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Lecture 9

CLA160H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Satyr Play, Peisistratos, Ancient Greek Comedy

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Johnathon Burgess

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Intro to Classics
Greek Drama:
Spoken poetry, with choral song and dance
Origins: late Archaic age
o Age of Pisistratus? „Thespis‟
o Cult of Dionysus
o Homeric epic? (character dialogue)
o Choral song?
Major Athenian dramatists
o Aeschylus
a) Prominent early-mid 5th C.
b) Author of Oresteia trilogy: featuring Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes
(Features creation of Areopagus homicide court)
o Sophocles
a) Prominent mid-late 5th c.
b) Over 120 plays composed; 7 survive
c) Author of Oedipus Rex: Theban King unwittingly, by fate, kills father,
marries mother (-and Oedipus at Colonus; and the Antigone)
o Euripides
a) Late 5th c
b) Medea: barbarian wife of Jason, kills her own children
c) Challenges traditional religious and heroic values
d) “heroes” seem ignoble, even ridiculous (near comic)
e) Author of satyr play Cyclops
Types of drama
o Drama
o Comedy
o “Old Comedy”: Aristophanes;
a) cf. “New Comedy” and Roman Comedy
o Satyr
Satyr Plays
o Mythological time
o Satyrs as chorus
o Farcical elements
o Incredibly sexual and erotic
o E.g. Euripides: Cyclops
o Odysseus, Polyphemus & Silenus and satyrs
o A mythological, heroic age story
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