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Lecture 3

Course Code
Laura Jane Wey

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Aeschylus: Prometheus Bound
Classical Greek drama
It's a drama play
Wrote before Aristotle and Plato
Quite early in Western literature
"father of tragedy"
Actor would speak, ask questions, comment and make chorus hang together
Now having a back and forth
With second actor you have the potential for conflict
Bringing verbal to the forefront
Showing the down playing of the musical element
Credited with expanding the cast from one to two actors and cutting the chorus from 50 to 12
Basically a festival in honour of Dionysus
Three tragedies and 1 satire play
Producing all four at the same time
Had drama contests with 3 poets competing
Had a better "batting" average
Very impressive, and in a certain sense Sophocles was highly impressive
Won first prize at city Dionysia 13 times (Sophocles: 18; Euripides: 5)
Aeschylus (circa 525 - 455 BC)
What our plays are based on
Highlighting verbal element
Aristotle identifies the dithyramb (=song and dance in honour of Dionysus) as the origin of
Athenian tragedy
Tragedies performed at annual events called Dionysia from 6th century BCE
Greek Tragedy: Overview
Prometheus Bound
"Absent" crucial antagonist
Strength, Force, and Hephaestus (1-39)
Oceanus (361- 392)
Chorus of nymphs (467- 481)
Io (754-801; 860- 863)
Hermes (1122- 1144)
Portrait of missing antagonist emerges during visits by:
They followed Aristotle's view of plays, that it shouldn't be episodic
Nothing changes
The world has to come to him
Not really important characters
Made up of a string of visits
Begins with Prometheus being chained to the stones and ends the same way
Thought to be a very bad play in the 18th century, by critics
Reason why Prometheus is in the position he finds himself in
Cruel, stern, harsh, new-made ruler (line 36)
Rules out freedom or choice (line 4)
Start to get a good portrait of who Zeus is
The only other important character isn't there, and that's Zeus, who is never actually seen
Lecture 3 - 15/ 09
Thursday, September 15, 2011
3:09 PM Souza ENGB30H3 Page 1
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