CLSS-261 Greek Tragedy
Fall for 2014-2015
Students read the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the fifth century B. C. Athenian playwrights whose works represent the remarkable birth of a genre that has captured the Western imagination for 2500 years. We consider the plays within the context of the culture saw their first productions: Athenian democracy and empire. We also study the genre of tragedy itself, thinking about what we can learn from the extant plays themselves as well as from Aristotle, in the Poetics, and other theoreticians who have speculated on the origin and meaning of the tragic and the drama meant to enact it. Whatever is profound and provocative—and indeed, original—in Shakespeare, Schiller, O’Neill, or Wilson must be set against the foundation of tragedy: the Oresteia of Aeschylus; the Oedipus Tyrannus and Antigone of Sophocles; or the Medea and the Bacchae of Euripides. This is the course for students who want to know that foundation.
*Readings in English.*
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