Theatre History: Greek Drama

January 2013
 Western Drama began in 6th Century BC
 Worship of the Greek god Dionysus
 Start of Spring
 Vines and grapes begin to grow.
 Grapes = WINE and Harvest
 Festival of Dionysus made up of Theatre Performance
 To honor Dionysus’ death, a group of chanters danced
around the altar on which a goat was sacrificed.
 Group of Chanters = CHORUS
 Chorus members were called goat-singers.
 Goat-Song called TRAGOS.
 Thespis- First Actor to step out of chorus and
begin conversation.
 THESPIS = THESPIAN = Actor (Theatre
 Trilogy – Three plays related by theme, myth, or
 Satyr Play- The fourth play was irreverent, bawdy
burlesque .
 Bawdy- Indecent, raunchy.
 Performances occurred on hillsides.
 Orchestra – Circular area where the chorus danced.
 Wooden (stone) seats.
 Skene- Small hut stone building used to change
costumes and masks, then second story added and
used to perform.
 Machina - Crane-like hoist used to make actor fly.
 Characters lowered by Machina usually represented s
god from Mount Olympus who came to earth to settle
human affairs.
 Deus Ex Machina - god from the machine. This term
is also used to indicate an artificial plot device to
resolve story difficulties.
 Chorus members were integral parts of Greek plays.
 Chorus served to explain the situation, bring audience
up to date, to make a commentary on the action.
 Greatest Greek Tragedy Writers:
 Aeschylus
 Sophocles
 Euripides
 Expanded the number of actors and reduced the size
of the chorus.
 He left us the only surviving trilogy- The Oresteia
 Refined plot structure to create plot strucutre.
 Power of Gods VS Free Will
 Great Tragedian – Wrote Oedipus Rex and Antigone
 Became more interested in people’s every day lives
than religious views.
 Pathos- human sorrow and compassion.
 Author of Trojan Women
and Medea.
 Write the keyword for each question followed by the
1. Give me the name of Medea’s husband.
What action is the King of Corinth planning to take
in regards to Medea and her children?
Who does Medea hate (aside from her husband)?
Why is Creon banishing Medea from Corinth?
 Write the keyword for each question followed by the answer.
 1. Creon, the King, banishes Medea from Corinth. What favor does
Medea ask of Creon?
 2. Medea is planning her revenge against the king, princess, and her
husband Jason. How is she going to attain her revenge?
 3. Medea claims that she rescued and helped Jason in his
adventures. Jason denies it and says that -------------- is the one who
blessed and helped him throughout his adventures.
 4. Why is Jason marrying the princess?
**bonus: " it is not right that the seed of Sisyphus and Aeson should
gloat over you [Medea], the daughter of a noble sire and descendant
of the Sun". What does this sentence tell you about Medea?
 Write down keyword or phrase followed by answer:
 1. Why was Aegeus visiting the oracle at Delphi?
2. What promise did Aegeus make with Medea?
3. How is Medea going to poison the princess?
4. According to Medea, what is the correct thing to do
with her children?
*Bonus: who is Phoebus?
 Write down keyword or phrase followed by answer:
 1. What news did the messenger give to Medea?
2. How does Medea kill her children?
3. Jason rushes to Medea and finds his dead children.
According to Medea, who is at fault for their murder?
4. What happens to Medea at the end of the play? Explain.
**Bonus: what city is she going to?
****Bonus: who is her father's father?