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Criticism and Theory. Part A Before Twentieth Century. Western theatre originated in Athens and its drama has had a significant and sustained impact on Western culture as a whole. City-State of Athens 550-220 B. C.

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Criticism and theory

Criticism and Theory

Part A

Before Twentieth Century


Western theatre originated in Athens and its drama has had a significant and sustained impact on Western culture as a whole.


City state of athens 550 220 b c
City-State of Athens 550-220 B. C. significant and sustained impact on

  • Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, institutionalized theatre as part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honoured the god Dionysus.


  • Tragedy (late 6 significant and sustained impact on thcen BC), Comedy, and the satyr play were the three dramatic genres which emerged in Athens and was exported to its numerous colonies and allies in order to promote a common cultural identity.


Panoramic view of the significant and sustained impact on Hellenic theatre at Epidaurus.


Aeschylus c 524 525 bc c 455 456 bc
Aeschylus significant and sustained impact on (c. 524/525 BC – c. 455/456 BC)


Sophocles (c.497-406 B.C.) significant and sustained impact on


Euripides(c.480-406 B.C.) significant and sustained impact on


Aristophanes significant and sustained impact on


Aristotle 384 322 b c poetics

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) significant and sustained impact on Poetics

Aristotle the biologist

Discusses poetry


All art is mimesis
All Art is Mimesis significant and sustained impact on

  • How is poetry different from other genres which imitate?

    Based on –

  • Media

  • Object, and

  • Mode


Medium of imitation
Medium of Imitation significant and sustained impact on

  • Those which do not use speech

    Harmony and rhythm- instrumental music

    Rhythm alone -dance

  • Those which do use speech

    Prose mimes and Socratic dialogues


Object of imitation
Object of Imitation significant and sustained impact on

  • “mimesis of people doing things”

  • “Better than are found in the world,” eg. Painting - Polygnotus , Literature – Homer, Tragedy in general

  • “Worse than they are found in the world” eg. Painting – Pauson, Literature – Hegemon of Thasos (inventor of parodies), (Nicochares (author of Deiliad), Comedy in general

  • “As they are” eg. Painting – Dionysius, Literature - Cleophon


Mode of imitation
Mode of Imitation significant and sustained impact on

  • Sometimes in narration and sometimes becoming someone else

  • Speaking in one’s own person without change

  • Actually doing things (dramatically)


Thus species of poetry differentiated from other arts which rely on imitation
Thus Species of poetry differentiated from other arts which rely on imitation

  • Through-

  • Media

  • Object, and

  • Mode


Further divisions within the species
Further divisions within the species rely on imitation

  • Representations based on object – eg. People as good- Homer and Sophocles can be said to belong to same class, since both represent people as good

  • Representations based on mode – Sophocles and Aristophanes, since both represent people doing things


Origins of poetry
Origins of Poetry rely on imitation

1. Two natural causes:

  • Mimesis –

  • Human beings have an innate love to imitate

  • And to delight in works of imitation

  • We also enjoy understanding new things

    2. Harmony & rhythm are natural to us


Development of pre dramatic poetry
Development of Pre-dramatic Poetry rely on imitation

  • More serious poets represented noble actions of noble men (praises of gods & men, eg. Illiad & Odyssey in heroic metre)

  • Less serious poets represented actions low-class people (invectives – eg. Homer’s Margites in iambic verse [iambizein meaning, to lampoon])


Development of tragedy
Development of Tragedy rely on imitation

  • Comedy → from phallic songs

  • Tragedy → from dithyramb (a wild choral hymn of ancient Greece, esp. one dedicated to Dionysius)


Evolution of tragedy
Evolution of Tragedy rely on imitation

  • Playwrights

    1. Aeschylus

    • raised actors from one to two

    • Gave importance to speech

    • Made choral part less important

      2. Sophocles

      • added a third actor

      • Introduced screen painting


Evolution of tragedy1
Evolution of Tragedy rely on imitation

II. Amplitude

As tragedy developed from satyr-style, its plots were at first slight and expression comical.

Took a long time to acquire dignity.


Evolution of tragedy2
Evolution of Tragedy rely on imitation

  • III. Metre

    • Trochaic tetrameter→changed to trimeter (esp. in dancing sessions)

    • In speech iambic came to be used


Evolution of tragedy3
Evolution of Tragedy rely on imitation

  • IV. Number of episodes – as plays evolved episodes increased in number


Dev of comedy
Dev. Of Comedy rely on imitation

  • Mimesis of people worse than normal

  • “what we find funny is a blunder that does no serious damage”

  • Comedy – was not taken seriously, so clear history obscure

  • Chorus for comedy not officially provided by the Archon for a long time. So, volunteers acted as chorus in comedies


Dev of comedy1
Dev. Of Comedy rely on imitation

  • Making of comic plots must have acc. to Aristotle first come from Sicily

  • Ist Athenian to drop the lampoon form & construct generalized stories or plots - Crates


Epic vs tragedy both being mimesis in verse of noble persons
Epic vs. Tragedy rely on imitation(both being mimesis in verse of noble persons)

Tragedy

Epic

  • Action

  • Metre, harmony, rhythm

  • Fixed in time – “as far as possible attempting to keep to the limit of one revolution of the sun”

  • Narration

  • Metre alone, without music

  • Unfixed in time


Chapter ii nature of tragedy
Chapter II rely on imitationNature of Tragedy

  • Definition:

    “imitation of a serious, complete action, in speech pleasurably enhanced, the different kinds of enhancement occurring in separate sections, in dramatic, not narrative form, through pity and fear effecting the purgation of these emotions.”


Analysis def of tragedy questions answers
Analysis: rely on imitationDef. of Tragedy: Questions & Answers-

  • What is tragedy?

    What does it represent?

  • What is the manner in which it is communicated?

  • What form does it employ?

  • What function does it fulfill?


Qualitative elements of tragedy there are six elements of mimesis in a tragedy
Qualitative elements of Tragedy rely on imitationThere are six elements of mimesis in a tragedy:

  • Objects of mimesis-

    • Plot (muthos) – “most imp”

    • Character (ethos) – “that which makes plain the nature of moral choices of persons”

    • Thought (dianoia) – “passages in which they prove or disprove something”

  • Media of mimesis-

    • Song (melos)

    • Diction (lexis)

  • Means (mode) of mimesis-

    • Spectacle (opsis) – “least imp”


Plot rely on imitation(Most important acc. To Aris.)

  • End of human life is in doing, not just in being

  • There could be no tragedy without action

  • If speeches depicting character are put one after another it won’t be tragedy, but tragedy with plot, even tho’ deficient in other aspects, would be a tragedy

  • Peripeteiai and anagnorisisare parts of plot

  • Novices find it most difficult to construct plot


Characteristics of plot
Characteristics of Plot- rely on imitation

  • Plot = “mimesis of a whole action”; so it has to have these implications of wholeness –

  • Order (beg, mid & end)

  • Amplitude (not too big or small)

  • Unity

  • Probable and necessary connection

    • (“that is why poetry is at once more like philosophy & more worthwhile than history”

    • Worst plots are episodic plots- no connection

  • surprise


Elements of plots
Elements of Plots rely on imitation

  • Peripeteia (Reversal of action)

  • Anagnorisis (Recognition)

  • Pathos “an act involving destruction or pain”


Types of plot
Types of plot rely on imitation

  • Simple (without peripeteia and anagnorisis)

    2. Complex (with peripeteia and anagnorisis)


Quantitative divisions of tragedy
Quantitative Divisions of Tragedy rely on imitation

  • Prologue –”complete section of a tragedy before the entrance of the chorus”

  • Parode(choral part)

  • Episode (complete section of a tragedy not followed by a choral ode

  • Kommos(lament shared by the chorus and the actors)

  • Stasimon(choral part)

  • Exode


Chapter iii excellence in tragedy
Chapter III Excellence in tragedy rely on imitation

  • Plot

  • What should be the aim in composing plots ?

    • What should be avoided in composing plots ?

  • What gives tragic effect?


Chapter iii excellence in tragedy 1 plot
Chapter III Excellence in tragedy : (1) Plot rely on imitation

  • What should be the aim in composing plots ?

    Arouse pity & fear

    So –

  • Tragedy should not show

    • Virtuous men passing from good to bad fortune

    • Bad men passing from bad to good fortune

    • Quite wicked men passing from good to bad fortune

This does not arouse pity or fear , but only a sense of outrage

this would satisfy our human feeling, but would not arouse pity & fear

This is less tragic than anythng, since it has none of the necessary requirements: it neither satisfies our human feeling nor arouses pity or fear


Excellence in tragedy tragic hero
Excellence in tragedy :Tragic hero rely on imitation

  • One who is not pre-eminent in moral virtue, who passes to bad fortune not thru’ vice or wickedness, but bec. of some piece of ignorance, & who is of high repute & great good fortune.

  • Eg. Oedipus and Thyestes & the splendid men of such families


Excellence in tragedy good plot
Excellence in tragedy : Good Plot rely on imitation

  • Single line of dev., not a double one

  • It should go from good fortune to bad and not vice versa

  • This change should be bec of ignorance, not vice

  • By a better, not worse man


Best tragedy
Best Tragedy rely on imitation

From good to bad

In comedy

Bitter enemies are reconciled & nobody is killed


Excellence in tragedy source of tragic effect
Excellence in tragedy : Source of Tragic Effect rely on imitation

  • Not from spectacle, but from plot

  • What effects pity & fear?

  • Done by people closely connected with each other


Tragic action
Tragic Action rely on imitation

  • Best: A character abt to do a gruesome deed recognizes reality and desist from committing the deed

    • Contradiction to Aris’ theory of tragedy as that which ends in sadness

  • Second best: character does it in ignorance, & recognizes his victim afterwards

  • Doing it

  • Worst: have knowledge & intention, yet do not do


Excellence in tragedy 2 character garlic
Excellence in tragedy: (2) Character rely on imitation (GARLIC)

  • Good (Morally)

    • (…a woman is good and so is a slave, though one is perhaps inferior, & the other generally speaking low grade!!!)

  • Appropriate

    • (…it is not suitable for a woman to be brave or clever in this way!!!)

  • Real, that is, life-like

  • Logically constructed

  • Idealized

  • Consistent


Deus ex machina
Deus ex rely on imitationmachina

  • Denouement should arouse not from deus ex machina, but from the character

  • deus ex machina should be used for things outside the play eg. oedipus


Digression on various topics of interest to the practising playwright
Digression on Various Topics of Interest to the rely on imitationPractising Playwright

  • Recognition

    • Least artistic – recognition by visible signs, birthmarks etc.

    • Next worse – poet himself reveals—

    • By means of memory

    • Better – recognition based on reasoning

    • Best – arising from actions


Digression on various topics of interest to the practising playwright1
Digression on Various Topics of Interest to the rely on imitationPractising Playwright

II. Poetic imagination

The poet should, more than anything else, put things before his eyes….

…so far as possible one should also work it out with the appropriate gestures.


Digression on various topics of interest to the practising playwright2
Digression on Various Topics of Interest to the rely on imitationPractising Playwright

III. Complication & Denouement (desis & lusis)

Complication – “the section from the beginning to the last point before …[the hero]… begins to change to good or bad fortune

Denouement – the part from the beginning of the change to the end


Digression on various topics of interest to the practising playwright3
Digression on Various Topics of Interest to the rely on imitationPractising Playwright

IV. Species of Tragedy

  • Complicated tragedy depends entierely on peripeteia & anagnorisis

  • Tragedy of pathos

  • Tragedy of character

  • Tragedy of spectacle


Digression on various topics of interest to the practising playwright4
Digression on Various Topics of Interest to the rely on imitationPractising Playwright

V. Do not take a large chunk of epic matter for a tragedy

VI. Surprise satisfies our human feeling & so is tragic

VII. Chorus should be regarded as an actor


Excellence in tragedy 3 mimesis of intellect
Excellence in tragedy: (3) mimesis of intellect rely on imitation

  • Will deal with it in Rhetoric –

    (thank God!)

    3 functions of thought:

  • To prove or disprove something

  • To arouse emotions

  • To maximise or minimise the imp. of something


Excellence in tragedy 4 verbal expression diction
Excellence in tragedy rely on imitation (4) verbal expression (diction)

  • Grammatical terms

  • Ways of classifying nouns

  • Poetic style


Epic vs tragedy
Epic rely on imitationvs tragedy

Epic:

Length

Meter

More chance for improbable


Answers criticism against homer
Answers criticism against Homer rely on imitation

  • Epic & tragedy

  • Tragedy better, bec-

    • Tragedy has all elements of epic + spectacle & song

    • Reality of presentation felt even while reading

    • Tragic imitation requires less space

    • Unity of action


Questons plato vs aristotle
Questons rely on imitation: Plato vs Aristotle

  • Plato

  • Instruction

  • Imitation

  • Emotion

  • Bad effect on actors

  • Aristotle

  • Pleasure

  • catharsis


Short notes
Short notes rely on imitation

  • Plot

  • Aris’s def of tragedy

  • Hamartia

  • Mimesis

  • Catharsis

  • Tragic hero

  • Relevance of Aristotle


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