Greek Drama

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Read or review the masterpieces of Greek tragedy and Greek comedy. How are these plays alike? How are they different? Which do you think most represents Greek culture in the fifth century B.C.?

Compare and contrast the features of Old Comedy and New Comedy. Which of these forms seems more relevant to modern drama? Explain your answer.

Read Aristotle’s Poetics and apply his analysis of tragedy to a play of your choosing.

Read Plato’s Republic, in which he discusses his ideas about tragedy and its place in society. Out of what philosophical ideas does Plato’s argument arise? How valid is his argument?

Find out more about life in ancient Greece in the fifth century B.C. Based on your research, decide if Greek tragedies or comedies would have been more meaningful to fifth-century audiences.

Trace the history of drama throughout the ages or in one specific period, such as the Elizabethan period or the French neoclassical period. How did the works and ideas of the Greek playwrights influence these later movements?

Find out more about the Peloponnesian War, which Aristophanes took as the backdrop for most of his plays. How do you think the ongoing strife might have affected Athenian society, and how might this have been reflected in Aristophanes’ comedies?

Find out more about the rise of Athenian democracy. Then investigate one or more of the Greek plays to see how new ideas about government are referenced in these plays.

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