• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Greek Tragedy

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Art and literature has existed throughout time to represent and express cultural values, ideals and perceptions. It often portrays the forces that push one's particular culture onward, mentally stimulating and expanding individual mind and thought. In ancient Greek culture, Art and Literature is combined in a way that represented all of these things to its people. This combination is what we know as ancient Greek Theater, an art of drama and song, with the structure of "spoken portions interlaced with choral lyrics, all concerned with man's fate."1 Greek tragedy is credited to have developed around 534 B.C when the Greek Thespis created drama in which a main actor conversed with the leader of the chorus (this is where the term "thespian" originated, it has been used to describe an actor since the early 19th century).2 Aeschylus, the first of the great 3 tragic poets, added a second actor to his plays and had a chorus of around 12. Sophocles, the second of the great poets, added the third actor and increased the chorus to 15 members. Sophocles is considered to model Greek tragedy, with Aeschylus marking the preparation and Eudripidies the decline. 3 These plays where preformed at Festivals in open-air theaters in which poets competed for prizes. It is widely accepted that these festivals where religious, and honored the Greek god Dionysius (God of Wine). All plays where developed around well-known ancient Greek myth, it was the Poets job to develop character and deepen plot. ...read more.

Middle

His heroic nature is magnified in his persistence for the truth despite the fact that it became quite obvious that gaining further knowledge would end in disaster and self-destruction.12 Peripeteia is when a character produces "an effect opposite to that which he intended to produce." 13Aristotle firmly believed that all good tragedy proposed some peripeteia within its plot. This is perfectly represented within "Oedipus Rex." Oedipus promises his people that he will find the root of the plague that gripped his kingdom. In ancient Greek times, it was believed that illness and plague where signs from the gods that they where upset or a crime against their godly standards had been committed. So as any noble hero would do, Oedipus sets out on a quest for this knowledge. He soon discovers that the murder of Thebe's prior king, Laius, is the root off his city's pollution. He vows to discover the murderer, and sets the punishment of death or banishment to whomever was found guilty. This was his intention. We can also see again that Oedipus is a noble hero, as he is a king and he is willing to go to any ends for his people. These traits would have invoked feelings of respect in the minds of the audience. As Oedipus discovers more information, he draws nearer to the conclusion that it is possible that through self-blindness and ignorance, Oedipus himself is the likely murderer of Laius. Through this step in the play we see that again Oedipus carries the qualities of a tragic hero; his murdering of Laius was due to his self-arrogance and lack of knowledge that the man who he was killing was of high status. ...read more.

Conclusion

But we can also examine the fact that a prophecy existed which laid out the steps that Oedipus would take through out his life. If it where not for Oedipus's knowledge of this prophecy, would he have ever left his home in Corinth, would he have ever murdered Laius, and married his mother? Or we can look even further into Oedipus's past; if Jocasta and Leius had not known of this prophecy, they would never had abandoned Oedipus, and perhaps he would never had committed the sins which it seems he was destined to commit. So again we see a cause and effect chain, knowledge leading to ignorance, ignorance in turn leading to knowledge, blindness to sight, sight to blindness. It is also argued that it was the individual's attempt to escape their fate which was the true crime against the gods. It is at this point we can see how the Cultural Revolution, known as 'The Greek Enlightenment', effected these drama's. It was from this new atmosphere of questioning and individualism in which man started to question the meaning of life beyond the restraints of 'God rules man.' And not only did Greek tragedy come to question the gods, it also questioned what it meant to be human. 18 1 The Complete Plays of Sophocles. 2 http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/~hblake/tragedy1.html 3 http://www.classics.cam.ac.uk/Faculty/tragedy.html 4 www.depthame.brooklyn.cuny.edu 5 15 Greek Plays 6 The Complete Plays of Sophocles 7 www.depthame.brooklyn.cuny.edu 8 9 www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/poetics.html 10 The Complete Plays of Sophocles. 11 The Complete Plays of Sophocles 12 The Complete Plays of Sophocles 13 www.depthame.brooklyn.cuny.edu 12 American Heritage dictionary 15 www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/poetics.html 16 www.cnr.edu/home/bmcmanus/poetics.html 17 http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/~hblake/tragedy1.html 18 http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/~hblake/tragedy1.html ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Aeneas can be considered an excellent hero. Discuss.

    5 star(s)

    leads to their emotional reunion in which "tears were streaming down his cheeks." Aeneas can be argued though to be a bad leader in relation to his family due to his actions in Troy involving his beloved wife Creusa in which he made her "walk at a distance" behind him which subsequently led to her death.

  2. What is the role of the chorus in "Oedipus the King" the "Lysistrata".

    figures such as Apollo, the Oracle and the Sphinx are mentioned and brought into the plot by the chorus at the very beginning of the play where the chorus as citizens is gathered outside the palace and choose the priest to tell him about the oracle and the angry god.

  1. The role of the Chorus in Oedipus Rex

    In this way, through this play, Sophocles was able to remind the citizens that the gods controlled everything. It is also the job of the chorus to end the play, and add a philosophical morsel. This morsel and the message of the chorus are didactic, this way Sophocles could teach the audience about the consequences of an action.

  2. The Tragic Hero

    In Oedipus the King the hero inflicts his own punishment by blinding himself, but he goes into exile instead of dying. Sophocles wrote a sequel to this play called Oedipus at Colonus in which the hero finds a peaceful death after years of suffering to atone for his misdeeds, but

  1. In Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan, one of the main characters in the story, exhibits ...

    When he leaves Corinth, he meets an entourage on the way to Thebes. There, the 'leader' of the horse-drawn carriage orders him 'out of the way'. Oedipus' impulsiveness drives him to kill everyone in the entourage; this leads to him being crowned King, where he ultimately suffers.

  2. One of the best examples for Aristotles tragic hero is Oedipus from Sophocles tragedy, ...

    This is why we become extremely afraid when we see how these events play out on a large scale, as with Oedipus' tragic downfall. Most of us don't view gouging our eyes out or having your wife kill herself as a consequence for acting out in anger, or being too arrogant.

  1. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    To all these positions of power Caesar took only one route. He used bribery, put on lavish public displays or games and used his funds to build grand public buildings; 'his munificence was the key to his appeal'.10 These tactics were common to the Romans at this time, as a

  2. What Factors Were Particularly Important In Affecting The Layout Of Greek Sanctuaries

    Another geographical problem was the exact location of the sanctuaries. To have a sanctuary on a hill and to have a water supply was the ideal. However, this caused problems, as often the hill itself could be a problem when development was concerned, and growth was often restricted.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work