Ancient History - Greek Theatre

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Explain why Greek plays should be studied and performed today? History Essay Assignment

Greek plays symbolise centuries of artistic development and cultural legacy. They mark a high point in philosophy, literature and the performing arts during ancient times and explore the remarkable achievements of the period, which provides a historical perspective to current day events. Greek drama and plays have had a lasting impact on world culture and their revival is by no means restricted to western countries but has spread across the globe. As quoted by author P. George Steiner “ The 20th century has produced more versions of the great Greek tragedies in film, opera, theatre, novels, adaptations than even the renaissance or the 18th century”. Greek plays are still very much alive in the modern world and it is principal that they should be studied and performed today.

Greek drama and Greek plays were conceived around the 5th century BC, the ‘Golden Age’ of Greece that witnessed the flowering of architecture, pottery and sculpture but also saw the rise of fine skills such as literature and the performing arts. Drama was believed to have begun in the form of a religious ritual however it progressed and 5th century Athenian Dramatists such as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides produced plays that would endure for centuries to come. Greek plays were divided into two major streams comedies and tragedies. Tragedies were serious plays drawn from legends and significant event while comedies were plays depicting humorous aspects of life and contained jokes about daily life. These plays have lasted for centuries and have much to offer a modern audience and thus should be studied and performed in modern day.

Greek plays address themes such as the impacts of war, the state vs. the individual/family, nature of barbarianism and gender roles and relationships, among a few. Human character has fundamentally remained the same for centuries and many of these themes still ring...
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