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By Ruth Scodel

"This publication presents a quick and obtainable advent to Greek tragedy for college kids and normal readers alike. no matter if readers are learning Greek tradition, acting a Greek tragedy, or just drawn to studying a Greek play, this publication can assist them to appreciate and luxuriate in this not easy and profitable style. An advent to Greek Tragedy offers historical past info; is helping readers savour, enjoy, Read more...

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The combination of dithyramb and tragedy in the festival mirrors in microcosm the tensions within the democratic system, which needed simultaneously to proclaim its egalitarianism, to attract and reward excellence, and to exploit the rich without alienating them. There is also a balance between local and Panhellenic interest. The dithyrambic poets were not always Athenians, but the prize went to an Athenian. The tragic prize, however, sometimes went to Pratinus of Phlious, Aristarchus of Tegea, or Ion of Chios.

Philosophers and psychologists still do not have an adequate understanding of the experience of involvement in fiction, of how we manage simultaneously to care deeply about the people on stage and to be fully aware that they are actors. Even though we usually sit in the dark and they sat in sunlight, our actors wear makeup 24╇ /╇ An Introduction to Greek Tragedy and theirs wore masks, and all the other differences between their theater and ours, the experience, mysterious as it is, seems to have been similar€– but their imaginations had to work harder.

Yet even this play is about ritual rather than being ritual, and it is a play about revenge, as well as religion. Also, the last part of Bacchae, in which Dionysus dresses Pentheus as a maenad€– that is, as a woman€– and sends him to spy on the women in the mountains, has seemed to many interpreters metatheatrical, about the theater itself. Theatrical self-consciousness and effective ritual do not sit easily together. Tragedy for the Athenians was essentially what theater is for us in the West:€make-believe.

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