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The Trojan Women. Euripides. playwright, librettist, composer, choreographer, producer, but not chief actor born about 480 bce, probably Salamis, of well-to-do family lived Athens? Left 408 for Macedonian court, where died 496

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the trojan women
The Trojan Women

January 21, 2008

Virginia R. Francisco

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January 21, 2008

Virginia R. Francisco

euripides
Euripides
  • playwright, librettist, composer, choreographer, producer, but not chief actor
  • born about 480 bce, probably Salamis, of well-to-do family
  • lived Athens? Left 408 for Macedonian court, where died 496
  • A recluse, not active in public life, unlike predecessors, not personally popular
  • author of 92 plays; 16 tragedies, 1 satyr play survive
  • Only 5 victories (20 plays)

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euripides subjects
Euripides’ Subjects
  • tragedies, tragi-comedies, romantic drama
  • episodic plots in comedies
  • reworking of familiar material
  • new popular style of music highly emotional
  • women in love, babies, children
  • emotions, passions, madness
  • social subjects seen from personal point of view

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other features
Other Features
  • emotionalism
  • sententiousness
  • pathos
  • rhetoric
  • used 3rd actor, added first by Sophocles
  • Most influential of surviving playwrights: Seneca adopted these features and passed them on to the Renaissance
  • reduced role of chorus

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the trojan women6
The Trojan Women
  • 415 bce
  • fifteenth year of Peloponnesian wars
  • Immediately after destruction of Melos
  • third play of trilogy: Alexander, Palamedes, Troades, Sisyphus
  • background familiar from Iliad
  • playwright’s second Hecuba play
  • Trojan point of view
  • anti-Homeric view

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elements of typical tragedy
Elements of typical tragedy
  • Plot of exceptional suffering and calamity
  • Characters ones-like-ourselves
  • Thought
      • nature of human nature
      • conditions of human life
      • consequences of wrongdoing or sin

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Plot
  • based on legend/history of Trojan War
  • plot of suffering, not of action
  • serious threat to life or well-being of protagonist
  • carried out
  • episodes divided by four choral odes

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prologue
Prologue
  • Poseidon, Athena, Hecuba provide exposition
  • and establish thought
  • Troy’s glories contrasted with its present state
  • moral, ethical, social, religious framework established

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prologue so soon to die themselves
Prologue: “so soon to die themselves.”
  • women and children slaughtered
  • virgin priestess Cassandra violated and to be forced into concubinage: Athena is angry
  • Poseidon: fools waste cities, violate the sacred, “so soon to die themselves.”
  • gods must abandon the city: no worshippers left

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prologue this is no longer troy
Prologue: “This is no longer Troy.
  • Hecuba: “this is no longer Troy,” we no longer lords, the mourning song replaces all earlier songs.
  • Barbarism and sacrilege of the victors will be punished.

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parados
Parados
  • Chorus of captive Trojan women
  • horrors of war
  • mourning, fear for future, fear of unknown destination
  • somber, dirge-like poetic rhythm
  • danced in same vein
  • sets mood, ethical, social, historical framework for events

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January 21, 2008

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episode 1
Episode 1
  • Talthybius, an Argive herald
  • news of who is to go to which victor male
  • Cassandra: “she is god’s.”
  • Cassandra’s mad, macabre dance of Hymen—while planning to kill the “groom”
  • Futility of war: for the Greek women, “in their homes are sorrows, too, the very same.”
  • Prophecy of Odysseus’ sorrows to come.
  • Hecuba: “count no one happy before he dies.” “all this misery, and all to come, because a man desired a woman.”

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ode 1
Ode 1
  • song to the death of Troy
  • their own complicity, explicit in their bringing in the horse
  • The horse statue intended as a gift for Athena

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episode 2 andromache
Episode 2: Andromache
  • Andromache’s very young son, Astyanax, the only hope for the future
  • Andromache, Hecuba mourn for city, husbands, sons, freedom
  • but the dead don’t suffer
  • domestic level: Hecuba’s advice on managing her new master
  • Talthybius announces death for Astyanax
  • even this victor pities the mother and is shamed by the murder to come

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ode 2
Ode 2
  • recalls a previous sack of Troy, also by Greeks
  • contrasts lives of Greeks and ruined Trojans
  • announces Athena’s desertion of the Trojan cause

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episode 3 menelaus and helen
Episode 3: Menelaus and Helen
  • Helen’s defense ignoble
  • Hecuba’s response:
  • Women call for Helen’s death
  • Menelaus agrees
  • Hecuba warms against

his taking Helen in his own ship

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ode 3
Ode 3
  • mourning for their losses: festivals, city
  • does the god even notice?
  • sorrow for unburied husbands, their own coming slavery, bereaved children to be enslaved
  • prayer that Menelaus’ ship may never reach home

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episode 4 funeral of astyanax
Episode 4: Funeral of Astyanax
  • Astyanax’ body brought to his grandmother, along with Hector’s shield
  • news that Achilles son and Andromache have sailed for Greece
  • Funeral conducted by the women

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ode 4
Ode 4
  • Song of the Dead
  • interrupted by Hecuba’s vision:
    • “in heaven—there is nothing there for us, only my miseries, only hate for Troy, most hated of cities.”
  • exit of funeral procession

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episode 5
Episode 5
  • very brief
  • Talthybius orders torching of Troy
  • orders women to march to ships
  • orders Hecuba to go with Odysseus’ men

Exodos

Hecuba and Chorus mourn in alternating verses.

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characters
Characters
  • eight speaking, played by three actors:
    • Poseidon and Athena
    • four royal Trojan women
    • Argive men: Talthybius, Menelaus
  • of them, five appear only once.
  • non-speaking soldiers
  • non-speaking child
  • women suffer, men act

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thought
Thought
  • irony of successful wrongdoing of Argives
  • pathos of women’s situation and death of child
  • everyone suffers, including the Argive victors
  • dehumanization of war
  • moral indifference of gods
  • futility, horror and degradation of war, viewed internally

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performance circumstances
Performance Circumstances
  • festival situation of City Dionysia
      • (others Lenea, Rural Dionysias)
  • state support
  • also support of wealthy patrons (choregoi)

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state support
State support
  • theatre
  • prizes
  • poets' honoraria
  • actors fees, costumes

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choregos
Choregos
  • civic, religious duty and privilege
  • chorus fee, training, costumes
  • flute player
  • extras, as for the procession

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production process
Production Process
  • festival controlled by chief civil magistrate: public authority
  • choregoi chosen by lot in July: private cooperation
  • Poet: producer-director+
      • cast actors (until 449)
      • trained chorus, including choreography and singing
      • conducted rehearsals
      • played lead

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city dionysia of 458 bce
City Dionysia of 458 BCE
  • March or early April
  • procession of cult statue from temple to Academy
  • sacrifices, rituals
  • two days of dithyrambs, ending with processions and revels
  • five comedies
  • three days of tragedies with satyr plays

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audience
Audience
  • 15-17 thousand, mostly males,
      • of population 200,000 + 50,000 resident foreigners
  • privileged had honored seats, with backs,
  • others merely stone benches
  • admission free
  • participants in a religious rite
  • spectators at an entertainment
  • citizens at a civic festival, excitable, voluble, volatile, and knowledgeable

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January 21, 2008

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actors and acting
Actors and Acting
  • male amateurs, but increasingly dominant performance element
  • highly trained, especially vocally
      • emphasis enunciation, resonance, flexibility
  • doubling, even tripling
  • males played all roles
  • praised for naturalness, not to be confused with naturalism

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music and dancing
Music and dancing

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likely only 3 actors
Likely only 3 actors

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theatre buildings state public facilities
Theatre buildings: state public facilities
  • evidence
  • important theatres
  • general features
  • Theatre of Dionysus at Athens

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evidence
Evidence
  • few records of theatre buildings
  • architectural remains
  • theatres frequently remodeled and reconstructed during and after the fifth century

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important theatres
Important Theatres
  • Theatre at Thorikos very early
  • Theatre of Dionysus in Athens most frequent performance site
  • Theatre of Epidauros especially well-preserved

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palace of knossos crete
Palace of Knossos, Crete

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general characteristics
General Characteristics
  • sacred shrines, at least at festival times
  • located all over the Greek world
      • including Greek colonies in Asia Minor
  • built in natural bowls

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three elements
three elements
  • orchestra circle
  • skene or scene house
  • auditorium

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theatre at epidauros
Theatre at Epidauros

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theatre of dionysus in athens
Theatre of Dionysus in Athens
  • first performances of tragedy in 534 BCE
  • earliest, audience seated on hillside
  • flat dancing place supported by retaining wall, backfill
  • perhaps altar South side, opposite audience
  • small temple of Dionysus Eleuthereus

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conjectural reconstruction
Conjectural reconstruction

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city of athens
City of Athens

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auditorium of mid fifth century
Auditorium of mid-fifth century
  • wooden benches (early century)
  • separated from skene by paradoi
  • curves around orchestra
  • audience, chorus entered through paradoi

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stone auditorium 330 bce
Stone auditorium (330 BCE)
  • Divided into 13 blocks by 12 stairways

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orchestra or dancing place
Orchestra or dancing place
  • perhaps rectangular in earliest theatre
  • likely circular by time of Agamemnon
  • 66' diameter

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skene or scene building
Skene or scene building.
  • earliest, hut or tent for changing
  • no building required prior to 458 BCE, Orestia
  • probably temporary wooden structure at one side of orchestra
  • different from festival to festival?
  • set in stone after 430

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temporary skene for women
Temporary skene for Women
  • possibly paraskenia
  • unknown number of doors, perhaps 3-5
  • roof for watchman
  • later stone theatre (about 330 B.C.) had paraskenia and 5 doors.
  • perhaps 2 stories, permanent or temporary

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acting place or stage
Acting place or "stage"
  • possibly none other than the orchestra
  • possibly broad steps in front of skene
  • no evidence of raised stage prior to late 4th century BCE
  • no evidence of high raised stage prior to mid-2nd century

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scenery
Scenery
  • no attempt to conceal the skene
  • no evidence of changing scenery
      • 3 other plays produced following Agamemnon
  • perhaps pinakes, but not periaktoi
  • ekkyklema necessary for bodies
  • mechane available, not needed here

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properties
Properties
  • Altar
      • always present?
      • needed to suggest tomb of Agamemnon in Choephoroi
  • Cassandra’s torch
  • Hector’s shield
  • Clothing taken from dead
  • Trumpet
  • no attempt to use all the furnishings of daily life.

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costumes
Costumes
  • essential to identify characters and their status
      • huge theatre, doubling
  • chorus all alike
  • long robe or short tunic, with or without sleeves
  • cloak short or long
  • soft boots
  • appropriate accessories: armor, staffs, crowns, sceptres

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costume evidence
Costume: Evidence
  • late 5th c. evidence only
  • Oinochoe from the Agora

http://didaskalia.berkeley.edu/stagecraft/greek.html

  • Pronomos and Andromeda vases
  • Texts
      • choruses differentiated by ethnicity, occupation
      • Actors distinguished by ethnicity, poverty in rags, mourning

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masks worn by all actors and chorus
Masks worn by all, actors and chorus
  • use in rituals
  • text references
      • differentiation of coloring by ethnicity
      • various hair colors
      • shorn hair for mourning
  • covered entire head
      • appropriate hairstyle, beard, ornaments

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masks evidence
Masks: Evidence
  • experiments of Thespis
  • little contemporary evidence
  • Fragment of about 470
      • no onkos, no gaping mouth, eyes painted in
  • Andromeda vase

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lighting
Lighting
  • daylight
  • torches indicate night, possible in Prologue

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bibliography
Bibliography
  • Allen, James T. Stage Antiquities of the Greeks and Romans. New York: Cooper, 1963.
  • Arnott, Peter D. Greek Scenic Conventions in the Fifth Century, B.C. Oxford: Clarendon, 1962.
  • Bieber, Margarete. History of the Greek and Roman Theatre. 2 ed. Princeton UP: 1961.
  • Butler, James H. Theatre and Drama of Greece and Rome. San Francisco: Chandler, 1972.
  • Flickinger, Roy C. Greek Theatre and Its Drama. 4 ed. Chicago UP, 1936.

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bibliography continued
Bibliography, continued
  • Harsh, Philip Whaley. Handbook of Classical Drama. Stanford UP, 1944.
  • Pickard-Cambridge, Arthur W. Dramatic Festivals of Athens. Oxford: Clarendon, 1953.
  • ----------. Theatre of Dionysus in Athens. Oxford: Clarendon, 1946.

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web sites
Web Sites
  • “Classics and Mediterranean Archaeology.” http://rome.classics.lsa.umich.edu/welcome.html
  • “Didaskalia: Ancient Theatre Today.” http://didaskalia.berkeley.edu/
  • “Dr. J/s Illustrated Mycenae.
    • ”http://nimbus.temple.edu/%7Ejsiegel/sites/mycenae/mycenae.htm
  • “Greek Art and Architecture.” http://www.officenet.co.jp/~yoji/
  • Skenotheke: Images of the Ancient Stage.” http://www.usask.ca/antharch/cnea/skenotheke.html

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