What were the major themes and concerns of ancient Greek drama?
This is for a history assignment. In the syllabus it states that the major themes and concerns of Greek drama were the impact of war, the state versus the individual, the state versus family, nature of "barbarism", pride and the polis, role of the gods in human affairs, gender roles and relationships. This is all fine but the problem is that I don't know where I can look up more information on these themes.
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If you want to know where you can go to read about the themes you mention, there are two places you can go. First, there are the primary sources - the plays themselves. We have three main tragic authors - Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. If you read a few plays from each author, then you will get a good sense of what Athenian tragedy is like.
Second, you have secondary sources. There are several excellent books on Greek tragedy. These books with help you with what scholars are saying about the plays.
I suggest that you start with basic introductions. A good book is: Ancient Greek Literature by Kenneth Dover and E. L. Bowie. This book will give you a good overview of tragedy. Another good book is Ancient Greek Tragedy by H. D. F. Kitto. Also use the bibliography to read books and article that interest you.
Finally, you might want to get a basic history of ancient Greece, so that you will know what is going on during the time of these tragedies.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/20902/A-Brief-Account-of-Greek-Theatre This site seems to have some great background information for you, and it also includes additional themes concerning Greek drama, specifically that of fate and human, as well as godly, arrogance.
For more specific information, try looking up the specific writers of the plays, such as Sophocles. Usually, this will lead to more information in terms of their writings and some of the themes they dealt with. Good luck!
There are many other themes like the character's quest for salvation and about life as a mortal being and also about fate and destiny that resonate throughout the play.
This link below tells you about themes related to the Greek drama and theater and also about the different Greek playwrights that enhances the quality of Greek dramas forever.
Your themes above are exhaustive enough but hopefully, this link would help you a bit more in analyzing deeply about the structure and inner thoughts and feelings of Greek dramas.
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