Antigone. Sophocles and Greek Theater. Greek Theater Subject Matter. Aristotle said the plot must be “serious.” Plays drawn from traditional myth and legendary figures with whom the audience was already familiar.
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Antigone Sophocles and Greek Theater
Greek TheaterSubject Matter • Aristotle said the plot must be “serious.” • Plays drawn from traditional myth and legendary figures with whom the audience was already familiar. • Dramatic irony developed: the audience know the story, but the characters in the plays did not.
Unity of Time, Place, & Action • One day: all happens within a single day • One place: the scene did not change • One basic story: no subplots • Greeks hated violence shown on stage so all violent actions occur off stage with messengers reporting it.
Thespis added an actor to the chorus (thus actors are called “thespians” Prestigious competitions: *Three playwrights (tragedians) compete *Each enter 3 tragedies (trilogy) plus a 4thsatyr play (short, comic sketch) Origins: Festival of Dionysus • Part of religious festivals in Athens, held once a year to honor the god Dionysus (god of wine and fertility) • Began as hymns & prayers led by a priest and a large chorus
Used a huge outdoor amphitheater on hillside Held approximately 20,000 people Only held during daytime Only three actors played all parts All actors were men (called hypocrites) Performances
Theater’s Structure • Raised platform stage with a skene, a long building that served as a dressing room and background. • The orchestra sat between the skene and audience
Costumes • Wore masks which • had a cone-shaped • projection to function • as a megaphone • Wore elevated shoes • Wore long, graceful, flowing robes • Actors changed costumes and masks for each character • Colors of costumes were symbolic (green = mourning; purple = royalty)
Purpose of the Chorus • Set the mood; accompanied by a flute • Add beauty • Give background information to audience • Divide action into scenes • Reflect on events and actions • Present central themes • Give advice to the characters
Composition of the Chorus • The choragus was the leader of the chorus (he engaged in dialogue with the characters) • The chorus was made up of 15 men • Commented on action and sang and danced between scenes • Considered the ideal spectator, representing the response of ordinary citizens to the tragic events of the play.
The 5th century B.C. (400’s) An explosion in the arts, philosophy, and government Idea of democracy developed at this time Over 1,000 tragedies were written during the period The Golden Age of Greece Socrates • Only 32 complete plays have survived.
Three Great Tragedians • Aeschylus(525-456 B.C.) the “Father of Tragedy” • Euripides(480-406 B.C.) wrote Medea and only surviving satyr play, Cyclops • Sophocles(480-406 B.C.) Aeschylus Euripides
Greek Tragedy Basic Concepts/ Vocabulary • Tragedy= the downfall of a dignified, superior character involved in historically or socially significant events. • Protagonist = the tragic hero a. must have some control and responsibility for the events resulting from his actions; b. not a true villain; usually means well but makes wrong decisions. • Antagonist = the opposing character in conflict with the protagonist
More Greek Tragedy Terms • The action builds from one event to the next and finally to a catastrophe that leads to a disastrous conclusion. • Twists of fate have key role in hero’s destruction • Most action takes place off stage & is reported by various characters or related to the audience by the chorus. • Tragic irony= discrepancy between what a character/ speaker intends to do or means and the consequences of that action or speech
Aristotle’s Theory of the Tragic Flaw • A tragic hero has a tragic flaw, a defect that brings about or contributes to his downfall. • This flaw may be poor judgment, pride, weakness, or an excess of an admirable quality. • Hero does not recognize the flaw and its consequences until it is too late to change the course of events. • Hubris is the flaw of excessive pride, causing the hero to believe that he knows more than he actually does and leads to his fall.
Wrote more than 100 plays; only 7 survive Won at the Dionysian dramatic festival more than any other Greek playwright (24 times) Rival of Euripides, who also died in 406 B.C. Was well educated, skilled in wrestling, dancing, and playing the lyre Most known for Oedipus Rex, the prequel to Antigone Antigone was written in 441 B.C. after Sophocles was already well known Sophocles
Oedipus is the son of Laius and Jocasta, rulers of Thebes Laius, told that his son would kill him, abandons baby Oedipus in the hills. Oedipus was adopted and raised in Corinth. Oedipus left Corinth and kills an old man on the road. He goes to Thebes & marries the newly widowed queen. He finds out that he has killed his father (the old man on the road) and married his mother. Jocasta, his wife and mother, hangs herself in shame. Oedipus exiles and blinds himself to pay for his sins. Antigone joins him in his exile until he dies. Oedipus, the play (background for Antigone)
Laius Jocasta Teiresias Antigone Thebes Corinth Eteocles Eyes Shepherd Oracle Polyneices sphinx plague Ismene Know these characters/ terms for the test
Background for the opening of Antigone • Creon, Jocasta’s brother, becomes regent of Thebes and takes care of Oedipus and Jocasta’s children, until the sons are grown • Oedipus and Jocasta’s sons (Eteocles and Polyneices) are to take turns ruling Thebes • Eteocles refuses to let Polyneices have his turn • Polyneices with Argive army attacks Thebes
Leading up to Antigone’s Opening • Both brothers are killed; Creon is king of Thebes • 1st action is to order that Eteocles be buried with honors for defending Thebes • 2nd action is to rule that Polyneices be left unburied and unmourned for invading Thebes. • Antigone begins in media res, in the “middle of things” (towards the end of the story and at the beginning of the final conflict) all this past information is given in flashbacks
Moral law supersedes civil law Youth should learn from Age/ Age should learn from Youth Males in society are ranked above females Fierce devotion inspired by love may cloud judgment Uncompromising pride leads to tragedy All choices have consequences Themes in Antigone
Conflicts • the main conflict is: individual/ Divine Law (conscience) Vs. society/ Civil Law (authority) • Specific Conflicts Antigone/ Ismene Creon/ Haimon Creon/ sentry Antigone/ herself Antigone/ Creon