Ancient Greek Theater in Greece  Term Paper

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The skene or 'tent' was the building that was directly behind the stage, and this was where the actors of the drama could enter or exit from. It would usually be decorated as a temple or a palace, and it would have at least one set of doors from where actors could enter the stage. At times, there would be access to the skene form the roof, so that actors who were playing roles of Gods could enter form the roof if necessary. The paradoi meant 'passageways', and these were paths by which the actors and the chorus playing roles of messengers or persons returning from a trip could enter or exit. The audience could also use these passageways to enter and exit. (Parts of a Greek Theater)

The ancient Greeks, as everyone knows, were a truly unique people, and it was their firm belief that an individual was free, as long as all his actions were within the Greek laws. This was an important factor, because this was what made them excel in whatever they wanted to, including drama, arts, sports, philosophy, and so on. This was perhaps the reason why even today one must acknowledge the excellence of the ancient Greeks in whatever they chose to do. As far as drama was concerned, the Greeks built a beautiful Theatre in order to give better performances of their plays. This was how the Theatre of Dionysia came to be built. Named after the Greek God of wine, this was where the greatest events of every year were performed, and generally, this was a religious festival held in honor of the Greek Gods. (The Ancient Greeks: The Athenians of Ancient Greece)

The Athenians would fill this theater when there were performances, which would generally last for a period of ten days, and all of them would have a particular playwright or a particular poet as their very own favorite, and they would make sure that they would not miss any of their favorite playwright's or poets' performances. For ten days, there would be three tragedies, followed by three comedies, which would generally be followed by a satyr farce. All the actors, as mentioned earlier, would be males, and women were not allowed to take part, although they were allowed to watch their favorite performances. All the actors would wear masks, and elaborate and intricate costumes during their performances, and they would play the role of the male as well as that of the female. Although the cost of viewing a performance was generally two 'obols', those who could not afford to pay could enter anyway. (The Ancient Greeks: The Athenians of Ancient Greece)

One of the better known playwrights of ancient Greece was Aeschylus. He was the son of Euphorion, and he was initially occupied in a vineyard, and some people opine that this must have brought about his love for the God of Wine, and this was why he wanted to offer his contributions to the theatre which was dedicated to the God of wine, Dionysus. He was indeed 'the Father of Tragedy', and one of his famous works was the Trilogy, which included the Agamemnon, the Choephorae, and the Euminides. Some more famous works were the 'Prometheus Bound', the 'Seven against Thebes', 'Oresteia' and so on. (Aeschylus and his Tragedies)

Euripides, another great playwright of ancient Greece, was quite often criticized for sacrificing propriety in the name of rhetorical displays, and at times, say some critics, this leads one to wonder whether they are in fact reading verse, or reading the words of an orator. However, one must acknowledge the fact that it was this very quality that made Euripides much more a favorite among his people, and even today, than either Sophocles or Aeschylus. As a matter of fact, it was this very quality that made the genre of tragic-comedy so very popular in his time, and Menander used this model to base his next comedy on, while Quintilian used the model to base his next oratory on. This was a playwright who, like Sophocles, believed in inter-weaving philosophy with tragedy, and rhetoric with comedy. He was quite inordinately patriotic, and many critics attribute the very spread of dramatic literature down the ages to this great Greek poet and playwright. Some of his better known works are: Hippolytus, and the famous Medea, which even today has not lost either its relevance or its charm. (Euripides and his tragedies)

Sophocles was born into a wealthy noble family, and he had the benefit of an education that wealth could buy. The beginning of his career as an ancient Greek playwright was interesting and fascinating, because this was when he managed to defeat the great Aeschylus in a competition. Sophocles then became an exponent of tragedies and satiric dramas, and he was indeed a prolific writer, because he has more than a hundred and eighty plays attributed to him during the span of his career of about sixty years. Some of his more famous works are Ajax, the Antigone, and the Electra. He was an individual who constantly attempted to improve things, and he was consequently responsible for bringing in a great many improvements, not only into the form of the Greek plays, but also to the stages where they were performed, and the ways in which the plays were performed on stage in the theaters specially made for them. To date, Greek Tragedy and Greek plays as such are attractive to those who are interested, and there is no doubt that some of the values advocated by the ancient Greeks through their plays are relevant, even today. (Sophocles and his tragedies)


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