The Orgins Of Greek Theatre Essay

2772 words - 12 pages

There is no denying the fact that theatre is truly a link between all civilizations it comes in many forms spiritual rituals, storytelling, hymns, odes, and performances. It has been utilized during the many downfalls of civilizations as a means of communication and was truly shaped by the Greeks. The origins of theatre can be traced back to the Greeks as a religious ritual to their gods, to their implementations of the technical aspects of theatre, through their plays and also through the actual stages that they constructed. These aspects have proven to have a lasting effect even into todays society and without the Greeks influence on theatre, theatre as we know it, would cease to exist (Schanker and Ommanney 298).
The origins of Greek drama began as a religious ritual to honor their gods although the one most noted is the Greek god Dionysus god of wine fertility and revelry (Wilson and Goldfarb). There were two major rituals that occurred twice annually in the City of Athens (Fiero 90) and were performed by the chorus. The chorus would dance and chant songs, in the orcoastra around an alter where a goat was sacrificed in order to commemorate the gods death. (Schanker and Ommanney 298). When the first actor, Thespis, stepped out of the chorus it proved to be a monumental change within theatre and he was known as the first actor the term “thespian” has now been given to every actor since (Schanker and Ommanney 298). These rituals then evolved into dramatic contests and became part of a festival that lasted around five to six days. On each of the last three days four plays were presented each by a different playwright (Schanker and Ommanney 298). It is recorded that in 534 B.C.E Thespis was not only the first playwright and actor but also the first playwright to win the first Greek tragedy contest (Wilson and Goldfarb).
The theatres that the Greeks utilized were originally used for religious purposes and later developed into an actual stage where the plays took place. The Greeks had built an amphitheater on hillsides to perform called amphitheaters and designed with built in acoustics so that the audience could hear the chorus or actor. (Fiero) check sourse
**The first three plays performed at these festivals were tragedies and these three tragedies often formed a trilogy. A trilogy consists of three plays that are related by theme, myth or by characters (Schanker and Ommanney 298) they were intended to show how futile human efforts are in the face of fate. Tragedies typically involved conflicts that developed gradually from a disagreement of ordain of the gods and the desires of humanity (Schanker and Ommanney 300). Most tragedies focus was on a tragic hero, also known as a protagonist, who is best characterized in the famous philosopher Aristotles work Poetics. Aristotle stated that the tragic hero is an average or better person who, through the unraveling of the plot of the play, is brought from jubilation to agony (Schanker and...

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