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CLA232 Men, Gods, and BeastsWednesday January 26th 2011
Euripides Cyclopes
๎€Alterity: relationship between โ€˜selfโ€™ and โ€˜otherโ€™
๎€Euripidesโ€™ Cyclopes, unlike Oedipus and Bacchants, examines not the relationship
between the self and the gods but the self and beasts
๎€Cyclopes explores this distinction through quasi-human beasts
City Dionysia
๎€The dramatic festival, in honour of Dionysus, took place for 3 days every Spring in
Athens in the Theatre of Dionysus on Acropolis
๎€On each day, there would be 3 tragedies and a satyr play
๎€It was more than just entertainment
๎€The plays were very much embedded in the civic structure of the city (not only were
they watched by the citizens, the playwrights would compete to perform at the City
Dionysia and a panel of citizen-judges would vote who was best, so the citizens got to
choose what was played, etc.)
๎€Tickets were subsidized, to allow poorer citizens to attend
๎€Liturgies, paid by aristocrats, could be paid by funding the festival
๎€The chorus was also made up of citizens
๎€The actors would be professional, but the chorus was made up of normal citizens
๎€So, why would the state dedicate so much of its resources to drama?
๎€Athens spend as much on producing these dramas each year as it spent on important
things like infrastructure, military expenses, etc.
๎€One explanation could be because it was honouring the god Dionysus, brought in
people from other poleis, inspired Athenian pride, taught morality and ethics,
๎€So, the Athenians thought of drama as a fundamental part of the city, and going to
the theatre was part of your education and responsibility as a citizen
๎€There was also the presentation of tribute from the subject-states, which was given
and displayed at the festivalโ€ฆ great display of Athenian military and naval power
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CLA232 Men, Gods, and BeastsWednesday January 26th 2011
Euripides Cyclopes
๎€There would also be a parade of the orphans whose parents had died in the war and
were being raised by the state
๎€So, like the funeral oration, the City Dionysia was a celebration of the greatness of
Athens, an education in civics, a way of both showing and teaching how great Athens
is
๎€If the plays were part of this lesson in the value of Athens and Greeks, what exactly
did they teach?
๎€Oedipus teaches not to try and change your fate (it wonโ€™t work), listen to the oracle,
donโ€™t try to know yourself too much,
๎€Bacchants teaches you to worship the gods, protect the city,
๎€The way that tragedy teaches these lessons is by raising unanswerable questions and
then asking the citizens to think and talk about them
๎€Promotes communal thought, which is the basis of Athensโ€™ radical democracy
๎€The Athenians thought that the best sort of education for this sort of civic thought
was to pose such questions and encourage the citizens to think through them
themselves
The Satyr Play
๎€At the end of the day there would be a satyr play
๎€A satyr play was different than a comedy
๎€Written by the same playwright as the tragedies
๎€Euripides Cyclopes would have followed three of this tragedies
๎€Short, slapstick, ludicrous plays
๎€Satyrs were mythical creatures part, horse, part goat, part man
๎€Satyrs were devotees of Dionysus
๎€Satyrs spend their lives drinking and partying, represented as sex crazy
๎€They werenโ€™t evil or violent, just completely given over to pleasure and indulgence
๎€Represent the excess of Dionysiac worship
๎€So the Satyr play features a chorus of 12 young men dressed as satyrs
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Document Summary

euripides" cyclopes, unlike oedipus and bacchants, examines not the relationship between the self and the gods but the self and beasts. cyclopes explores this distinction through quasi-human beasts. The dramatic festival, in honour of dionysus, took place for 3 days every spring in. Athens in the theatre of dionysus on acropolis. on each day, there would be 3 tragedies and a satyr play. The plays were very much embedded in the civic structure of the city (not only were they watched by the citizens, the playwrights would compete to perform at the city. Dionysia and a panel of citizen-judges would vote who was best, so the citizens got to choose what was played, etc. ) Tickets were subsidized, to allow poorer citizens to attend. Liturgies, paid by aristocrats, could be paid by funding the festival. The chorus was also made up of citizens. The actors would be professional, but the chorus was made up of normal citizens.

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