the classical greece democracy and greek tragedy n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
The Classical Greece, Democracy, and Greek Tragedy PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
The Classical Greece, Democracy, and Greek Tragedy

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 130

The Classical Greece, Democracy, and Greek Tragedy - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

The Classical Greece, Democracy, and Greek Tragedy. Week 13-14. The classical period. The three major Greek tragedians. Aeschylus— Agamemnon Sophocles— Oedipus the King Euripides— Medea. AESCHYLUS 524?-456 B.C. Epitaph of Aeschylus.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'The Classical Greece, Democracy, and Greek Tragedy' - Albert_Lan

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
the classical period
The classical period

Alice Y. Chang

the three major greek tragedians
The three major Greek tragedians

Aeschylus— Agamemnon

Sophocles— Oedipus the King

Euripides— Medea

epitaph of aeschylus
Epitaph of Aeschylus

“This tomb hideth the dust of Aeschylus, an Athenian, Euphorion’s son, who died in wheat-bearing Gela; his glorious valour the precinct of Marathon may proclaim, and the long-haired Medes, who knew it well.”

  • ~Aeschylus, Fragment 272
the creator of tragedy
the creator of tragedy

The earliest documents in the history of the Western theater are the seven plays of Aeschylus that have come down to us through the more than two thousand years since his death.

490s bce
490s BCE
  • When he produced his first play in the opening years of the fifth century B.C., the performance that we know as drama was still less than half a century old, still open to innovation—and Aeschylus, in fact, made such significant contributions to its development that he has been called “the creator of tragedy.”
dionysia festival
Dionysia Festival

After the defeat of the Persian invaders (480-479 B.C.), as Athens with its fleets and empire moved toward supremacy in the Greek world, this spring festival became a splendid occasion.

The Dionysia, as it was now called, lasted for four or five days, during which public business (except in emergencies) was suspended and prisoners were released on bail for the duration of the festival.

an open air theater
an open-air theater
  • In an open-air theater that could seat seventeen thousand spectators, tragic and comic poets competed for the prizes offered by the city.
three tragedies and a satyr play
three tragedies and a satyr play

Poets in each genre had been selected by the magistrates for the year.

On each of three days of the festival, a tragic poet presented three tragedies and a satyr play (a burlesque on a mythic theme), and a comic poet produced one comedy.

  • The three tragedies could deal with quite separate stories or, as in the case of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, with the successive stages of one extended action.
  • By the time this trilogy was produced (458 B.C.) the number of actors had been raised to three; the spoken part of the performance became steadily more important.
an equilibrium concerto
an equilibrium (~concerto)

In the Oresteia an equilibrium between the two elements of the performance has been established.

The actors, with their speeches, create the dramatic situation and its movement, the plot;

the chorus, while contributing to dramatic suspense and illusion, ranges free of the immediate situation in its odes, which extend and amplify the significance of the action.


The first play, Agamemnon, was followed at its performance by two more plays, The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides, which carried on its story and theme to a conclusion.

The theme of the trilogy is justice, and its story, like that of almost all Greek tragedies, is a legend that was already well known to the audience that saw the first performance of the play.


This particular legend, the story of the house of Atreus, is rich in dramatic potential, for it deals with a series of retributive murders that stained the hands of three generations of a royal family, and it has also a larger significance, social and historical, of which Aeschylus took full advantage.

tribe polis
Tribe  polis

The legend preserves the memory of an important historical process through which the Greeks had passed: the transition from tribal institutions of justice to communal justice, from a tradition that demanded that a murdered person’s next of kin avenge the death to a system requiring settlement of the private quarrel by a court of law (the typical institution of the city-state, which replaced the primitive tribe).


When Agamemnon returns victorious from Troy, he is killed by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, who is Agamemnon’s cousin.

Clytemnestra kills her husband to avenge her daughter Iphigenia, whom Agamemnon sacrificed to the goddess Artemis when he had to choose between his daughter’s life and his ambition to conquer Troy.

Aegisthus avenges the crime of a previous generation, the hideous murder of his brothers by Agamemnon’s father, Atreus.

standards of the old system justice
standards of the old system, justice

The killing of Agamemnon is, by the standards of the old system, justice; but it is the nature of this justice that the process can never be arrested, that one act of violence must give rise to another.

this red figure crater
This red-figure crater
  • The Libation Bearers presents the revenge taken on Clytemnestra and Aegisthus by Orestes, Agamemnon's son.
  • This red-figure crater (c470 BCE) shows Orestes striking down Aegisthus as Clytemnestra tries to intervene with an axe.
  • Electra stands at far right, urging him on.
insoluble dilemma
insoluble dilemma
  • Agamemnon’s murder must be avenged too, as it is in the second play of the trilogy by Orestes has acted justly according to the code of tribal society based on blood relationship, but in doing so he has violated the most sacred blood relationship of all, the bond between mother and son.
  • The old system of justice has produced an insoluble dilemma.
the ending of the second play
The ending of the second play

At the end of the second play they are only a vision in Orestes’ mind—“You can’t see them,” he says to the chorus.

“I can; they drive me on. I must move on.”

But in the final play we see them too; they are the chorus, and they have pursued Orestesto the great shrine of Apollo at Delphi where he has come to seek refuge.

the furies
The Furies

At the end of The Libation Bearers , Orestes sees a vision of the Furies.

They are serpent-haired female hunters, the avengers of blood.

Agamemnon had a son to avenge him, but for Clytemnestra there was no one to exact payment.

furies erinyes eumendies
Furies/ Erinyes/ Eumendies
  • female, chthonic deities of vengeance or supernatural personifications of the anger of the dead.
  • They represent regeneration and the potency of creation, which both consumes and empowers.
  • A formulaic oath in the Iliad (iii.278ff; xix.260ff) invokes them as “those who beneath the earth punish whosoever has sworn a false oath.”
  • Burkert suggests they are "an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath".
the task of the furies
The task of the Furies
  • This task is taken up by the Furies, who are the guardians of the ancient tribal sanctities;
  • they enforce the old dispensation when no earthly agent is at hand to do so.
  • Female themselves, they assert the claim of the mother against the son who killed her to avenge his father.
the trial
The trial
  • The arguments employed in the trial may not strike us as compelling, and may appear disappointing as an answer to the problems of guilt and justiceraised by the trilogy.
the establishment of the court
The establishment of the court
  • According to this argument, the fact of the court’s establishment is more important than the particular judgment in Orestes’ case.
  • This is the end of an old era and the beginning of a new.
  • The court institutes a system of communal justice, which punishes impersonally and has at last replaced the inconclusive anarchy ofindividual revenge.
human institutions
Human institutions

Besides, the trilogy not only is concerned with the history of human institutions but also makes a religious statement.

The sequence of murderous acts and counter-acts over three generations, leading to an important advance in human understanding and civilization, can be seen as the working out of the will of Zeus.

athenian democracy
Athenian democracy

The ending of the Eumenides, then, when the Furies call blessings down on Athens, gives a vision of a city ruled by law and living in harmony with its land and its gods.

In this story of progress painfully won, Aeschylus offers Athenian democracy its charter myth just as it is entering the era of its greatest achievements and its greatest risks.

athena erichthonius athenians
Athena  Erichthonius  Athenians
  • In myth Athena gave her name to the City (Athens) after being chosen over Poseidon as protector of the land.
  • She was the surrogate mother of the autochthonous child, Erichthonius, from whom the Athenians sprang.

Gaia (the earth) hands her newborn son Erikhthonios over to the goddess Athene, who will foster him as the founding king of Athens. Gaia is shown only partially risen from the earth, being inseparable from her native element. Zeus, holding a lightning bolt, and two goddesses, possibly Hera (?} and Nike with a fillet, stand as witness.

the city states of greece
  • The geography of Greece – a land of mountain barriers and scattered islands – encouraged this fragmentation.

Alice Y. Chang

the expansion of greece 750 580 bce
The expansion of Greece750-580 BCE
  • Starting with colonies at Ischia and Cumae around the Bay of Naples in c. 750 BCE, the Greeks founded cities all around the Mediterranean, from the south of France to Naucratis in Egyptian Delta, to solve problems of over-population at home.

Alice Y. Chang

athens and sparta
  • By the beginning of the fifth century B.C. the two most prominent city-states were Athens and Sparta.
  • These two cities led the combined Greek resistance to the Persian invasion of Europe in the years 490 to 479 B.C.
  • The defeat of the solid Persian power by the divided and insignificant Greek cities surprised the world and inspired in Greece, and particularly in Athens, a confidence that knew no bounds.

Alice Y. Chang

  • Athens was at this time a democracy, the first in Western history.
  • It was a direct, not a representative, democracy, for the number of free citizens was small enough to permit the exercise of power by a meeting of the citizens as a body in assembly.

Alice Y. Chang

the athenian acropolis
The Athenian Acropolis

Alice Y. Chang

  • Athens is the symbol of freedom, art, and democracy in the conscience of the civilized world.
  • The capital of Greece took its name from the goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge.

Alice Y. Chang

earliest coinage electrum
Earliest coinage: Electrum
  • Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver, with trace amounts of copper and other metals. It has also been produced artificially.
  • The ancient Greeks called it 'gold' or 'white gold', as opposed to 'refined gold'. Its color ranges from pale to bright yellow, depending on the proportions of gold and silver.
  • The gold content of naturally occurring electrum in modern Western Anatolia ranges from 70% to 90%, in contrast to the 45–55% of electrum used in ancient Lydian coinage of the same geographical area.
  • This
sophocles antigone
Sophocles’ Antigone
  • “Make your profits, import electrum from Sardis if you wish, and gold from India” (Anti 1037-1039).
an athenian owl
An Athenian Owl
  • Silver Tetradrachm, with the Owl standing on a olive twig, a crescent on the upper left and "ΑΘΕ" in front and Athena wearing an ornamented helmet, 454 - 449 BC.
  • Sparta, on the other hand, was rigidly conservative in government and policy.
  • Because the individual citizen was reared and trained by the state for the state’s business, war, the Spartan land army was superior to any other in Greece, and the Spartans controlled, by direct rule or by alliance, a majority of the city-states of the Peloponnese.

Alice Y. Chang

persian war and peloponnesian war
Persian War and Peloponnesian War
  • These two cities, allies for the war of liberation against Persia, became enemies when the external danger was eliminated.
  • The middle years of the fifth century were disturbed by indecisive hostilities between them and haunted by the probability of full-scale war to come.
  • As the years went by, this war came to be accepted as “inevitable” by both sides, and in 431 B.C, it began. It was to end in 404 B.C, with the total defeat of Athens.

Alice Y. Chang

the athenian empire
The Athenian Empire
  • Before the beginning of this disastrous war, known as the Peloponnesian War, Athenian democracy provided its citizens with a cultural and political environment that was without precedent in the ancient world.
  • The institutions of Athens encouraged the maximum development of the individual’s capacities and at the same time inspired the maximum devotion to the interests of the community.

Alice Y. Chang

solon the lawmaker of athens
Solon: The Lawmaker of Athens
  • an Athenianstatesman, lawmaker, and elegiac poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens. His reforms failed in the short term yet he is often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy.

Alice Y. Chang

  • There were limits on who could participate in the democracy.
  • The “individual Athenian” of whom Pericles spoke was the adult male citizen. In his speech, he mentioned women only once, to tell them that the way for them to obtain glory was not to be worse than their nature made them, and to be least talked of among males for human progress from savagery to civilization.

Alice Y. Chang

polis common hellenic heritage
Polis common Hellenic heritage
  • The Greek cities never lost sight of their common Hellenic heritage, but it was not enough to unite them except in the face of unmistakable and overwhelming danger, and even then only partially and for a short time.
  • They differed from each other in custom, political constitution, and even dialect: their relations with each other were those of rivals and fierce competitors.

Alice Y. Chang

total democracy athenian democracy in action
Total Democracy: Athenian Democracy in action
  • The role of the assembly
  • After 500 BCE the Assembly met at the Hill of the Pnyx, on which stood a plinth.

Alice Y. Chang


Athena, maiden goddess of wisdom and the crafts, was very aptly the special deity of Athens, a city Aristotle later called the city hall of wisdom.

Alice Y. Chang

greek tragedy and sophocles

Greek Tragedy and Sophocles

A brief introduction


由演員為觀眾表演故事。說得更簡單的話:戲劇是由甲扮演乙﹐有丙觀看。這定義與另一本戲劇史中寫的一樣:凡能滿足以下條件的就是劇場(theatre): A represents X while S looks on.(Fischer-Lichte 257). 甲(A)是演員﹐乙(X)是故事裡的人物﹐丙(S)是觀眾。



皮西斯瑞特斯 Peisistratus





在祭祀中,合唱隊(Chorus)會表演歌舞祭祀酒神戴奧尼索斯(Dionysus),這種歌舞被稱為「酒神頌」 。



他是天神宙斯 (Zeus) 與凡女西蜜莉 (Semele) 生下的兒子,宇斯的妻子希拉 (Hera) 出於嫉妒將他擲入火中,幸被仙女救出而得重生。



古希臘悲劇的表現主題不在於悲劇性的故事本身,而是在於表現崇高壯烈(sublime and magnificent)的英雄主義思想。



Tragedy= Goat song

The word tragedy literally means "goat song," probably referring to the practice of giving a goat as a sacrifice or a prize at the religious festivals in honor of the god Dionysus.











dionysus festival
Dionysus Festival
  • 有幾世紀之久,希臘戲劇只在既四戴歐尼色斯(Dionysus)的節慶中演出。祭祀他是為了確保春天的復甦。他代表著是上許多非理念的力量。
  • 在早期的戴歐尼色斯禮拜中,酗酒和縱慾被視為是宗教衝動的一部分,而加以接受。
  • 雖然這種陋習已經逐漸昇華,但是禮拜中求取的豐腴的基本目的仍然保存未變。
  • 戴歐尼色斯的崇拜是在西元前十三世紀左右,自小亞細亞傳入希臘的。
  • 到了西元前第七、第八世紀時,再祭拜他的節慶中已經有歌隊舞蹈者的競賽了。隨辦著這些舞蹈的是狂喜的「戴神頌」(dithyramb),稱戴歐尼色斯。按照亞里斯多德的說法,戲劇就是由這些讚美和舞蹈蛻變而來的。
  • 希臘戲劇的第一個確切紀錄見之於西元五三四年,這一年「城市的戴神節」組織改變,在各項活動中加入了悲劇演出競賽。
  • 戲劇在此以前勢必早已存在,否則不會又有此競賽。這時其中唯一可考的戲劇家就是賽士比斯(Thespis),也就是第一次悲劇競賽的冠軍得主,並且,由於他也是第一個?是人所知的演員,以後演員們就常被叫做賽士比斯之徒(Thespians)
和諧: 理性與非理性
  • 在宗教的領域中,竟然包括了非理念力量,這顯示希臘人相信對自然的每一部分都應適當崇敬,否則災厄就會隨之而產生。
  • 希臘人始終努力,要在所有相衝突的力量之間無論是內心的還是外在的,達成和諧。
the three major greek tragedians1
The three major Greek tragedians




Aeschylus (悲劇之父)






Aeschylus (悲劇之父)





oresteia divine and human justice
Oresteia Divine and human Justice
  • 要見出愛斯奇勒斯的力量,最號莫過於談他的三部曲,通常被稱作「奧瑞斯提亞」(Oresteia)的,這是戲劇文學上偉大的里程碑之一。
  • 愛斯奇勒斯無時不關注人與神和宇宙的關係。而「奧瑞斯提亞」就範示了他的這種關注,因為他在劇中處理了公理觀念的茁長問題。在前兩個劇本中,劇中人物把公理與個人的私仇等量齊觀;在最後的劇本中個人的公理尺度終國家的法制所取代。這種發展的呈現,完全經由一個有力的故事,其中滿富謀殺、復仇與悔恨,在人類觀念史中這發展具有革命性的意義。





sophocles 496b c 406b c
索福克里斯(Sophocles, 496B.C. - 406B.C.)
  • 生於一個富裕家庭,當時正適逢雅典城邦的黃金時期,雅典人活於滿懷自信的年代,他們的哲學家相信「人是衡量一切的標準」。
  • 但過分的自信令他們傲慢而又熱忱於爭名逐利。當時詭辯學應運而生,處士橫議,傳統的信仰受到挑戰。索福克里斯對這種風尚深感憂慮,在劇本中,他反複出了他的勸導與警告。








ㄧ:阿傑克斯(Ajax c.450B.C)

二:安蒂岡尼(Antigone c.442B.C)

三:屈欽妮亞(Trachiniae c.413B.C)

四:伊底帕斯王(Oedipus Rex c.425B.C)

五:伊蕾特拉(Electra c.410B.C)

六:菲洛特提斯(Philoctetes c.409B.C)

七:伊底帕斯在柯隆納斯(Oedipus at Colonus


  • 減低了歌隊在戲劇中的重要性,但更重要的是他首先引進了戲劇中的第三個演員,因而展開了前所未有的複雜性。
  • 在他的戲劇中,最關心的是人際關係的問題,而非艾思奇利斯的戲劇所關注的人與神關係的問題,劇中的悲劇英雄大都因自身的性格特點而促使悲劇的發生,而非像艾思奇利斯的悲劇般常涉及宗教力量的。
  • 他本人曾說過,他筆下的悲劇英雄都是「他們應當如此」(they ought to be)。
  • 而比起艾思奇利斯的劇本,索福克里斯的作品更注重技巧高潮的建立與片段的完美發展,其中尤以《伊狄帕斯王》最為出色,堪稱索福克里斯甚至是悲劇史上的代表作。

















aristophanes menander
  • 雖然古希臘的戲劇有好幾個世紀的歷史,留存至今的卻只有五個劇作家的作品愛斯奇勒勒斯(Aeschyles),索發克里斯(Sopholes),優里皮底斯(Euripides),阿里斯陶芬尼斯(Aristophanes)與米南得爾(Menander)。
  • 而他們的大量劇作中,僅存的也不過四十五個其中三十二個悲劇,十二個喜劇,一個撒特劇(satyr p Lay),除了其中四個之外,所有的這些劇本都做於西元前第五世紀。

















recurrent themes in tragedy
Recurrent Themes in Tragedy


Von Reden, Sitta. Exchange in Ancient Greece. London: Duckworth, 1995.

Alice Y. Chang

  • There is a general reflection upon the tension between nature and civilization which thought to be controlled by marriage, sacrifice, and agriculture.

Alice Y. Chang

  • There is a vital concern about the relationship between oikos and polis and their conflicting claims to the loyalty (philia) of their members;

Alice Y. Chang

  • There is an extended debate on the relationship between Athenian law and divine nomos;

Alice Y. Chang

  • Most plays contain a self-reflexive debate on linguistic exchange, the power of logoi and their manipulative force on society and its individual members;

Alice Y. Chang

  • They are framed in a discourse which uses Homeric imagery and mythology for the discussion of contemporary problems.

Alice Y. Chang

all these themes are interlocked
All these themes are interlocked.
  • This not only ties together scenes which seem at first unconnected, but also gives a complex meaning to every individual image.

Alice Y. Chang

the dance of ares
The Dance of Ares
  • The plains of Boeotia, called “the dance of Ares (Mars)” because many battles were fought there.
  • Alexander, by destroying Thebes in 335 BCE, shocked Greece into accepting his power.
  • The end of classical Greece: 337-322 BCE

Alice Y. Chang


Alice Y. Chang

philoctetes is leaving the island of lemnos
Philoctetes is leaving the island of Lemnos
  • A cave had been Philoctetes’ home since the Greeks abandoned him on Lemnos.
  • Philoctetes sits clutching his magic bow in his left hand.
  • Above right is Odyssues.
  • To the left are Athene and Neoplotemos.

Alice Y. Chang

  • Lemnos or Limnos is an island in the northern part of the Aegean Sea.
  • It is part of the Greek prefecture of Lesbos and has a considerable area, about 477 km².
a sacred island
A sacred island
  • For ancient Greeks, the island was sacred to Hephaestus, god of metallurgy, who— as he tells himself in Iliad I.590ff— fell on Lemnos when his father Zeus hurled him headlong out of Olympus.
  • There, he was cared for by the Sinties, according to Iliad or by Thetis (Apollodorus, Bibliotheke I:3.5), and there with a Thracian nymph Cabiro (a daughter of Proteus) he fathered a tribe called the Cabiroides.
  • Sacred rites dedicated to them were performed in the island.
lemnos by paul hetherington
  • The position of Lemnos in the northern Aegean, where it lies midway between the tip of the Mount Athos promontory and the coast of Asia Minor, meant that control over it was always sought after. Any ships entering or leaving the Hellespont (the Passage of Romania, now the Dardanelles) could do so only with the knowledge (and often the permission) of the current rulers of Lemnos.
  • The frequency with which their identity might change is a symptom of its strategic importance to the Hellenic would throughout its history.
  • The island is now administered under the nomos of Lesbos.
two sectors
Two sectors
  • Lemnos has an area of 476 sq km and, like a number of the Aegean islands, its shape indicates its volcanic origins, two bays to north and south almost dividing the island in two;
    • the smaller, eastern, sector was where the capital of the island in antiquity, Hephaestus, was situated,
    • while on the coast of the western sector, larger and much more mountainous with the highest peak of Mount Skopia reaching 430 m, the medieval and modern capital of Myrina is located.
lemnian earth
Lemnian earth
  • The low-lying and flatter areas of the island are quite fertile, and produce a variety of crops.
  • A tradition, already current in antiquity and still existing in the 20th century, credited Lemnian earth, excavated on one day each year, with the power of healing many kinds of wounds; it was exported all over the Hellenic world.
figured both in homeric legend and in hellenic history
figured both in Homeric legend and in Hellenic history
  • In antiquity Lemnos figured both in Homeric legend and in Hellenic history.
  • Herodotus (4.145) related how the Argonauts, who according to legend had arrived on the island and left progeny there, were driven out of Lemnos three generations later by the Pelasgi.
  • Later (5. 26) he described how Lemnos, with Imbros, was taken from the Pelasgi by Otanes, who had already occupied Byzantium and Chalcedon.
  • The stronghold of Myrina figured early in the history of the island, as when Miltiades, having called on the Pelasgi to leave the island—a call which the townspeople of Hephaestus obeyed—was defied by the inhabitants of Myrina, whom he besieged (no doubt secure in their rock-perched fortress) before eventually ejecting them by force.
  • When the ARGONAUTS, in their way to Colchis, came to Lemnos, they found out that all males had been murdered.
  • For the Lemnian women, having learned that their husbands had taken Thracian wives, resolved to kill all men in Lemnos.
philoctetes and odysseus
Philoctetes and Odysseus
  • Only Philoctetes excelled me with the bow in the land of the Trojans, when we Achaeans shot." (Odysseus to the Phaeacians. Homer, Odyssey 8.220).
  • "Destruction shall have end when you are dead, the author of our bane." (Philoctetes to Paris. Quintus Smyrnaeus, The Fall of Troy 10.229).