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Its subject matter is normally drawn from mythology, except that for the ancient Greeks "mythology" was a kind of historical saga, often perfectly credible oral history, including stories about gods and other supernatural beings, handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth.
Because history raised to the sphere of legend only remembers milestones crucial to the life of the community, sometimes contemporary events viewed as critical for the survival of a people could provide the material for a tragedy. The Persians of Aeschylus, describing the invasion of Athens by a huge Persian fleet in and its defeat in the naval battle of Salamis, is such a play.
However, tragedy is, strictly speaking, neither historical nor mythological; it is a poetic drama in the sense that poetry rises above the particulars of history and expresses human truths of a universal kind.
This is achieved by a combination of heroic characters rising above the ordinary in terms of social status, moral qualities, and intensity of emotions and plots illustrating the impotence of humans in regard to divine powers.
Greek gods did not profess to love humanity, promised no salvation after death, and administered a harsh justice not only to sinners but also to unsuspecting innocents because of crimes perpetrated by their forebears.
Tragic characters often suffer and die for crimes they committed unwittingly, or because they were ordered to do so by a god something possible in the context of Greek polytheismor because they have to expiate an old sin, or fall under a family curse.
When they fully realize the inevitability of their destiny, they act with dignity in accordance with their principles and proceed to do what they believe is right, often precipitating their dreadful end. This is considered a "tragic death," although in modern languages the word tragedy is often used more loosely as a synonym for disaster —particularly a seemingly undeserved disaster that strikes unexpectedly powerful people and happy families.
According to Aristotle Poetics, ch. However, tragedy lost its Dionysiac associations very early, and only one of the preserved plays, indeed the very last tragedy of Euripides, Bacchae, has a Dionysiac content, namely the myth of resistance to the introduction of Dionysus's cult to Thebes, and the god's devastating revenge upon the city.
Dithyramb, too, gradually lost its religious connection to Dionysus and developed into choral poetry that drew its subjects from mythology like tragedy.
Dithyrambs were also regularly performed in the Dionysiac festivals. It is impossible to reconstruct with any certainty the stages of evolution from religious hymn to ritual enactment, and finally to a kind of secular play in which a great variety of myths were presented in dramatic form to a theatrical audience rather than a group of worshipers.
The critical stage in this line of development was the transition from ritual to theater. Ritual must be repeated more or less exactly if it is to be a religious act. But once it metamorphoses into a playful act, its religious ties are loosened and a great potential for development in form and content becomes available to creative artists.
The first poet credited with the invention of tragedy was a minor, if semi-legendary, figure by the name of Thespis. His activity is dated to the s, although the introduction of tragic productions in the form of dramatic contests to the City Dionysia c.
Except for half a dozen titles of plays, nothing survives from his poetry. However, once the first sparks were struck tragedy evolved swiftly by embracing and building on earlier forms of poetry. Choral lyric was a major poetic genre in Archaic Greece — B.
It was incorporated into the new art of drama and retained not only its basic shape division into strophic pairs and complex metrical structuresbut even the Dorian dialect, invariably used by the Athenian poets in all choral parts of the plays.
The personal lyric of the Ionians in iambic meter, particularly the style in which Solon, Athens's own sixth-century poet and lawgiver, had written his emotionally charged accounts of self-justification and political advice, provided the model for the set-speeches of dramatic characters widely used in tragedy.
Next, the tradition of epic poetry, shared by all Greeks, supplied the great pool of stories, often grouped in local cycles e. When tragedy came to light, Aristotle notes, poets inclined to Sophocles' Antigone, which dates to fifth-century B.
Athens, contains themes that make its production still popular in the twenty-first century. What made these developments possible and greatly accelerated them was the establishment of democracy in Athens right after A large open-air theater on the south slope of the Acropolis accommodated a massive audience, consisting of the whole population of the city including foreigners and slaves.
In view of the size of this audience, and the participation of common men in it—the same citizens who voted for new laws and major political decisions in the assembly of direct democracy, and also served as jurors in the courts of law—it is hardly surprising that the chorus became an indispensable part of the dramatic performance.
The chorus represented and spoke for a collective dramatic character at the level of myth anonymous citizens, womenfolk, elders, sailors, slaves, and even minor divinities who in the epic had remained speechless in the background of the action.
Further, the dramatists gave new accounts and interpretations of the traditional stories they represented and re-enacted. By doing so, they gratified the contemporary Athenian audience that had made such great political progress from the time of a harsh oligarchy and widespread serfdom in the sixth century to democracy at the turn of the century, which was further consolidated by the victories in the Persian wars.
The Peak of Tragedy The function of the poet, according to Aristotle, is to state the universal, "to tell, not what has happened, but what would have happened according to probability or necessity" Poetics, ch.
But what is probable or necessary outside of the domain of science depends on what the audience is ready to accept. Was it necessary for Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, in order to be allowed by goddess Artemis to set sail for Troy?
Was he killed upon his return home by his wife because he had killed Iphigenia, or because he had destroyed the temples of gods in the sack of Troy, or because his wife had taken a lover whose father had cursed Agamemnon's father?
Was there a pattern of divine justice in these acts of revenge? What made the discussion of these questions in public possible and indeed vital was that the Greeks had no religious book, like the Bible or the Koran, to explain the ways of the gods to them, and the level of the morality of gods, as depicted by the epic poetry of Homer and Hesiod c.This page argues the case against bullfighting in a new and distinctive way.
The mythology of ancient Greece and Rome is the Older Than Feudalism namer of many tropes, in addition to well-known gods, heroes and torosgazete.com important element of Ancient Greece, The Roman Republic and The Roman Empire..
Classical mythology is sometimes referred to as "Greek Mythology" by people who don't think the Romans contributed much or take the two mythologies separately.
Tragedy and modern drama Tragic themes in Ibsen, Strindberg, and Chekhov. The movement toward naturalism in fiction in the latter decades of the 19th century did much to purge both the novel and the drama of the sentimentality and evasiveness that had so long emasculated them.
In Norway Henrik Ibsen incorporated in his plays the smug and narrow ambitiousness of his society. Most Common Text: Click on the icon to return to torosgazete.com and to enjoy and benefit.
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Oedipus Rex, also known by its Greek title, Oedipus Tyrannus (Ancient Greek: Οἰδίπους Τύραννος IPA: [oidípuːs týranːos]), or Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed around BC.
Originally, to the ancient Greeks, the title was simply Oedipus (Οἰδίπους), as it is referred to by Aristotle in the Poetics. Aristotle said Oedipus the King was the "perfect tragedy," and if literary history—with it's absolute love of heroes with serious family issues and the fate of a civilization resting in .