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Greek research

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Aristotle: Aristotle was a philosopher and scientist, and one of the greatest intellectual figures of Western History. He was born in 384 BCE in Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece and died in 322 BCE in Chalcis, Euboea. Aristotle created a philosophical and scientific system for Christian Scholasticism and medieval Islamic philosophy. Aristotle says that tragedy must contain episodes arousing pity and fear. (“Aristotle”). He discussed anagnorisis in the Poetics as an essential part of the plot of a tragedy. (“Anagnorisis”). Aristotle also introduced hamartia or tragic flaw, by explaining that the tragic hero as an innocent being and nature’s misfortune in brought about the “error of judgement”. (“Hamartia”). Essential to the plot of a tragedy is a peripeteia, or the turning point of a drama. (“Peripeteia”). A metaphor that Aristotle used to explain the effects of a tragedy was called a catharsis. (“Catharsis”).

Dionysus and the Dionysian Festival: Zeus and Semele were the parents of Dionysus. He was a nature god of fruitfulness and vegetation, mostly known as the god of wine and ecstasy. (“Dionysus”). Tragic choruses existed in Dorian Greece around 600 BC, and a dramatic form of tragedy became part of the famous Dionysian Festivals. (“Greek Literature”). Participation in the festival requires that the audience knows exactly what to expect. Ritual dramas were written on the same legendary stories of Greek heroes in festival after festival. (“Dramatic Literature”). The festival hosted tragic competitions. In the tragic competitions, poets wrote, produced, and acted in tragedies on one theme. Each poet also performed a satyr play, and judges, awarded the best poet with a prize. The satyr play was always the work of a tragic poet, and the same poet never wrote both tragedies and comedies. In 440, comedy was added and tragedy was then introduced ten years later. (“Great Dionysia”).

Greek Dramatists: Thespis was a Greek poet and the first actor in a Greek drama. He was often called the “Inventor of Tragedy” and was the first person to combine choral songs with speeches. (“Thespis”). Aeschylus was an innovator and the first to raise the emerging art of tragedy to great heights in poetry and theatrical power. Before Aeschylus, Greek drama was limited to only one actor also known as the protagonist. (“Aeschylus”). Sophocles was a great tragic playwrite. He’s best known for his famous dramas in Oedipus the King, and is credited with plenty of major and minor dramatic performances. Sophocles implies that most people lack wisdom, and he presents honesty in with ignorance, delusion, and folly. (“Sophocles”). Euripides is another great tragic dramatist, similar to Aeschylus and Sophocles. Euripides produces protagonists who differ from “larger than life” characters with conviction by Aeschylus and Sophocles. (“Euripides”).

Greek Theater: In Greek Theater, the chorus are those who perform vocally in a group of actors who sing and dance the main action of a play. (“Chorus”). The strophe was the first part of a choral that the chorus performed. (“Strophe”). The antistrophe came after the strophe and before the epode. (“Antistrophe”). The structure of the Greek theaters’ acting style conformed to the theatrical space and its beautiful features which actually influenced the way actors performed. The stage was flat with semi-circle area called the Orchestra. Because there were only two and sometimes three actors, each would have to take multiple roles. They used masks and costumes that covered the body completely. The mask had a wig attached to it and a large opening of the mouth to enhance the voice.

Oedipus Background: The oracle at Delphi belonged to the Goddess of Earth, Gaea, and her son, Python, guarded it. (“Delphi”). An oracle warned the King of Thebes, Laius, that his son will kill him.When his wife had a son, Laius had the baby exposed to Cithaeron. After a shepherd pitied the baby, he was later adopted by King Polybus and his wife. When Oedipus was a young man, Delphi informed him that his fate was to kill his biological father and marry his biological mother. On his way to Thebes, Oedipus encountered his father and killed him. Thebes was later plagued by the Sphinx who gave a riddle to all visitors and killed those who answered incorrectly. Oedipus solved the riddle and was awarded the throne of Thebes.  

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