionysia? a. Drama clearly interested in ritual i. Many allusions to ritual ii. Orestaia–murder of Agamemnon iii. We have seen ritual as theme and metaphor b. Dionysos associated with masks i. Statue of him–mask on a shaft ii. Tragedy and drama performed with masks (a connection between the two)
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Comp Lit 05.28.09 - Comparative Literature 05/28/09 Bakkhai...

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