Published on February 15, 2008
Unit Overview: Introduction to Ancient Greek Tragedy: Unit Overview: Introduction to Ancient Greek Tragedy In this unit we will learn about: life in ancient Greece. ancient Greek Tragedy. Tragic Hero Archetype. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Greece reached peak - 6th and 5th centuries B.C., particularly in Athens. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Athens was the place to be. It was: named for the goddess, Athena. birthplace of democracy. center of commerce and the arts. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece On the “cutting edge,” achieving excellence in: Philosophy Art History Politics Architecture I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Excellence is remarkable because: Harsh environment and poverty, then and now 1/3 of Greece is bare rock where nothing can grow or graze. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Rock = Best potters and sculptors the world has ever seen. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Sculpture - Realistic figures in marble or bronze Perfect human form Influences sculpture and life even today I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Our desire to look “perfect” has its origins in Greek culture. The next time you hop on a treadmill, or lift weights you have Classical Greek sculptors to thank. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Emphasis on physical training. Good idea! There was hardly any standing army.Any man could become an “instant” solider. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Physical excellence was appreciated in the athletic games held in the city of Olympia, the Olympics. I. Life in Ancient Greece: I. Life in Ancient Greece Olive processing was a major industry. Olive trees symbols of peace. Winners in the games in Olympia received olive wreaths. II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy Ancient Greeks invented the art of drama. Some of the plays written at the time are still performed today. II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy Modern words from Greek words: Orchestra Thespian Drama Dialogue Skene Comedy Tragedy Procenium II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy Wealthy Athenian citizens subsidized the production of the plays. Plays performed annually at the spring festival to honor Dionysus. II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy The yearly Dionysia festivals were held in late March or early April. Festival disrupted city life and could not be contained – Quite a party! II. Greek Tragedy: Going to plays was very popular. Performances lasted all day. Theatre was a sacrament, a form of worship. (Think of a highly dramatic, entertaining Mass.) II. Greek Tragedy II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy Theaters outdoor semicircular arenas called amphitheaters built of stone or wood. 15,000 to 17,000 spectators (all male) II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy Three playwrights each entered a play in the tragedy competition and one comedy into the satyr (risqué) competition. II.Greek Tragedy: II.Greek Tragedy The three greatest writers of tragedy were: Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) Euripides (485-406 B.C.) II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy The cast, all men, included a chorus, or group of men, who chanted and danced. Chorus is the Greek word for dance. One, two, or three actors. For most of the 5th century no more than 3 actors were used. II. Greek Tragedy: II. Greek Tragedy Chorus provided emotional bridge between actors and audience Made of citizen amateurs II. Greek TragedyFive Functions of the Chorus: II. Greek Tragedy Five Functions of the Chorus Set the mood Represent common people Take sides Warn a character Create a contrast to the hero by expressing itself in common language II.Greek TragedyCostumes and Scenery: II.Greek Tragedy Costumes and Scenery Minimal scenery and props Actors wore masks, platform shoes, and elongated togas with high waistbands. Masks stood for characters (grief, anger, happiness, bearded king, old man, young girl). II.Greek TragedyConventions: II.Greek Tragedy Conventions Plays observed Aritstotle’s 3 unities of time, place, and action. Time–took place during a single day. Place–one scene Action–no subplots II.Greek TragedyConventions: II.Greek Tragedy Conventions All violent action took place off stage. There was no suspense. Plays emphasized people, ideas, poetry. Emotions of characters most important element of any play. II. Greek TragedyCharacteristics:Plays: II. Greek Tragedy Characteristics:Plays Worthy protagonist Imperfect, yet mature protagonist Inevitable disaster Hero fights for noble cause Disequilibrium (imbalance) rules the world of Greek tragedy. II. Greek TragedyCharacteristics:Tragic Hero: II. Greek Tragedy Characteristics:Tragic Hero Believes in his freedom to make choices Has supreme pride, hubris. Large capacity for suffering Sense of commitment Vigorous protest Transfiguration, becomes a better person. His tragedy cause for reflection about life. II. Greek Tragedy:StructureEncroachment: II. Greek Tragedy:Structure Encroachment The hero bites off more than he can chew and brings about his own destruction. II. Greek Tragedy:Structure Complication: II. Greek Tragedy:Structure Complication Forces of opposition build up against the hero. Events become so deeply involved that no single event can resolve the disorder. II. Greek Tragedy:Structure Reversal: II. Greek Tragedy:Structure Reversal Clear to audience that hero’s expectations are mistaken. The hero may dimly see where his acts will lead him. II.Greek Tragedy:StructureCatastrophe: II.Greek Tragedy:Structure Catastrophe Moment hero realizes his full guilt. Hero realizes his helplessness at the hands of the gods. II.Greek Tragedy:Structure Recognition: II.Greek Tragedy:Structure Recognition Chorus expresses a larger order and sense of meaning to life exists beyond the hero’s downfall. Emotional rollercoaster ride is eased by catharsis occurs when the emotions of the audience are purged. Audience is reassured “it’s only a play.” Life goes on. III.Antigone: III.Antigone Personal beliefs in conflict with civil law III. Antigone: III. Antigone III. Antigone’s Extended Family: III. Antigone’s Extended Family IV. Oedipus the King: IV. Oedipus the King There was no suspense. Oedipus always kills father. Oedipus always marries his mother. The butler didn’t do it. Oedipus did!