Lysistrata is the only surviving Aristophanean play whose title designates the name of the main character. Most other plays convey the collective name of the Chorus, or else another chief theme of the play. Lysistrata means something like "releaser of war" or "army disbander" and we are invited by Aristophanes to consider her character above all others, … Continue reading The War Between the Sexes in Lysistrata
At the outset of the Wasps, we are presented with two slaves who are awakening after drinking. They have been tasked with keeping guard over the entrances and exits of their house. A huge net has been cast over the house. Their instructions come from their master, Bdelykleon ("Kleon despiser" -in the play, Aristophanes continues his … Continue reading The Courts Ridiculed in the Wasps
In Classical Greek drama, the existence of a Chorus strikes the modern audience as odd. Why is there a Chorus? What role does it play? Where did the Chorus come from? The origin of the word "khoros" is cloaked in mystery, however it has been suggested by modern scholars that the word references an open dance … Continue reading What is the Chorus in Greek Tragedy?
Ion is an odd play for a Euripidian tragedy. Unlike many of his other works, Ion prominently features the gods, including a closing scene in which Athena resolves the impending conflict of the play. Apollo, though silent throughout the play, is portrayed in an unflattering light, while Athena is cast as all-knowing, not unlike the Athena … Continue reading Euripides and the Gods: Ion
There has been a longstanding debate, dating back to Aristotle, regarding the purpose or telos of tragedy, and whether or not the key "tragic" element is the result of a unique or particular character flaw caused by the protagonist. In other words, is Oedipus merely a flawed human being who has brought about the destruction of himself, his … Continue reading Aristotle, Oedipus, and Greek Tragedy
Often in ancient Greek tragedy we find protagonists committing the sin of hubris (extreme pride or arrogance). Recall in Aeschylus's Agamemnon that Agamemnon returns home with a stolen concubine from Ilium, and also he fails to foresee the extent to which Clytemnestra holds a grudge against his decision to sacrifice Iphigenia. In another case, consider the … Continue reading Oedipus and Greek Tragedy