Drama Home Page



Glossary Role of Chorus

Playwrights Actors

History of Theatre The Stage

The Plays Home Page

Medea (10th grade)
Antigone (10th grade)



Comedy   "Song of Revel"
Dihyrambs   Hymns which celebrated Dionysus' life
Drama A thing done


Dionysus' mad women followers


Half man/half goat


A seeing place


Viewing place


Goat song




Founder of drama; introduced actor on stage; 
dialogue with chorus

Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides - big three in Greek tragic drama


Introduced 2nd actor on stage, 
dialogue between actors/chorus


Introduced 3rd actor; reduced role of chorus


Wrote encouraging social reform; 
made fun of the gods; 
more emotional than other two


History of Theatre
  Evolved from celebrations honoring god Dionysus
    Held on threshing floors
    Maenads: mad women followers who sang and danced - became chorus
    Hymns called dithyrambs honoring Dionysus
  Athens converted rural festivals to dramatic spectacles
    Theatres built into hillsides for better viewing - open air
    Theatre of Dionysus - 17,000 people
    Spring festivals became tragedy
    Winter festival became comedy

Series of three plays - tragic trilogy
     Winner received goat
     Satyr play provided comic relief

    All were expected to attend, including women
    Tickets purchased for poor people
    Considered a religious duty
    Spectators wore bay leaves to honor Dionysus
    Theatre at Epidarus honored Asclepias
    Music essential part of drama - chorus
    Performances lasted all day
    Romans modified theatres for gladiatorial contests
     Theatres built in the center of towns
     Not religious in nature


The Plays
  Plots taken from familiar myths and stories
  No violence on stage - happens off stage and reported
  Consistent format/form of presentation
    Prologue - background of plot
    Parados sung by chorus
    Odes sung by chorus divide scenes/actors left stage
    Study of conflict in human nature, in society, within self, and with the gods
    Protagonist often high born person
    Protagonist brought down by flaw in character which results in downfall, misery, great sorrow, and/or suffering


Role of Chorus
  Acts as collective conscience of community
  Essential part of play
  Helps interpret meaning of play
  Two functions
    Sang and danced during interludes
    Dramatic function
     Embodied moral ideas of society
     Admonished characters against breaking laws
  Technical function
    Announced entrance and exit of charact
    Foreshadowed events
    Recount/interpret history for clarification


  Actors all male
  Wore masks for identification
    Megaphones in masks
    Exaggerated expressions
    May be divided: male/female; sad/happy
  Wore thick soled shoes
  Large robes with big sleeves
  No more than 3 actors plus chorus (15 members)


The Stage
  Orchestra where chorus sang and danced
    Greek orchestra - round
    Roman orchestra - semi circular
  Raised platform behind orchestra for actors
  Skene: small building behind platform
    Used for changing clothes
    Became building in scenes - later balcony
  Theatron - viewing place for spectators

Stone benches carved into hillsides served as seats
Sophocles was one of the three great tragic playwrights



created by Dorothy Westenskow
Denver South Public High School
last edited:10/25/09