Sophocles 496?-406 B.C. Lifetime Saw Athens rise and fall Represented high points of Athenian culture. He wrote more than 120 plays. Seven of that remain intact. Contributions to Theater Won prizes at drama competitions because of careful plotting and the “sense of inevitability” in his dramas. Complex character development Innovations for stage Greek Drama Classical drama developed from religious festivals that paid homage to Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility. Plays were funded by the state. Plays were performed in amphitheaters. Greek Drama (cont’d) Male actors performed in front of skene. Few scene changes. Actors wore large masks, padded costumes and elevated shoes. Words emphasized more than action. Role of Chorus Provided background information. Assessed characters’ strengths and weaknesses and gave advice. Provided connection between actors and the audience because the chorus had two roles: observer and participant. Helped structure action. Used to shape audience’s response to play’s action and characters. Greek Tragedy Prologue Parados Episodia Stasimon Exodus Tragedy Presents courageous individuals who confront powerful forces within or outside themselves with a dignity that reveals the breadth and depth of the human spirit in the face of failure, defeat and even death. Greek tragedy tends to be public. Protagonist Someone regarded as extraordinary rather than typical. Stature is important because it makes his/her fall more terrifying. Hamartia: Protagonist has error or frailty that seals his/her fate. An internal tragic flaw. Accepts responsibility for downfall. More Terms Reversal: Moment in plot where protagonist expectations are changed. Hero's fortunes are turned in unexpected direction. Recognition: character grows, makes discovery. Dramatic irony: meaning of character’s words, actions understood by audience but not by character. From The Bedford Introduction to Literature Michael Meyer, Ed.