A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama by Ian C. Storey, Arlene Allan

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By Ian C. Storey, Arlene Allan

This Blackwell advisor introduces historical Greek drama, which flourished largely in Athens from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century BC.
• A broad-ranging and systematically organised creation to historic Greek drama.
• Discusses all 3 genres of Greek drama – tragedy, comedy, and satyr play.
• presents overviews of the 5 surviving playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophokles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander, and short entries on misplaced playwrights.
• Covers contextual concerns similar to: the origins of dramatic paintings 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.
• comprises forty six one-page synopses of every of the surviving plays.

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We see this clearly in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon where Agamemnon must give his daughter in sacrifice to Artemis so that he may get the winds that will take his army to Troy. This was a sacrifice accepted and the request answered, although with tragic results. We may see the opposite at Sophokles’ Oedipus Tyrannos 911–23, where Jokaste enters with offerings for Apollo, the god of light and knowledge who operates beneath the surface of the play, and asks for a happy outcome for Oedipus and for the people of Thebes.

Dionysos fills in for Alexandros (Paris) to judge the famous beauty-contest of the goddesses. It is he that wins Helen and a thousand ships of very angry Greeks. At the end of the comedy the real Paris keeps Helen and hands Dionysos over to the mercies of the Greeks. In Aristophanes’ Babylonians (426), Dionysos arrives in Athens with his Eastern followers and encounters for the first time a demagogue, who extorts money from him and threatens legal action. In Eupolis’ Officers (415), Dionysos joins the navy and is taught the arts of war by the Athenian admiral Phormion.

Even when we go to Athens, the remains of the later structures dominate what we see and it is with difficulty that we make out the layout that playwrights, performers, and spectators had to work with in the fifth century. 2) we see a round orchestra, nicely paved with marble flagstones and surrounded by a stone drainage ditch, curving rows of stone benches with cross-ramps and aisles, elaborate thrones in the front row for the priests of various civic cults, and a massive elevated platform with steps halfway across the orchestra.

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