Greek Dramatists: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes

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  • Topic: Aeschylus, Euripides, Tragedy
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Greek Dramatists: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes The theatrical culture of Ancient Greece flourished between 550 and 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant societal, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was institutionalized as part of a festival “honoring Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility.” (Benton) The centre-piece of the festivities was a competition between three tragic playwrights. Each submitted three tragedies, and a satyr play. Beginning in a first competition in 486 BC, each playwright also submitted a comedy. Aristotle claimed that Aeschylus added the second actor, and that Sophocles introduced the third. Apparently the Greek playwrights never used more than three actors based on what is known about Greek theatre. (Wikipedia) Aeschylus lived between 525 BC and 456 BC. He was a Greek dramatist, the earliest of the great tragic poets of Athens. As the predecessor of Sophocles and Euripides, he is called the father of Greek tragedy. Of his nineteen plays, only seven are still in existence. Aeschylus is most commonly known for his expansion of the number of characters to allow for conflict whereas, previously, characters had interacted only with the chorus. By introducing a second actor into the play, Aeschylus created dramatic new dialogue. He is additionally credited for the staging of the drama, introducing costumes and scenery. Another of Aeschylus’ trademarks is the propensity for “writing connected trilogies, in which each play serves as a chapter in a continuous dramatic narrative.” (Wikipedia) He was most likely the first playwright to present a trilogy and Oresteia, the first play in the trilogy, Agamemnon, and probably his most respected work, provides an insight into his ideals of righteousness and leniency, and his belief that humanity can achieve wisdom through suffering. Despite Aeschylus great success as playwright, he was most proud of his...
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