Life in Ancient Greece • Greece reached its peek in the 6th and 5th centuries, specifically in Athens
Athens: The Place to Be: • Named after the goddess Athena • Birthplace of Democracy • Center of commerce and arts
Athens was on the cutting edge of… • Philosophy • Art • History • Politics • Architecture
Athens Sculptures • Realistic figures in bronze and marble • Perfect human form • Influence still felt today • Our desire to look perfect has its origins in Greek sculpture
Physical Excellence • Emphasis on physical training • No standing army, so this ensured “instant soldiers”
Physical Excellence • Athletic games were held in Olympia, the Olympics • Olive wreaths, a symbol of peace and a major industry
2. Greek Tragedy • Ancient Greeks invented the art of drama • Some plays from Ancient Greece are still performed today
Modern Words from Tragedy • Orchestra • Thespian • Drama • Dialogue • Skene • Comedy • Tragedy
Greek Tragedy • Wealthy Athenians subsidized plays • Plays performed annually at the spring festival of Dionysus
Greek Tragedy: Dionysus • March/early April • Disrupted city life and could not be contained—the ultimate block party! • Tragedy competition • Satyr (means, Risque) competition
Greek Tragedy: Playwrights • Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.) • Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) • Euripides (485-406 B.C.)
Greek Tragedy: Plays • Going to the plays was exceptionally popular • Day-long Performances • Theater was a sacrament, a form of worship
Greek Tragedy: Plays • Plays were performed in large semi-circle, outdoor amphitheaters made of stone or wood • 15,000 to 17,000 spectators (all male)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OywHbxZze8o&feature=PlayList&p=E0E10A7C0B790392&index=0http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OywHbxZze8o&feature=PlayList&p=E0E10A7C0B790392&index=0 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwOR4y7JDrY&feature=PlayList&p=E0E10A7C0B790392&index=8 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLDXzJEgIVk&feature=PlayList&p=E0E10A7C0B790392&index=11
The Theater of Dionysus in Athens, Greece Restored by the emperor Nero in 68 A.D. (Computer recreation)
Theater of Epidauros (built 330 B.C., near modern day Nauplion, Greece)
Greek Tragedy: Scenery and Costume • Minimal Scenery and props • Platform shoes, and elongated togas with high waistbands • Masks stood for characters: • Grief -Happiness • Anger -Bearded King • Old Man -Young Girl
Masks in Greek Theater • Masks portray character types or character emotions • Fit over the head • Wig attached • Large mouth openings for speech
Greek Tragedy: Theatrical Machines (mechanai) The ekkyklema (“a wheeled-out thing”) was a cart on wheels which carried a dead body onto the stage. It was sacrilegious to show a character actually dying on the stage.
Greek Tragedy: Theatrical Machines (mechanai) • The mechane (machine) was a crane-like machine that could lift a character up as if flying, or could carry an actor, usually in the guise of a god, to the top of the skene.
Greek Tragedy: Who could be in the Chorus? • males • trained by a poet to sing and dance • twelve or fifteen, depending on when the play was written • the leader was called the coryphaeus (“head man” or “leader”) • All men • Chanted or danced
Greek Tragedy: Chorus • Chorus • Provided “emotional bridge” • How? Through its five functions.
Greek Tragedy: Chorus • Five Functions of Chorus • Set the mood • Represent common person • Takes a moral side/stand • Will warn characters • Expresses itself in common language, which is usually in contrast with hero
Greek Tragedy: Actors • Who could be an actor? • Males
Greek Tragedy: Actors • One to three actors • For most of the 5th century, no more than three were used
Greek Tragedy: Conventions • Play Observed Aristotle’s unities of time, place, and action • Time: Took place during a twenty-four hour period • Place: One setting • Action: No subplots
Greek Tragedy: Conventions • All violence took place off stage • Emotions of characters most important elements of play
Greek Tragedy: Tragic Hero/Protagonist • Worthy • Mature • Imperfect • Disaster will befall him/her • Believes in his freedom to make choices • Hubris • Suffers • Transfiguration—Becomes a better person • His/her tragedy causes a life reflection
Greek Tragedy: Structure • Encroachment • Bites off more than he can chew
Greek Tragedy: Structure • Complication • Forces build up against the hero • Events become so complex that no single action can resolve them
Greek Tragedy: Structure • Reversal • Clear to audience that hero’s expectations are mistaken • Hero might have a suspicion as to where his actions will take him. Usually, he/she is ignorant though.
Greek Tragedy: Structure • Catastrophe • Moment hero realizes full guilt • Hero realizes helplessness in the hands of the gods
Greek Tragedy: Structure • Recognition • Chorus suggests a larger order and sense of life exists beyond the hero’s downfall • Catharsis
What is Catharsis? • Literally means “to purge” or “to purify”—to cleanse. • For a tragedy, catharsis references • The release of pent up emotions or energy (many times negative)
3. Antigone • Theme: What is the higher law: humankind’s or the gods’?
Family Tree (Immediate) • King Oedipus (deceased) • Queen Jocasta (deceased) • Eteocles (son) • Polynices (son) • Antigone (daughter) • Ismene (daughter)
Family Tree (Extended) • King Creon (Uncle: Jocasta’s brother) • Queen Eurydice (Aunt) • Haemon (Cousin and Fiance)