Ancient Greek / Greek Tragedy term paper 9201

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The Greek Tragedy

The tragedy was a large part of people's lives in ancient Greece. Tragedies became prominent long before Christ was born. A tragedy, or goat-song, usually were seen during festivals in ancient Greek times. Tragedies gradually increased in seriousness until they were given utmost importance. Greek tragedies began at a festival in honor of a god, there were three great tragic authors, and all tragedies include a tragic situation.

Greek tragedies began at a festival in honor of Dionysius, who was the god of wine. At the early festivals, drinking, quarrels, and sexual activity occurred frequently. Later on, tragedies gained much more respect and were taken very seriously. The plays dealt with man's relationship with god(s). These plays also dealt with a specific instance of life. The chorus wore goat-skins and served a great purpose in the tragedies, themselves. Thespis, the father of the tragedy, created an actor who talked with the leader of the chorus to further make the importance of the chorus seen.

In Greek tragedy, three masters were paramount. They were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. These three playwrights all wrote for the festivals of Dionysius, but none of the three were alike. Aeschylus writes about Athenian power, arrogance, and ancient rule. Sophocles accepts the gods as the way they are. He does not believe in the violation of cosmic order. Euripides questions spirit. He also faults the old way of doing things.

Every tragedy has a tragic situation in which the tragic hero finds himself. There are two basic tragic situations. The most common situation is a man between two clashing principles. Every situation results in sorrow and suffering for the protagonist, or tragic hero. Creon is the tragic hero who suffers dearly for his situation. A choice is imperative to a tragic situation. In tragic situations, a conclusion must be made, or has already been made, which results in suffering for the hero.

Greek tragedies are very important to ancient history. Many tragedies are still seen throughout auditoriums today. Ancient Greek tragedies were first seen at festivals for the wine god, Dionysius, than became much more serious. There are three masters of tragedy that lived in ancient Greece: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Also, in every tragedy the hero is faced with a tragic situation. Out of all types of plays, the greek tragedy is still at the top of the list.

Word Count: 397


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