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Euripides' Cyclopes

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

CLA232 Men, Gods, and Beasts Wednesday January 26 2011 th Euripides Cyclopes Alterity: relationship between self and other 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 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 festival great display of Athenian military and naval power
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