GRK DRAMA11new - Theater was one of the most prominent...

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Unformatted text preview: Theater was one of the most prominent institutions of Greek civilization. The Greeks perfected the dramatic form known as tragedy. Greek Drama 1 Tragedy concerns terrible things that happen to or are caused by characters that make us feel their fear and sorrow, and our own, as well. 2 “Tragedy is the imitation of an action that is serious, complete and substantial. It is written in artistically heightened language, some sections in spoken verse, others using music. It arouses pity and fear in the spectators, and by doing so purges those emotions.” Tragedy involves a specific moment of friction between an individual and fate, the gods, or the community. Aristotle 3 4 Tragedies derived their subject matter from... Tragedy • • • • Homer’s poems began around the 7th c. BCE centered on the worship of the Greek god Dionysus, god of wine and fertility. Greek myths, legends and history Dionysus gives and destroys which reflects the agricultural cycle of life and death • • these stories already familiar to Greek audiences... Dionysus’ worshippers held wild rituals in his honor • “We all feast on crumbs from Homer’s banquet.” Aeschylus 5 6 Dithyrambic rituals • Dithyrambs are hymns to Dionysus relating events of his life and involved music, dance, wine, etc... So how did Dionysian rituals develop into the classic Greek theatre of the 5th century? 7 Dionysian ceremonies became more formal and restrained • • • Chorus now sings dithyrambs 8 Thespis introduces The City Dionysia dance, song + a solo performer who answers the chorus • masks • Peisistratus promotes and organizes the cult of Dionysus creating Dionysian festivals held each spring in Athens • included feasts, sacrifices, dithyrambic rituals, and drama competitions. • • Drama competitions: 3 playwrights entered 4 plays— 3 tragedies and a satyr play. (Comic playwrights also competed.) dialogue + impersonation = Greek actor with mask drama Masks • allowed actors to play multiple roles • made it easier for actors to play women and gods • emphasized theater ’s connection to Dionysus 9 satyr 10 Tragedy tragos = goat oide = song Why does tragedy mean GOAT-SONG? • suggests goats were used as competition prizes? Nah... Wagner called Greek tragedy gesamtkunstwerk— the total work of art—since it was a mix of verse, dance, and music. • refers to goats sacrificed to Dionysus? Nope... • probably refers to the chorus of satyrs; ie: the followers of Dionysus 11 12 Site of Theater of Dionysus The Chorus • • • • • • • provides background information helps audience follow performance offers commentary on themes expresses what main characters cannot gives sense of rich spectacle represents the general populace models an ideal response 13 orchestra 14 skene Theater of Dionysus today proscenium (the ancient stage) The theater held approximately 14,000 people 15 16 The Tragic Playwrights Aeschylus Sophocles wrote Oedipus the King The most famous Comic playwright Oedipus’ family tree • the “father of tragedy” • introduces 2nd actor • themes emphasize forces beyond human control King and Queen of Thebes Laius Sophocles • introduces 3rd actor • themes include the idea that people have choices Euripides • youngest of the great playwrights • themes include the idea that the irrational must be allowed a place in society—control vs. freedom Aristophanes • used comedy to satirize society and point out its flaws • most famous play: Lysistrata, which focuses on the absurdity of war 17 Oedipus Antigone Ismene The back story: Oedipus and the Sphinx Gustave Moreau 1864 Euridice Jocasta Eteocles Polynices Oedipus the King • Laius and Jocasta, king and queen of Thebes, receive a bad prophecy regarding a future son. What is the prophecy? • Nevertheless, they have a son (Oedipus) • Fearing the prophecy will come true, they abandon Oedipus • a shepherd takes pity on Oedipus, and brings the baby to Polybus and Merope, king and queen of Corinth, who raise him him as their own son 19 Creon (Jocasta’s brother) Jocasta Haemon Megarus 18 • Years later, Oedipus, now an adult, receives a creepy prophecy too... • To keep it from happening, he leaves Corinth and heads to Thebes • He meets a man on the road— who?—and in a dispute, kills him • He then meets the Sphinx, who’s been giving Thebes trouble. The Sphinx gives Oedipus a riddle, which he answers. What is the riddle? • Thebans make Oedipus their new king, and he marries the widowed queen—who happens to be...? 20 The Play: • plague hits Thebes • Creon discovers plague will end when Laius’ killer is found • Oedipus rejects the prophet Tiresias’ conclusion that O is the killer • Messenger brings news that Polybus is dead... What’s the problem here? Why would this be good news to Oedipus? • Messenger then reveals that Polybus was Oedipus’ stepfather • Oedipus finds the shepherd who saved him as a child. The shepherd reveals all. • Jocasta commits suicide • Oedipus blinds himself 21 Why does he blind himself, and what is ironic about this? • Oedipus unwittingly kills his father and marries his mother, then blinds himself to atone for his guilt • Can we avoid our fate? Two oracles (prophecies) dominate Oedipus: Jocasta speaking: Oedipus speaking: There was an oracle once that came to Laius...and it told him that it was fate that he should die a victim at the hands of his own son, a son to be born of Laius and me. And so I went to Delphi. Apollo sent me back without an answer, so I didn’t learn what I had come to find. But...he uttered monstrous things, strange terrors and horrific miseries— it was my fate to defile my mother’s bed, to bring forth to men a human family that people could not bear to look upon, and to murder the father who engendered me. Do these characters have choices? 22 Sophocles The Tragic Hero Antigone • relates the conflict between • is of noble birth • has a character flaw (often Antigone (the daughter of Oedipus) and her uncle, the king Creon Antigone explores hubris) • • human law vs. divine law • voice of the people vs. voice of experiences a reversal of fortune and a realization • accepts death/exile with honor • gains wisdom the ruler • public vs. personal obligation • men vs. women * Oedipus and Antigone 23 24 Tragedy’s universal themes • What is our place in the universe? • What meaning does life have in the face of death? • How do we deal with external forces that seem to govern our lives? How does Greek drama influence Western theater today? Hamlet Death of a Salesman Western theater owe its existence to the Greeks-The Greeks created: • tragedy • comedy • mime • stage machinery • the art of acting • costume and set design • the theatrical structure itself 25 26 “Tragedy is “Tragedy isthan love. Out of all human more important events, it is tragedy alone that brings people out of their own petty desires and into awareness of other humans’ suffering. Tragedy occurs in human lives so that we will learn to reach out and comfort others.” For Aristotle, the goal of Tragedy is catharsis. Tragedy makes us feel, and in doing so, we are renewed. Catharsis comes when we realize: • some questions cannot be answered • we can’t know for sure what shape our lives will take • or how our lives are directed, if at a". C.S. Lewis 27 28 ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course HUM 101 taught by Professor Neubeck-connor during the Spring '11 term at Moraine Valley Community College.

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