Greek Drama The essentials to understanding and appreciating
Greek Drama The essentials to understanding and appreciating Medea. Ceremonious Humans have always been ceremonious creatures.
What ceremonies do we have in modern life? It is all drama, all a play that resonates with us. Ancient Greeks Polytheistic Dionysus god of wine and vegetation. Every year the Greeks celebrated him by dressing in
goat skins (like satyrs) and dancing. in poetic language they would tell of the gods triumphs or sufferings. A choral hymn called a dithyramb was sung. Dithyramb a wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing
(ancient Greece) a passionate hymn (usually in honor of Dionysus) According to Aristotle, the dithyramb was the origin of the Ancient Greek theatre This celebration evolved A permanent theatre was needed.
The famous theatre of Dionysus in Athens was begun about 500 B.C. It was built at the foot of the Acropolis center of Greek Culture and near the Current temple of Dionysus. The orchestra
This is also called the dancing floor. In it, the chorus (you will meet them in the book), a group of 10-15 people, sang and danced. In the center of the orchestra, there is an altar to the god where a flute player stood.
Strophe /Anti-Strophe This is the chorus moving across the stage as they establish the plot. Strophe means they are going from right to left Anti- Strophe is they are going from left to Right.
Listen to what they say! They are laying the ground work for the action. Seating It was like a large half of a football stadium. The people sat in tiers around the stage. They were built into hillsides, so one seat was
above another. Magical Acoustic Properties Even a matchstick dropping on stage could be heard by all 20,000 viewers. All Greek people went to the theatre the Greek state paid for poor people to attend.
The sound was a problem for one Greek theatre in a wooded setting. All the audience could hear were crickets who were on the stage and chirping. The Plays and players
Actors wore platform shoes to appear taller. Only males acted, no females.
The Chorus wore colorful, draped costumes. Broad gestures to emphasize speeches. Facial masks were used to indicate strong emotion. Conventions Ekklyklema: a wheeled platform that was
thrust onstage. Usually, as most action happened offstage, it would be rolled onstage with the corpses of characters who had just been killed. Deus ex machina: the god from the machine. A crane which allowed characters to fly above the house and which usually provided striking
entrances for the god. Euripides He was born about 484 BCE the darkest and most disturbing of the Greek Playwrights. Fascinated by the oppressed He depicts real men with all too human
weaknesses. He was the unwanted voice of conscience for the injustices and hypocrisy of Athens. A match made in heaven Medea was a barbarian, from the far edge of the Black Sea. A powerful sorceress, princess
of Colchis and Granddaughter of the sun god Helias. Jason was a great Greek hero and captain of the Argonauts. Greeks Learning from others mistakes is an important
part of Greek tragedy. Before this play begins Jason was in search of The Golden Fleece, which was in the possession of Medeas father. Medeas father set up challenges for Jason to perform in order to earn the fleece. Of course, they
were near to impossible for a mortal to perform. Medea fell in love with him and helped him, even to the point of killing her own brother to help him escape. Therefore, she has no home. So, theyre a couple
Unfortunately, after many years and two sons, Jason decides to forsake her and marry another woman. Could be love, could be that her daddy is King of Athens. Medea is too powerful to accept being thrown over in this way, although she has little
outward power because she is a woman. TOPICS! Revenge. Medea sacrifices all, even her own peace of mind, to get revenge on Jason. Medeas situation is a paradigm for anyone who feels slighted by someone or thing that is
institutionally protected and unfair. PASSION AND RAGE She had so much passion for Jason she gave up everything for him. Now that he has betrayed her, her rage is boundless. Medea is an example of passion carried too
far in a woman perversely set on choosing rage over mercy and reason. EXILE In the time of the Greeks, to be exiled was the worst of punishments. Medea had become an exile from her own
land for Jasons sake. Now she is being exiled again, from Jason and the new land of Corinth. The Position of Women Greek society was dependent on slave labor and the oppression of women.
Medea is a product of these injustices, a real woman twisted by her suffering. This play shows the war of the sexes where everyone comes out scarred. Manipulation Jason manipulated Medea to help him win the
Golden Fleece. Jason is manipulating the royal family of Corinth to secure his own ends. But Medea is the master. She plays everyone perfectly to exact her revenge.
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