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Dramatic Competitions

Dramatic Competitions

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Dramatic Competitions

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  1. Dramatic Competitions Theater of Dionysus

  2. Role of Drama in Athens • Comedies and tragedies were performed in the city as part of an important civic religious festival called the City Dionysia. • The festival lasted several days and included several types of performance, all of which were competitions for important civic honor and prizes • Dramas usually focused on the city and city life of Athens

  3. Role of Drama pt 2 • The audience and most performers were citizens • The judging of the dramatic competitions followed Athenian democracy—any citizen could participate • Judges were selected randomly from the audience (giving the gods a chance to participate). An urn from each of the 10 tribes contained the names of citizens eligible to serve as judges; to prevent bribery, one name was drawn from each urn at the start of the festival.

  4. The Competitions • Dithyrambs were performed by two choruses, one composed of 50 men and one of 50 boys, who sung and danced in honor of Dionysus. Each of the 10 tribes of Athens put on a dithyramb; each set of choruses was trained and financed by a choregos, a wealthy citizen who did this as part of his civic duty. The prize went to the choregos and the tribe he represented. • Comedies: Initially 3 and eventually 5 comic playwrights, each presenting one comedy, competed for the comic prize. Comedies were set in the contemporary era and often caricatured living as well as fictional Athenians. • Tragedies and Satyr Plays: Three tragic playwrights, each presenting 3 tragedies and a single satyr play on a separate day, competed for the prize in tragedy. Like tragedies, satyr plays were set in the mythological past and featured gods and heroes, but the chorus of the this type of drama was always composed of satyrs, boisterous, half-animal companions of Dionysus whose comical predicaments contrasted with the serious tone of the preceding tragedies.

  5. Structure of Greek Tragedy • Prologue: Spoken by one or two characters before the chorus appears. The prologue usually gives the mythological background necessary for understanding the events of the play. • Parodos: This is the song sung by the chorus as it first enters the orchestra and dances. • First Episode: This is the first of many "episodes", when the characters and chorus talk. • First Stasimon: At the end of each episode, the other characters usually leave the stage and the chorus dances and sings a stasimon, or choral ode. The ode usually reflects on the things said and done in the episodes, and puts it into some kind of larger mythological framework. {NOTE: For the rest of the play, there is alternation between episodes and stasima, until the final scene.} • Exodos: At the end of play, the chorus exits singing a processional song which usually offers words of wisdom related to the actions and outcome of the play.

  6. Dionysus • The son of Zeus and Semele, a woman of Thebes • God of wine and madness, vegetation, and the theatre • Theater performances often had religious significance in the worship of Dionysus [punishment for wrongs, tragic death, loss of identity {masks on actors & the chorus}]

  7. Agamemnon Background Information • Why did Paris Steal Helen [aka Helen of Troy]? • Paris was the youngest son of Priam and Hecuba. When he was born, it was foretold that he would be the cause of the downfall of Troy, as told in a dream of Hecuba. He was sent out of Troy in hopes that the message would be false. • An apple inscribed "To the fairest" was claimed by the goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. They all asked Zeus to decide on who should receive the apple. Zeus asked Paris to be the Judge. • Paris, being a mortal, could not decide. However, each of the three goddesses decided to make it easier for him. They would each offer him gifts, and he would get the gifts form the goddess he chose.

  8. What Paris was offered • Hera offered Paris power. She offered to give him all of Asia, and great power. He thought this offer was great, but he decided to hear the other offers first before deciding. • Athena offered him great wisdom, and great luck in battle. He would be the best strategist in the world. He loved this idea, but he waited to hear Aphrodite's offer. • Aphrodite offered him two things. The first was his body [his life], and the second was the love of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Since Paris's first love was women, he decided to pick Aphrodite's offer. Hera and Athena vowed vengeance. • Paris soon went home to Troy after that, and with Aphrodite's help, he managed to send a fleet of ships, break into Menelaus' palace in Greece and kidnap Helen. He also took a lot of treasure with him.

  9. Why would everyone go after Helen when she was stolen from Menelaus? • Everyone wanted to marry Helen because she was the most beautiful woman in Greece and her father Tyndareus feared there would be war amongst the suitors. • Odysseus suggested that each suitor swear an oath to stand behind whomever Tyndareus selected and be ready at any time in the future to defend the favored bridegroom against any wrong done to him in respect to the marriage. Everyone agreed to these terms. • It may be important to realize that Helen really had little say-so in this arrangement. Menelaus was a political choice on her father's part. He had wealth and power, mainly through his brother Agamemnon, but for Helen, he did not offer the good looks and glamour of some of her other suitors.

  10. Why does Aegithus want revenge on Agamemnon? • The House of Atreus suffers from an ancient curse. • As part of the working out of this curse, Agamemnon's father, Atreus, had quarreled violently with his brother Thyestes. • As a result of this quarrel, Atreus had killed Thyestes's sons and fed them to him at a reconciliation banquet. • Thyestes, overcome with horror, produced a child with his surviving daughter in order to have someone to avenge the crime. • The offspring of that sexual union was Aegisthus.

  11. Why does Clytaemnestra [Agamemnon’s wife] want revenge on Agamemnon? • Agamemnon calls his troops together to go after Helen, but they commit a sin and the Goddess punishes them by stopping the wind so they cannot set sail. • In order to appease the Goddess, Agamemnon must sacrifice his eldest daughter Iphigenia. • Clytaemnestra cannot forgive Agamemnon for killing their daughter in order to retrieve the runaway Helen.

  12. Major Theme of Revenge • Agamemnon wants revenge for the wrong Paris did to his brother Menelaus by stealing Menelaus’ wife Helen. • Clytaemnestra wants revenge for the killing of her daughter Iphigenia. • Aegithus wants revenge for the slaughter of his family. • Agamemnon is part of a three part play series. It shows how unchecked revenge simply causes more death and pain to those in power and everyone around them.

  13. Understanding Drama • Types of Drama • Tragedy: [solemn, personal, religious & social issues – often ends in death] • Tragic Flaw [our hero often suffers from great pride (hubris) and this leads to a grave mistake leading to tragedy] • Catharsis [Pity & Fear: The audience pities the actors suffering on stage and fears they too might make a mistake and suffer a similar fate] • Comedy: [humorous/solving – often ends in a marriage] • Farce = Physical [think three stooges] • Satire = Morals/ Manners [makes fun of society and its ways]

  14. Analyzing Drama: Setting • Scenery- (location, time period, social class) • Lighting-(time, season, mood, action, character) • Costumes- (age, class, profession, ethnicity) • Props-(have significance) In Agamemnon, remember we are in Ancient Greece and Agamemnon is shown as king and Clytaemnestra is queen [thus they wear fancy robes and have beautiful masks].

  15. Dramatic Structure • Exposition ( who, what, where, when) • Introduces our main characters, where and when they are, and what is happening. • Conflict (Problem of main character) • In Agamemnon, Agamemnon returns from Troy but both Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus want revenge on him. • Climax (Pivotal point in action) • In Agamemnon, this is where Cassandra tells of Agamemnon’s death happening off stage. • Resolution ( How does it all work out?) • In Agamemnon, at the end, Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus succeed but the son of Agamemnon, Orestes, vows revenge on them for his father’s death. Thus the circle of revenge will continue.

  16. Characters • Types of Characters • Protagonist vs. Antagonist • Confidant (friend or servant) • Stock characters: comic, victim, braggart, pretender, fool • We learn about characters • Externally through names, appearance, physique, speech, accent, dress, status, class, education, friends, family, interests. • Internally through thoughts, feelings, emotions.

  17. Dramatic Irony, Theme and Overall Message • Dramatic Irony : Contrast between what the characters know and what the audience knows. • In Agamemnon, the audience and chorus knows Clytaemnestra is up to no good, but Agamemnon does not. • Theme (s): Repeated ideas or messages throughout the play. • In Agamemnon, the greatest theme is revenge. • Overall Message : What the playwright wants the audience to think about the theme(s). • In Agamemnon, the playwright wants the audience to realize that the cycle of revenge must stop.