By Ian C. Storey, Arlene Allan
This Blackwell consultant introduces historical Greek drama, which flourished mostly in Athens from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century BC.
• A broad-ranging and systematically organised advent to old Greek drama.
• Discusses all 3 genres of Greek drama – tragedy, comedy, and satyr play.
• offers overviews of the 5 surviving playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophokles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander, and short entries on misplaced playwrights.
• Covers contextual matters resembling: the origins of dramatic artwork types; the conventions of the fairs and the theatre; the connection among drama and the worship of Dionysos; the political size; and the way to learn and watch Greek drama.
• contains forty six one-page synopses of every of the surviving plays.
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Extra info for A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama
The backdrop of the modern theater is the bustling and busy twenty-first century metropolis of modern Athens – in classical times the fields and mountains around Athens would have made this a setting surrounded by nature. We have to exercise our imagination to see what was there when the great tragic poets competed in the fifth century. A “theater” was a “watching area,” and in its simplest form consisted of a slope on a hillside with a flat area at the bottom where the performers sang and danced.
And, of course, in Frogs (405) he disguises himself as Herakles for his descent to the underworld to bring back Euripides. Disguise and confusion of identity seem to be very much part of the dramatic persona of Dionysos. In Aeschylus’ Edonians Lykourgos is puzzled by this figure which appears to be both male and female. One of the boundaries that Dionysos dissolves is that of gender. In Bacchae Pentheus is both confused and attracted by the delicate hair and smooth white skin of the “priest,” who is Dionysos in disguise.
The Homeric Hymn to Dionysos tells how pirates attempted to kidnap the god, thinking him a prince worthy of ransom, and how the god transformed their ship into vines and the sailors into dolphins. The vine (ampelos) gets its name in one version from Ampelos, a beautiful youth and beloved of the god, who dies accidentally at Dionysos’ hands, and from the god’s tears falling on the boy’s body grow the first vines and grapes. His cult was fundamentally opposed to the organized city and the rational order of the mind, two of the stereotypes that we associate with the ancient Greeks.