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What makes something tragic, instead of merely sad?

Introduction to Greek Theatre & Antigone

Ms. Keener English II

A story that is written and meant to be acted out in front of an audience Theater comes from the Greek word theatron, or seeing place, where Greek audiences say to watch drama

Combination of two genres:

Origins of Greek Drama

Myth: stories that illustrate and explain a society Epic: long, narrative poem telling deeds of a hero

Began as songs and dances performed at religious ceremonies in honor of the god Dionysis, the god of wine and procreation Sophocles: greatest ancient Greek playwright Plays dealt with morality

Comedy & Tragedy

Comedy: isnt necessarily funny Deals with average or below average people During the play, they enjoy rise in status from bad circumstances to good Rise in status is due to Fortune, or The Fates Characters speak in everyday language Tragedy: isnt necessarily tragic Deals with higher than average people: kings, heroes, gods During the play, the suffer a fall from good fortune Fall is due to Fate Characters speak in elevated language

the Chorus
isnt just repeated over & over again in a song

Made up of 15 elder actors in a drama Think of the chorus as another actor The Choragos is the leader of the chorus During the drama, the chorus sings odes to:
Separate one scene from the next Give background information Offer reflections on events in the drama

Strophe: during the ode, the chorus moves from right to left Antistrophe: during the ode, the chorus moves from left to right

Aristotles Rules for Tragedy

a few things all good Tragedies should have

Hamartia: the tragic flaw that leads to the heros downfall Hubris: arrogance before the gods Reversal: the opposite of what the hero intends to happens, happens Recognition: The main character recognizes his tragic flaw and why he must die, just as he is about to do so

Greek drama terms to know

Prologue: introductory scene, revealing background information Parados: opening song in which the chorus explains the central conflict Exodus: the final scene; the exit

Audience Seating

Stage where the actors performed Side stage where the chorus danced from left to right Stage for the scenery

The Stage
Three Main Portions of Greek Theatre: Skene Portion of stage where actors performed (included 1-3 doors in and out) Orchestra Dancing Place where chorus sang to the audience Theatron Seating for audience


Sophocles (496-406 B.C.E.)

Authored approximately 120 dramas Age 16 led the boys chorus over the Persian Victory Model Greek citizen-served as imperial treasurer and state commissioner, elected to the office of the general twice Priest of Asclepias Sophocles did not act in his own plays Contributions to the development of theater: o Introduction of third actor o Reduction of chorus size which led to greater emphasis on the character o Introduced painted scenery o Introduced a new style of music to plays o Created characters that are more realistic, not god-like thus reinforcing the lessons of the play

The Characters and the Play

Antigone: protagonist; strong minded daughter of Oedipus Ismene: gentle older sister of Antigone Polyneices/Eteocles: Antigones brothers Creon: Antigones uncle, new king of Thebes Eurydice: wife of Creon Haimon: son of Creon and Eurydice, betrothed to Antigone Teiresias: blind prophet Chorus: citizens of Thebes Choragos: leader of the chorus Sentry: soldier

The play begins with the news that Antigones brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, have killed each other. Creon is the new king and he has announced that Polyneices will be left to rot where his body lies. This edict goes against Greek religious practices and Antigone is determined to give her brother the burial he deserves.

Cast of Characters
Make a chart showing the relationships between the characters. Refer to your notes and page 649 for assistance. You will have 10 minutes to complete the task.

When, if ever, is it right to go against a rule or an authority? Explain your answer. Are rules meant to be broken? Or should you follow the rules all the time.