Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex Greek Drama: Classical tragedy
6th century B.C.E. • Religious Festivals: Athens • Festival of Dionysus • Originally: chorus of masked dancers singing in honor of a god. • 535 B.C.E. Thesbis of Icaria introduced first actor. • Wore masks and costumes and took the part of many characters. Classical Greek Drama Basics
Religious • Deep questions • Role of fate in human life • Relationship btwn mortals and gods • 6th-5th centuries B.C.E. still religious purpose • Tragedy: • from the Greek word for goat • Goat sacred animal to the god Dionysus. • Sacrificed the goat during the “play” • Later only simulation Greek Drama: History
Plays became more entertaining • Writers competed for prizes • 1,000’s of spectators • 100’s performed, fewer than 35 survived. • Greatest writers: • Aeschylus: added 2nd actor • Dialogue btwn characters • Sophocles: added a 3rd actor • Plots more intriguing and complex • Euripides: • Stage effects • More realistic portrayals of people History, cont.
Based on legends and myths Dramatic Irony Suffering: Bravely, passionately, terribly Plays
Composed more than 120 plays, 7 survived Took 1st prize at Dionysian dramatic festival 18 times. (more than any other playwright) Enlarged chorus (12 to 15 members) Painted scenery 3rd actor Powerful language Unforgettable characters Sophocles
Dark view of human life Life’s pain and sorrow Heroes=potential of human beings Potential leads to ruin Triggers pity and terror in audience. Aristotle : Oedipus Rex is a perfectly made tragedy Sophocles’ Tragedies
The Greek Chorus: - a company of actors who comment (by speaking or singing in unison) on the action in a classical Greek play (They were usually citizens of high rank, this was a perk;) ) • Ode: A song of classical Greece, often accompanied by a dance and performed at a public festival or as part of a drama. This means that any ode in the play was sung by the Greek Chorus. • Anagnorisis: The moment of recognition (When the tragic hero realizes his flaw) • Catharsis: An emotional outpouring, resulting in purification. Greek Drama terms
Deus ex Machina: (literally "god from the machine") is a god brought on the stage by a mechanical device or, by extension, "an improbable contrivance in a story characterized by a sudden unexpected solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem. • Peripeteia: is a reversal of circumstances, or turning point. • Hamartia: a character’s flaw or error. (tragic flaw) • Hubris: overweening pride, self-confidence, superciliousness, or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution. In ancient Greece, hubris referred to actions which, intentionally or not, shamed and humiliated the victim, and frequently the perpetrator as well. It was most evident in the public and private actions of the powerful and rich. The word was also used to describe actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in theprotagonist's downfall. Terms, cont.