Intro to Classics
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
a) Prominent early-mid 5 C.
b) Author of Oresteia trilogy: featuring Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Orestes
(Features creation of Areopagus homicide court)
a) Prominent mid-late 5 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)
a) Late 5 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 “Old Comedy”: Aristophanes;
a) cf. “New Comedy” and Roman Comedy