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Drama: Tragedy Lecture 1 – Aristotle

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Marjorie Rubright

May 7, 2012 Drama: Tragedy Lecture 1 – Aristotle ➢ [email protected] ➢ Participation: 10% ➢ Short Essay 1: 15% (3-5 pages) ➢ Short Essay 2: 25% (8 pages) ➢ Scene Study Presentations: 15% ➢ Final Exam: 35% ➢ Writing Tips  Binary ideas: very simplistic ideas; good/bad  Critical writing – explore complexities of a topic  Don't use: “one might see that”  Instead do this: “CriticAsays, and Critic B says this, but I will argue this....”  Don't use passive voice – use I, especially in reflective writing  Use sites that end in “edu” as sources – these are academic sources ➢ Aristotle  ForAristotle, everything and every drama is poetry – everything is written in verse in acient Greece  Considers drama to be one type of poetry  Also poetry has other forms/genres  Ethic poetry  Lyric poetry  Poetry  Drama • Comedy • Tragedy  *Homer  is important – no evidence as to who he/she was  2 major poems  Huge epics: Odyssey & Illiad  Many of the characters that you see in ancient drama come from Odyssey or Illiad  So these are all pre-existing characters and so audience at this point in time all have background info  Aristotle also believed in song = music = lyrics or ideas that go with music  Also talks about dance & rhythm being part of theatre as well  All of these elements are important for drama  Western drama builds on the old  But all of this doesn't originate in ancient Greece, but in other places  Dance & rhythm originated as ritual practice  Aristotle walks you through history as to what existed first (e.g. Rhythm of poetry)  Notion of a chorus is important to ancient times  Chorus is the voice of just one person  Could be a narrator  He/she is a metadramatic figure that makes the connection between the stage and the audience  So metadrama is actually an ancient technique, not just post-modern th  19 century Victorian dramas – “Melodramas”  Today melo-dramas are soap operas, or things that are overdramatic  Melo means “song/melody”  Victorian times (1800s) th  Hard to shake off Victorian ideas - So a lot of the dramas of the 20 century that we look at, incorporate these ideas  The plays of the 19 century were all emotionally rot and had music  That's why we call it melo-drama – a play that's emotional and has music • E.g. Phantom of the Opera – they're all about spectacles  ForAristotle, “melos” means music  Mimesis & Representation  All art begins with imitation/representation of something in nature  Drama “imitates men in action” (i.e. People)  Rhetoric  The art of persuasion  Better you can speak, the better you are able to persuade  Aristotle wrote a book called “Rhetoric” - “a how to” book about how to become a better speaker  Tragedy & Comedy  Aristotle differentiates drama into tragedy & comedy  Tragedy is the highest form of art forAristotle  He thinks comedy brings out the worst in people  Tragedy represents people as better than actual life  Always about finding the highest moral characters = ETHOS • Noble characters • I.e. Oedipus is still a noble character, just put in an awkward situation  Aristotle would have read “Death of a Salesman” and not considered it a tragedy  ATragedy must have a high ethos, noble character, descends from a great status, takes a great fall  But now the protagonist would be a tragic hero – at least to us in modern
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