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About this Lecture
In this module, we provide some concluding through about Athenian tragedy and comedy, focusing in particular on: (i) the influence of ancient drama on art, literature, philosophy and psychology – and the reasons that it has had such a long-standing and wide-ranging impact; (ii) the conflict between the pre-play ceremonies that portray the city of Athens as a powerful, wealthy, successful democracy, and the plays themselves that show a city ‘going wrong’; (iii) some ways of understanding this conflict; (iv) the moral complexity of tragic heroes such as Oedipus and Pentheus; (v) the interest of tragedy in what happens when two or more moral imperatives pull in different directions; (vi) the interest of both tragedy and comedy in the slipperiness of concepts such as male and female, masculinity and femininity; (vii) the interest of both tragedy and comedy in language, its multiple meanings, its disruption; and (viii) the interest of both tragedy and comedy is providing an intense and uncompromising evaluation of democratic Athens’ most cherished political ideals.
In this course, Professor Simon Goldhill (University of Cambridge) explores several aspects of Greek tragedy and comedy, focusing in particular on Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Euripides’ Bacchae, and Aristophanes’ Frogs. The first module provides an introduction to Greek tragedy and comedy, focusing in particular on the particular time and place in which these plays were written and performed ¬– fifth-century Athens. In the second module, we think about the rituals and ceremonies that preceded the performance of the dramatic works themselves – and why they are important in how we think about tragedy and comedy. Each of the three modules after that focuses on a single play –Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Euripides’ Bacchae, and Aristophanes’ Frogs – and we think about some of the play’s key issues and preoccupations. The sixth module provides some concluding thoughts on the genre as a whole.
Simon Goldhill is Professor of Greek Literature and Culture and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. His research interests include Greek Tragedy, Greek Culture, Literary Theory, Later Greek Literature, and Reception. His many publications include Reading Greek Tragedy (1986), Love Sex and Tragedy (2004), Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity (2011), and Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy (2012), the last of which won the 2013 Runciman Award for the best book on a Greek topic, ancient or modern.
Cite this Lecture
Goldhill, S. (2020, September 03). Greek Theatre - Conclusion [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/greek-theatre-simon-goldhill/conclusion-8e445067-b084-4d9c-b80c-25d2d3b322a7
Goldhill, Simon. "Greek Theatre – Conclusion." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 03 Sep 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/greek-theatre-simon-goldhill/conclusion-8e445067-b084-4d9c-b80c-25d2d3b322a7