- Slides: 11
GREEK DRAMA How Greek Drama Grew Out of Religious Ritual
Religious Ritual l l Greek drama grew out of a religious ritual that honored Dionysus the god of wine and fertility Dionysian celebrations became an annual festival with hymn singing and wild flute playing Performances took place in Athens (present day Athens, Greece) in a large amphitheater Thespis transformed these hymns into songs that honored Dionysus l Ancient Greek theater of Epidaurus
4 th – 5 th c. BCE Innovations of Thepis A chorus member would step forward and play the part of a hero or god The actor wore a mask and entered into dialogue with the chorus This actor wore a mask with an exaggerated mouthpiece that amplified the actor’s voice These masks portrayed characters which were easily recognizable to the audience All actors were men and the choruses were well-trained boys. 4 th – 5 th c. BCE
A Tragic Myth: The House of Thebes A myth is an old story rooted in a particular society. A myth often explains human suffering in terms of the workings of the gods, of fates that cannot be avoided, or curses that haunt generations. Antigone is a part of an old myth; it is The Myth of Oedipus.
The Myth of Oedipus n n King Laios and Queen Jocasta of Thebes learned from the oracle that their newborn son would kill his father and marry his mother. The King and Queen gave the baby to a shepherd with orders to leave the baby, ankles pinned together, abandoned at the side of the road. The shepherd took pity on the baby and instead gave him to a Corinthian shepherd who in turn gave him to a childless king and queen of Corinth who named it Oedipus (“swollen foot” or “club foot”). Later in life, Oedipus was able to save Thebes from a Sphinx that had been destroying the city. The Sphinx would continue to destroy the city until someone could answer this riddle: What creature goes on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening? Oedipus successfully solved the riddle………. MAN who crawls on all fours as an infant, walks on two legs as an adult, and leans on a cane in old age.
n n n n n Oedipus was welcomed as a hero in Thebes Laios their king had recently been killed Thebans offered Oedipus the throne and the widowed Jocasta, as his bride It was unknown to them that Oedipus was actually her son Oedipus and Jocasta had four children: Polyneices, Eteocles, and daughters Antigone and Ismene. Oedipus finally discovered that he had killed his father and married his mother, so the prophecy of the oracle and come true When Jocasta discovered the horrible truth, she killed herself and Oedipus gouged out his own eyes When Creon took over as ruler of Thebes, he exiled Oedipus wandered the countryside as a beggar with his daughter Antigone returned to Thebes where her brothers eventually killed each other. Creon gave his ally Eteocles a hero’s burial and Polyneices was denied burial rites condemning him to eternal unrest
Conscience vs. Authority l When we feel that those in power are morally wrong, do we break their laws, or do we collaborate with them by obeying? Examples: l Holocaust l Japanese Internment Camps in the U. S. l Segregation l What other examples are there?
“I depict men as they ought to be…. ” Sophocles 496 ? – 406 B. C. E. Athens He saw Greek culture at its height and at its decline Won numerous prizes for his plays He was extremely famous and well respected He moved away from using exaggerated actions and instead relied on psychological depth He broke the tradition of using only two actors He reduced the role of the chorus and placed more emphasis on the actors He used the chorus to establish tone He wrote the most influential drama ever written Oedipus the King
Traditional Greek Theater
Orchestra or “dancing place”, chorus, and skene (for storing costumes but later used as scenery).
The Typical Greek Tragedy Prologue – exposition or opening speech Parados – the chorus makes its first entrance and gives its perspective on what the audience has learned in the prologue Episodia (several episodes) – heated debates that dramatizes the play’s conflicts Stasimon (choral ode) – chorus responds to and interprets the preceding dialogue Exodus (last scene and resolution) – follows the final episode