sophocles oedipus the king (oedipus rex) antigone ap english literature ms. curtis the greek tragedy


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  • AP English Literature Identify and explain at least THREE qualities of the TRAGIC HERO.
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  • Essential Questions How does Greek drama compare to our modern theater? How do the themes in plays from other times and cultures relate to issues of today? How did the purpose of Greek comedy differ from that of tragedy? What are some themes that exist in Greek tragedies? Who are the famous Greek dramatists?
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  • The Greek Theater The 2 nd half of the 5 th century was known as the GOLDEN AGE of Greek Drama The Greek Tragedy grew out of religious ritual drama The dramatic festivals began in honor of the God Dionysus The festival was called Dionysia, which was a 4 day festival held during March or April During performances, actors spoke their lines from behind huge masks
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  • Tragedy The word TRAGEDY primarily refers to tragic drama. It is a literary performance in which there is a central character called a tragic hero. TRAGIC HERO: A character who suffers from a serious misfortune which is connected to the heros actions.
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  • The Tragic Hero According to Aristotle, the tragic hero should be neither good nor bad The heros downfall is brought about by a flaw within his or her own character The downfall of the hero would encourage the audience to examine their own lives to define their beliefs, and to cleanse their emotions of pity and terror through compassion for the character
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  • Tragic Hero (continued) Person of high rank who has an exaggerated sense of power and pride (HUBRIS) The tragic hero violates a human, natural or divine law By breaking the law the hero poses a threat to society and causes the suffering and death of a family members, friends, and associates In the last act, the tragic hero is punished or dies and order is restored
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  • Characteristics of a Greek Tragedy Maintains a tight dramatic framework All the action takes place in one single location Involves small amount of characters interacting with each other Includes a CHOROUS which serves as nameless onlookers and commentators Sophocles turns the CHOROUS into an actor Consists entirely of dramatic dialogue
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  • Characteristics of a Greek Tragedy Practically every line contains a double meaning (verbal irony) Verbal irony reinforces the dramatic irony Dramatic Irony occurs when the reader or audience knows something important that a character in a story or drama does not know
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  • Themes in Greek Tragedy The quest for identity The nature of innocence and guilt The nature of moral responsibility Human will versus fate The abuse of power
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  • Greek Dramatists Aeschylus Sophocles Euripides Aristophanes At least 3 Greek dramatists would compete with each other at the festival of Dionysus.
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  • Sophocles c.496-406b.c Born to a wealthy family from Colonus, a village near Athens Sophocles studied tragedy, musical composition, and choreography based on the influence of Aeschylus, the great writer of tragedy At 28, Sophocles entered a drama competition against Aeschylus and won first prize During the next 62 years he wrote more than 120 plays, about 24 of which won first prize at the Dionysia
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  • Sophocles (cont) Sophocles added new possibilities to drama by adding a 3 rd actor to the stage He also invented the deus ex machina in which an actor lowered on a crane as a god from the sky
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  • Structure of Most Greek Tragedies Formal Arrangement of Parts Prologue: Opening Scene Parodos: The first of the Choruss lyric songs or choral odes Dialogue: Regular scenes of conversation Choral Odes: A lengthy lyric poem sung by the chorus with an enthusiastic tone, some of which glorify a public, written in stanzas and includes rhyme Exodos: Concluding Scene