Greek Theatre Outline

(Summary of HB Anthology Unit 1, Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, and Aristotle's Poetics

Origins in ritual

Classical Athens, 5th century BC

Theatre only held as part of religious events, ie City Dionysia

Comedy festival:  Lenaia Theatron -- Ancient Greek theatre buildings Performers Dramatic structure for Ancient Greek tragedies

Sophocles (496-406 BC)Sophocles' bust

Oedipus Rex  c. 431 BC

Aristotle's Poetics  (384-322 BC, Poetics c. 335 BC)

Literature, theatre and music are imitative processes (mimesis);  different genres vary by means (genre differentiation), objects (goals/telos), methods/modes (narrative vs. dramatic)

Greek tragedy:  imitates superior people, characters use dramatic mode
Greek tragedy's poetic meter: iambic trimeter

Definition of tragedy: "Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action which is serious, complete, and of some magnitude; in language which is beautiful, with each of its varieties found separately in the parts; enacted by the persons themselves and not presented through narrative; through a course of pity and fear effecting the purgation of those emotions."

6 elements of tragedy, in descending order of importance:

Plot is the goal (telos) of tragedy;  plot, character, and theme are what tragedy imitates (mimesis).  Diction and music are the medium of the imitation.  Spectacle is the manner of the imitation.

Principles of plot

Character of Protagonist Really good link on Ancient Greek theatre:
Recreating the Theater of Dionysus in Athens

Video of Epidaurus

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