European Dramatic Traditions

European Dramatic Traditions - Greek Drama Early dramatic...

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Greek Drama Early dramatic productions were written and performed for religious purposes, not entertainment Geographic location – area around Greece Honoring Dionysus – most plays were performed during celebrations for the god Dionysus) God of fertility and wine In Thrace; god of passion, fertility, and orgiastic celebrations Celebrated differently throughout Greece Apollo represents fall and winter – more calm and meditative part of the year Dionysus is represented by the spring, and raw creativity Celebrations included elaborate religious performances The Theater Outdoor temples Most Greek plays were staged/written to be outdoors to make performances more realistic Orchestra: circular dancing area for chorus Skene (“scene”): where actors changed their outfits and waited to enter the stage Mekkane : crane-like device used to simulate characters flying Ekkyklema : alternate stage displaying indoor occurrences The Actors ( hypocrits ) All men Acted all parts Elaborate costumes and masks and wigs – kothornoi : special boots worn by actors in the classical Greek theater (buskins which fit either boot). When an actor needed to be taller, wore cothornous , wooden shoes
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with tall heels Gestures and body movements were controlled and stately If playing female role – need for female appearance – wore the prosternida before the chest and the progastrida before the belly The Chorus Men dressed in goat skins 15 for tragedy 24 for comedy – called codrax Purpose (in later Greek drama) — parts of the plays sung by the chorus which usually represented the city elders and revealed their attitude toward the tragedy Characteristics of Greek Tragedy Plot based on myths – audience knew plots – little surprise action – much flexibility allowed the dramatist in handling the story Hero – unconscious of his fate – heads for doom, bloody or violent events did not occur onstage – chorus or actors related such events to the audience Results in catastrophe – way in which hero fails may evoke admiration for him Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) Philosopher, student of Plato Tutor of Alexander the Great Preferred old-fashioned, “human” tragedies (e.g. Sophocles and Euripides) and mythological/historical subject matter Three Aristotelian Unities 1. unity of place 2. unity of time 3. unity of action/single action economy of roles – three actors took different parts
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concern with meaning, not with method, and plot rather than character Medea Aegeus – King of Athens. Goes to the Oracle of Delphi to receive advice on how to conceive children. He is a good friend of Medea and is one of the only characters who sees her in a friendly light rather than as a scary or crazy woman. Aresteia – used to describe a warrior or hero preparing himself or
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2011 for the course ENG 355 taught by Professor Baldini during the Fall '10 term at ASU.

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European Dramatic Traditions - Greek Drama Early dramatic...

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