- Slides: 18
Unit: Oedipus SOPHOCLES & THE GREEK THEATRE
DITHYRAMB The performers wore costumes, danced, and played drums, lyres and flutes, They described the adventures of Dionysus. The dithyramb was given a regular form and raised to the rank of artistic poetry about 600 BC. Thespis It became one of the competitive subjects at the various Athens festivals. It attracted the most famous poets of the day. Chorus, strophe, antistrophe, ode, hippocryte
-- large, open areas -- took advantage of hillsides to create stadium style seating -- could usually seat thousands of people (Dionysia could seat approx. 17, 000) - performance space was called the “orchestra” - this is where the chorus sang and danced GREEK THEATRE
The Evolution of the Early Theatrical Space From Religious Ceremony to Performance
SOPHOCLES 495 BCE – 405 BCE (approx. ) � Became a prominent resident of Athens, Greece � By sixteen, he was already known for his beauty and grace and was chosen to lead a choir of boys at a celebration of the victory of Salamis � In 468 BCE, he took first prize at Dionysia, defeating the reigning champion, Aeschylus � Dionysia was a large religious festival in honor of Dionysus, the god of agriculture, theatre, wine, & ecstasy � Wrote over 120 plays, only 7 of which have withstood the test of time �
SOPHOCLES’ CHANGES… Introduced a third actor Gave dialogue a fuller sense of development Lessened the role of the chorus Developed “skené” where the background was painted and arranged in order to create a spectacular effect THEATRE WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME!
The Greek Outdoor Amphitheatre
Two major performance areas- The Orchestra or “Dancing Circle” served as the primary acting area
The Skene (scene building)consisted of a building behind the orchestra probably used as a dressing room, later to be integrated into the stage action by an innovative playwright.
THEATRICAL TERMS… Tragedy Developed out of ancient Greece A drama or literary work in which the main character, or protagonist, is brought to ruin or suffers extreme sadness, especially as a consequence of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances. Deals with affairs of the state (wars, government, etc. )
THEATRICAL TERMS… � Tragic Hero � Some characteristics of a tragic hero: � � the main character in a tragedy who makes an error in their actions that leads to their own downfall � � � He sees and understands his doom; his fate was revealed by his own actions. His downfall arouses pity and fear. He is physically or spiritually wounded by his experiences, often resulting in his death. He is often a king or leader, so that his people experience his fall with him. This could also include a leader of a family. The hero learns something from his/her mistake. The hero is faced with a serious decision. The suffering of the hero is meaningful.
THEATRICAL TERMS… Chorus a group of 12 -15 men that provided background information and commentary to help the audience understand the performance They modeled how the audience “should” react They expressed what the main characters (of which there were only 2 before Sophocles) could not say… their thoughts, feelings, etc. Usually sang, but would also speak in unison (very overdramatically to enhance volume)
THEATRICAL TERMS… � Deus ex machina Literal translation: “god from the machine” � A plot device in which an unexpected event occurs in a story's plot, very suddenly and completely resolving an otherwise unsolvable conflict � Also… a crane used to suggest flying through the air. �
THEATRICAL TERMS… � Four Types of Irony � Dramatic- audience knows something the characters don’t � Situational- when the last thing you expect to happen, happens � Verbal- what is said vs. what is meant (sarcasm) � Cosmic- what the characters aspire to vs. what the cosmic forces allow
OEDIPUS REX. . The standard for Greek tragedy Greek familiarity Context During the Peloponnesian War, Athens suffered from political instability and devastating plague. people of Athens could identify with: a plague
SPHINX What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening? A man, who crawls on all fours as a baby, walks on two legs as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age.