Cultural Analysis Paper

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tuBrittaney Barfield
English 105WS
1pm
10/23/2011

Ancient Greek Theatre
In this essay I’m going to be writing about Ancient Greek Theatre the origins of it and how effects the modern world Theatre. The question I’m going to answer in this essay is how did Greek Theatre represent Greek culture? I’m going to use a variety of sources in this essay to provide historic information about Ancient Greek Theatre. I’m also going to look into the culture’s practices of citizenship, philosophies, gender, faiths, or origin myths. To begin with I’m going to start with the origins of how theatre started. Western Theatre was born in Ancient Greece in between 600 and 200 BC. Ancient Greek Theatre was a mixture of myths, philosophies, social commentary, dance, music and etc. But it begins as a religious ceremony. The Ancient Athenians created a theatre culture whose form, technique and terminology have lasted two millennia, and they created plays that are still considered among the greatest works of world drama. Athenians plays focused on the God Dionysus, which was a God of many things including fertility, agriculture, and sexuality. Athenians plays were legendary and were known to be the greatest works of world drama. The Athenians created the world of tragedy’s in plays which is a common concept in plays in the modern day world. Tragedy derived from the word tragos which meant goat and ode which means songs it was meant to teach religious lessons. Tragedies were viewed as ritual purifications. It dictated how people should behave and it also inquired free thought, in Athens it brought radical ideas of democracy, philosophy, mathematics and arts. It boasted philosophers like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Democritus. The traditional tragedy in Aeschylus' time (circa 475 BC) consisted of the following parts the prologue which described the situation and the set, and then there was parados an ode song that the chorus would sing when they made their entrance. Then there were the five dramatic scenes and lastly the exodus which is the climax and the conclusion. Around 484 BC there was a new playwright named Aeschylus which turned the dithyramb into drama. Aeschylus most prevalent work was The Oresteia. Aeschylus makes a point that has been used by Historians, Dramatists, Psychologists and Crime Writers; that the root of evil and suffering is usually human arrogance. In 468 BC Aeschylus was defeated and then there competition was Sophocles. Sophocles contributed the addition of a third actor and an emphasis on drama between humans rather than between humans and gods. Sophocles' plays are about the folly of arrogance and the wisdom of accepting fate. Sophocles believed in the Greek gods, but his plays are covered with existential insights that have been pronounced many times since. Euripides was popularity surpassed Sophocles and Aeschylus. His plays were about real people he placed peasants alongside princes and gave their emotions equal weight. Tragedy’s wasn’t the only theatre in Athens there was also Comedy. Greek Comedy’s had two periods which was Old Comedy and New Comedy. In the comedies they used three actors a chorus who sang, danced and sometimes participated in the dialogue. The New Comedy was more aimed at the common people than the religious lessons.  Menander was the creator of most of the popular comedy playwrights in that era. His characters wore classic models and the style he used created in emphasis on mistaken identity, romance and situational humor became the model for succeeding comedy, from the Romans to Shakespeare to Broadway. There were rules that they had to follow in theatre which was called the three unities. The three unities were time, place and action. The unity of time limits the duration of an action roughly, of a single day. The unit of place makes sure all actions were located in one place. The unit of subject represents every aspect of a play and how it...
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