Class Notes (809,754)
United States (313,849)
Classics (86)
CLAS 430 (86)
blondell (22)

Greek Drama.docx

6 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Washington
CLAS 430

Greek Drama  Similar to a mass event in pop culture w/ high poetic text “high culture” or football game.  Includes spectacle sight & sound, dance, extravagant costumes, etc.  Takes place in a large theatre.  3 play wrights competing at one time. a. Spectators very engaged: would boo, cheer, throw food, etc.  Religious festival in honor of the God Dionysus  Orchestra (place for singing & dancing)  Skene (similar to backstage. Where actors can change)  2 types of performers a. Actors – speeches. 3 at most b. Chorus – singing & dancing o Collective individual (are characterized as “old men” collective group identity) o Belong to a marginal group. o Become vehicle for larger speculations about the way the world is. GreestTragedies  1 play of a trilogy called an Oresteia (Orestes is Agamemnon’s son.)  Central themes – a. JUSTICE i. human justice, divine justice, relationship between god’s & mortals, human nature – moral responsibility, freedom, responsibility b. Place of individual in society i. family, larger society, parent child relations, relationship of ruler to people, gender issues, power in society, responsibility to me VS responsibility to society c. Nature of warfare i. justification of Trojan War Justice  Justice of the talio (retaliate) – repayment in kind.  Example: Book of Exodus (eye for eye, tooth for tooth, etc)   Revenge = personal Impersonal force -- pray to the Gods, go to court “The doer must suffer” the justice of Zeus Example 1: “with the sword he struck, with the sword he paid” Example 2: “Here is anger for anger between them who should judge lightly…” (Line 15-16) The House of Atreus Ultimate dysfunctional family – takes expression in 2 main areas (food & sex/children) Represent essence of what it is to be human (need to feed & breathe) Food of the gods is nectar & ambrosia. Symbolize immoral life. Reproduction for a way for humans to have immortality through family line. Every culture has stated or unstated rules about food (symbolic significance for structure in society, what you eat, where you eat, where you sit to eat) Tantalus: son of Zeus. Served up his son to the gods (to see if the gods knew what was going on – was testing them) Gods brought Pelops back to life. Tantalus could not eat or drink (he was tantalized in the underworld) His punishment fit the crime. Pelops: Killed someone who cursed him and his family line. Thyestes: seduces wife of his brother. “Feast of Thyestes” eats his own children served up by his brother. “The meat their father tasted” – Cassandra’s vision about Feast of Thyestes Aeigisthus: seduced another man’s wife. Helps Clytemnestra kill Agamemnon. He is feminized.. Why isn’t he at Troy fighting with other men? Agamemnon: kills his daughter, brings home a mistress, walking on the tapestries, when sacking Troy the army is extremely excessive, impious, and brutal. Sacking Troy is part of Zeus’ justice HOWEVER it is not okay to cause so much unnecessary suffering. Walking on the tapestries is a symbolic act (he was not killed for walking on them. It symbolizes that he is a person of bad judgment, his wife is smarter than him.) He brings home Cassandra (mistress) you should not bring home a mistress and bring her into the home as if she is your wife’s equal. Lots of collateral damage. Example: Ipigenia (Agamemnon’s daughter) Helen one of the very few exceptions. Was not punished or killed for he sexual transgression. Ipigenia: put in position of food animal. Violates appropriate relationship between gods, humans, and animals. Human beings are responsible for their actions even when the gods put pressure on them. Oedipus the King  Playwrights put in metaphors because they give access to meaning – that literal text could not give. th  Late century 5 century – around time that Athens was being plagued by war & plagues.  People have argued that Thebes is a mirror image of Athens – would have resonated with audience.  Audience is familiar with the stories.  Interpretation in popular culture/high schools is owed to Sigmund Freud – believed it related to primal urges in mankind. a. There are many ways to interpret a play/text. b. Ancient Athenians would have interpreted differently.  Play begins in front of palace  Metaphor of the Earth a. Line 25 – extended description of Thebes. Lack of fertility extending to all of Thebes crisis (animals, humans, earth, plants) Bodies & the land are co-extensive to one another. What happens to one happens to another. i. Hephaestus pursued Athena (virgin warrior God.) Attempted to rape her. In the process, he has ejaculated on her thist. The ground become impregnated. She gives birth to 1 Athenian child. Believe lineage came from Earth. Connection between women and the Earth. Sex is plowing/sowing. ii. Line 1121 – “how oh how have the pharaoh’s…” iii. Line 1257 – Jocasta’s wounds “field of Devil’s sowing” b. Oedipus is a big part of the problem. On a literal level, he is the king & most important man. BUT on a metaphorical level, it is telling us something is wrong – something rotten in Thebes.  Theme of Riddles  Access of wisdom to truly understand. Kind of speech does not mean what it seems to mean on the surface.  Oracles delivered in riddle form. o Riddle of Oedipus “what walks on 4 legs in the morning, 2 legs in the afternoon, 3 legs in the evening” MAN. Proving his worthiness to rule – showing Spinx & other citizens that he understands mankind on this higher level. Essentially savior of the city as stated in the text.  Big question in the play: Oedipus trying to figure out who he is/what he has done. Action of his self-discovery mirrors the original riddle. The paradox/thing that does not make sense is Oedipus himself. o Fact that in opening lines of play, he is hailed as city’s savior literally but metaphorically, there is a crisis of fertility that Oedipus is at the root of. o Oedipus is both father and brother to children. Both son
More Less

Related notes for CLAS 430

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.