Greek Tragedy. An Overview

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1 Greek Tragedy An Overview

2 Early History First tragedies were myths Danced and Sung by a chorus at festivals In honor of Dionysius Chorus were made up of men Later, myths developed a more serious form Tried to illustrate some lesson in life

3 More History 534 B.C. Thespis invented an actor who conversed with the leader of the chorus A second actor was provided by playwright Aeschylus A third actor was provided by Sophocles Now drama could show and develop a human situation in all its aspects

4 Greek Theatre Open-air theatre Use of dramatic irony Plays acted during the daytime why? All actors were male Wore masks, wigs, high boots Plays written in poetic verse Plays observed the three unities

5 Unity of Time All the action of the play took place within 24 hours; dialogue provided background information

6 Unity of Place Action was limited to one setting; one unchanged scene was used.

7 Unity of Subject The focus was on the main character. There were no sub-plots.

8 Messengers Used to tell the audience about what happened offstage Religious intent and dignified style, no violence was shown on stage Messenger ran on stage and spoke to the audience of any death or killings. These messages were sometimes quite graphic.

9 The Chorus Made up of men who represented the citizens Always on stage, and frequently sang and danced Always had a leader who carried on a dialogue with the main characters or with the rest of the chorus

10 Chorus dressed in goat skins Goat was sacred to Dionysius and used as prizes for the best plays Word Tragedy derived from Greek word tragoidia (means goat-song )

11 Function of the chorus Set the tone Give background info Recall events of the past Interpret and summarize events Ask questions At times, give opinions Give advice, if asked Stay objective, in the sense that it did not disagree with the leading character Act like a jury of elders or wise men

12 The Tragic Situation Man seems to be deprived of all outward help and is forced to rely entirely on himself A situation of utmost conflict A situation of extraordinary tension

13 1. Man s miscalculation of reality which brings about the fatal situation 2. Man between two conflicting principles Protagonist is suddenly put at the crossing point of two duties, both of which claim fulfillment This is most compelling tragic situation and is the one that has most often been chosen by the Greek dramatists

14 The Nature of Tragedy An expression of man realizing that his human standards have become questionable What happens to the individuals in Greek Tragedies could happen to anyone Greek Tragedies are dramas about humanity Humanity torn between Appearance and reality Pride and humility At a loss when in contact with superhuman forces

15 Anagnorisis ( Ancient Greek: ἀναγνώρισις) A moment in a play or other work when a character makes a critical discovery. Anagnorisis originally meant recognition in its Greek context, not only of a person but also of what that person stood for. It was the hero's sudden awareness of a real situation, the realization of things as they stood, and finally, the hero's insight into a relationship with an often antagonistic character in Aristotelian tragedy.

16 Social and Political Athens 5 th century B.C. 497 B.C. Sophocles born in Athens Most well-known of ancient Greek dramatists Athens was a time of great achievements in all forms of art People had a strong sense of patriotism

17 Athens government Government was a democracy run by elected officials in the form of an open assembly Participation in this democracy was limited to only about 10% of the population Women, slaves, and other non-citizens were excluded

18 Sophocles was member of the ruling class He was, nevertheless, aware of the social inequalities in this society In his plays he repeatedly warned Greeks of the destruction that would come to them as a result of their prejudices and the impoverished conditions that existed for many

19 Objectives for this Unit Identify the ways in which this play demonstrates the unity of time, the unity of place, and the unity of subject Discuss the function and give examples of the following stage conventions of the Greek theater: The Greek chorus Use of messengers to report deaths Use of masks

20 CA State Standards Reading Word Analysis Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and understand word derivations. Reading Comprehension By grade twelve, students read two million words annually on their own, including a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature, magazines, newspapers, and online information. In grades 9 and 10, students make substantial progress toward this goal. Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched.

21 CA State Standards Literary Response and Analysis Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot. Determine Characters traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue and soliloquy Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and incongruities in a text.

22 Literary Terms Simile Metaphor Motif Apostrophe Foreshadowing Irony Characterization

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