the golden age of ancient greek theatre n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theatre PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theatre

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 65

The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theatre - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theatre. the origins of drama. The Origins Of Drama. Created to celebrate Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, and ritual madness and ecstasy.  He was also known as  Bacchus , the name adopted by the Romans. drama.

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

The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theatre

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 origins of drama
The Origins Of Drama
  • Created to celebrate Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, and ritual madness and ecstasy. 
  • He was also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans
  • The term comes from a Greek word dran meaning "action," which is derived from “to do.”
  • from the name Thespis, the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play
the chorus
the chorus
  • 15 men
  • Sang lyric poetry
  • Performing was regarded as a civic duty
  • Wore robes and masks
functions of the chorus
Functions of the chorus
  • an agent: gives advice, asks, takes part
  • establishes ethical framework, sets up standard by which action will be judged
  • ideal spectator - reacts as playwright hopes audience would
  • sets mood and heightens dramatic effects
  • adds movement, spectacle, song, and dance
  • rhythmical function - pauses / paces the action so that the audience can reflect.
the theatre of dionysus
The TheatreofDionysus
  • The first plays were performed in the Theatre of Dionysus, built in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens at the beginning of the 5th century
  • These theatres proved to be so popular they soon spread all over Greece.
  • Plays were performed out-of-doors.
  • The side of the mountain was scooped out into a bowl shape, something like our amphitheatres today, and tiers of stone seats in concentric semi-circles were built on the hill.
  • These theatres often seated as many as 20,000 spectators, with a special first row being reserved for dignitaries.
  • The theatron (literally, "viewing-place") is where the spectators sat. The theatron was usually part of hillside overlooking the orchestra and often wrapped around a large portion of the orchestra.
  • The orchestra (literally, "dancing space") was


circular. It was

a level space

where the chorus

would dance, sing,

and interact with

the actors who were on the stage (called the Proskenion - proh-SKAY-nee-on) in front of the skene. In the center of the orchestra there was often an altar.

  • The skene - SKAY-nay
  • (literally, “tent") was the building

directly behind the stage in

which costumes were stored, and was usually

decorated as a palace or building, depending on the needs of the play. It had at least one set of doors, and actors could make entrances and exits through them. Origination of the word “scene.”

the actors
The Actors
  • All of the actors were men. No girls allowed.
  • The actors played multiple roles, so a wooden, cork, or linen mask was used to show the change in character or mood.

The masks were worn for many reasons :

      • 1. Visibility
      • 2. Acoustic Assistance
      • 3. Few Actors, Many Roles
      • 4. Characterization

Modern-day replicas


Comedy (Servant or Herald )

Tragedy (Weeping Chorus)

working in the space
Working in the Space
  • Because of the distance between actors and the audience, the actors used broad gestures and histrionic speech.
  • The actor made himself taller by wearing thick-soled shoes and a high head piece.
  • The masks assisted in projecting the actor’s voice through a type of inside megaphone.
  • Consisted of standard Greek attire
  • Chiton: a sleeveless tunic belted below the breast
  • Himation: draped around the right shoulder
  • Chlamys or short cloak: worn over the left shoulder

The deus-ex-machina DAY-uhs eks ma-kuh--nuh(god from the machine) was a crane-like device occasionally used for lowering in a god to assist the protagonist

in neatly solving his problems.

the city dionysia festival
The City Dionysia Festival
  • In the sixth century BC, the Athenian ruler, Pisistratus, established the 'City Dionysia,' a festival of entertainment held in honor of the god Dionysus.
  • This festival featured competitions in music, singing, dance, and poetry.
  • Playwrights presented a series of three tragedies (a trilogy).
  • Interspersed among the three plays in the trilogy were satyr plays.
the city dionysia festival1
The City Dionysia Festival
  • The entire city would be in attendance.
  • All other businesses not directly involved with the 6-day festival would shut down so that everyone could attend.
  • The government even offered financial assistance to those who could not afford to attend.
the myths why they were written
The Myths – Why they were written
  • Explained the unexplainable
  • Justified religious practices
  • Gave credibility to leaders
  • Gave hope
  • Polytheistic (more than one god)
  • Centered around the twelve Olympians (primary Greek gods)
explained the unexplainable
When Echo tried to get Narcissus to love her, she was denied.

Saddened, she shriveled to nothing, her existence melting into a rock.

Only her voice remained.

Hence, the echo!

Explained the Unexplainable
to justify religious practices
Dionysian cults in ancient Greece were founded to worship Dionysus, god of grapes, vegetation, and wine. “All hail the party god!”To justify religious practices
to give credibility to leaders
Used myths to create family trees for their leaders, enforcing the made-up idea that the emperors were related to the gods and were, then, demigods.To give credibility to leaders
to give hope
The ancient citizens of Greece would sacrifice and pray to an ORACLE.

An oracle was a priest or priestess who would send a message to the gods from mortals who brought their requests.

To give hope

What is the origin of hope?

After unleashing suffering, famine, disease, and many other evils, the last thing Pandora let out was HOPE.

mount olympus
Mount Olympus…

…Where the



Who are the Olympians?

King of gods







  • Zeus’s brother
  • King of the sea
  • Earthquakes
  • Horses


  • Brother to Zeus and Poseidon
  • King of the Underworld (Tartarus)
  • Husband of Persphone


  • God of war
  • Goddess of wisdom
  • Practical arts
  • War



  • God of fire
  • Craftspeople
  • Metalworkers
  • Artisans
  • God of the sun
  • Music
  • Poetry
  • Fine arts
  • Medicine
Messenger to the gods




Thieves & scoundrels



  • God of Wine
  • Partying (Revelry)


  • Queen of gods
  • Women
  • Marriage
  • Childbirth



  • Goddess of Harvest
  • Agriculture
  • Fertility
  • Fruitfulness
  • Mom to Persephone
  • Goddess of Hearth
  • Home
  • Community



  • Goddess of love
  • and beauty
  • Goddess of hunting and the moon.
types of greek drama
Types of Greek Drama
  • Comedy
  • Satyr
  • Tragedy
  • Comedy and tragedy were the most popular types of plays in ancient Greece. Hence, the modern popularity of the comedy and tragedy masks to symbolize theatre.
word origin
Word Origin
  • The word “comedy” comes from the Greek word “komos” which means “band of revelers.”
  • Not admitted to Dionysus festival until very late into the Greece’s golden age - 487 B.C.
  • The first comedies were mainly satirical and mocked men in power for their vanity and foolishness
  • The first master of comedy was the playwright Aristophanes
  • Style: exaggerated, farcical, focus on sensual pleasures
satyr plays
Satyr Plays

These were short plays performed between the acts of tragedies. They made fun of the plight of the tragedy's characters.

The satyrs were mythical half-human, half-goat servants of Dionysus.

word origin1
Word Origin

Does the term Satyr remind you of any modern day term?

The Satyr and the Satyr plays spawned the modern word “satire.”

  • The word tragedy came to be derived from the Greek tragos (goat) and ode (poem). Tragedy literally means goat song or goat poem.
why read tragedy
Why read Tragedy?
  • Strength of character
  • Perseverance
  • Courage
  • Inspiration
  • The dignity of the human spirit

Aristotle’s “Poetics,” an essay about drama in which he discusses tragedy and the tragic hero


Traits of the central character of a tragedy – tragic hero

  • of the Elite Class / mighty figure
  • suffers a Downfall / reversal of fortune
  • Neither Wholly good
  • nor wholly evil
  • Downfall is the
  • result of a
  • Fatal Flaw
  • Endures uncommon
  • suffering
  • Recognizes the consequences of his actions

Traits of the a tragedy

  • Misfortunes involve characters who are related or who are friends
  • Tragic actions take place offstage
  • Central Character has a moment
  • of recognition – “Oh, now I get it!”
  • Audience experiences pity and fear
  • Pity and Fear leads to a catharsis
  • Frequently used messengers to
  • relate information
  • Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of
  • events
  • Focus was on psychological and ethical attributes of characters,
  • rather than physical and sociological
sophocles 496 406 bc
Sophocles (496-406 bc)
  • His plays are more character-driven rather than choric
  • He is credited with adding a third character
  • His works include: Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Electra
  • Sophocles’ surviving plays (written after 440 B.C.) are deeply troubling
  • These plays depict characters caught up in unsolvable dilemmas that test their faith in divine and human justice
oedipus rex
  • one of the world’s greatest tragedies
  • Said by Aristotle to be the perfect tragedy
  • The audience was familiar with the myth of Oedipus, so there would be dramatic irony when watching the play
oedipus rex background
OEDIPUS REX - Background
  • Sophocles opens his play with a situation very familiar to the people of Athens:

a plague

with no

end in


themes symbols
Themes & symbols
  • Sight vs. Blindness
  • Fate vs. Free Will
  • Action vs. Reflection
  • The Quest for Identity or Self
  • The Nature of Innocence and Guilt
  • The Abuse of Power
  • Sins of the Father
  • Even the Mightiest Can Fall
  • Crossroads
  • Swollen foot
the oedipus myth
The Oedipus Myth
  • The myth of Oedipus — which also appears briefly in Homer — represents the story of a man's doomed attempt to outwit fate.
  • Sophocles‘s tragedy dramatizes Oedipus‘s painful discovery of his true identity, and the despairing violence the truth unleashes in him.
  • Warned by the oracle at Delphi that their son will kill his father, King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes try to prevent this tragic destiny.
the oedipus myth1
The Oedipus Myth
  • Laius pierces his son's feet and gives him to a shepherd with instructions to leave the baby in the mountains to die.
  • But pitying the child, the shepherd gives him to a herdsman, who takes the baby far from Thebes to Corinth.
  • There, the herdsman presents the child to his own king and queen, who are childless.
  • Without knowing the baby's identity, the royal couple adopt the child and name him Oedipus ("swollen-foot").
the oedipus myth2
The Oedipus Myth
  • Oedipus grows up as a prince of Corinth, but hears troubling stories that the king is not his real father.
  • When he travels to Delphi to consult the oracle, Oedipus learns the prophecy of his fate, that he will kill his father and marry his mother.
the oedipus myth3
The Oedipus Myth
  • Horrified, he determines to avoid his terrible destiny by never returning home.
  • Near Thebes, Oedipus encounters an old man in a chariot with his attendants.
  • When the old man insults and strikes him in anger, Oedipus kills the man and his servants.
the oedipus myth4
The Oedipus Myth
  • The old man, of course, is Oedipus‘s father, Laius, but Oedipus does not realize this.
  • Outside Thebes, Oedipus meets the monstrous Sphinx, who has been terrorizing the countryside.
the oedipus myth5
The Oedipus Myth
  • The Sphinx challenges Oedipus with her riddle: "What goes on four feet at dawn, two at noon, and three at evening?" Oedipus responds with the right answer ("A man") and the monster destroyed herself.
the oedipus myth6
The Oedipus Myth
  • The Theban people proclaim him a hero, and when they learn that Laius has been killed, apparently by a band of robbers, they accept Oedipus as their king.
  • Oedipus marries Jocasta, and they have four children. Thus, despite all his efforts to

prevent it,



the dreadful


the final curtain
The Final Curtain
  • By the time of Sophocles’s death in 406 BC, the golden era of Greek drama was ending.
  • Athens was overrun in 404 BC by the Spartans and was later torn apart by constant warring with other city states, eventually falling under the dominion of Alexander the Great and his Macedonian armies.
  • Theatre went on but did not return to the same creative heights until Elizabethan England two millennia later.