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?
While many other Greek tragedies tend to reiterate already established myths and customs, Euripides's Orestes appears to be entirely his own invention. Chronologically, the plot of the play takes place after the events contained in Aeschylus's Libation Bearers. It was first performed in 408 BC, near the close of the Peloponnesian War. In Orestes, Electra recounts the story … Continue reading The Failure of Orestes
Known in Latin as the Troades, Euripides's The Trojan Women was said by Aelian's Varia Historica (published in the third century A.D.) to have been performed for the first time in 415 BC at the 91st Olympiad. Ultimately, he won second place, losing to Xenocles, a now lost Athenian tragedian. The Trojan Women was part three of a group of three tragedies … Continue reading Brief Thoughts on The Trojan Women
It has been suggested that Euripides is obsessed with character, but that he is indifferent to plot. Each one of his tragedies might be said to be a character study into the pure hopelessness faced by human beings. The Andromache is an unusual play for a number of reasons. The unnamed Scholiast, a latter Byzantine, reports that … Continue reading Thoughts on Andromache
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
Agamemnon, the first play of the Oresteia trilogy begins much like other great plays, such as Hamlet, on the walls of the city with a a lone watchman who bemoans the state of affairs, waiting for a light showing that Agamemnon, his king, is returning home from the Trojan War. Upon spotting the foreboding beacon, he … Continue reading Thoughts on Aeschylus