Aspects of Ancient Greek Drama free ebook

The history of Western drama begins in the mid-sixth century at Athens. The high period of Greek drama runs from the sixth to the mid-third century, with special attention paid to the fifth century, when most of the plays that we possess were produced.
We shall be concerned with the three distinct genres of Greek drama: serious drama or tragedy (instituted traditionally in 534), satyr-drama (added ca. 500), and comedy (which began formally at Athens in 486, but which flourished at the same time in
Syracuse also).
Drama is action. According to Aristotle (Poetics 1448a28), dramatic poets “represent people in action,” as opposed to a third-person narrative or the mixture of narrative and direct speech as done by Homer. We begin, then, appropriately enough with a Greek word, drama (drama), which means “action,” “doing,” “performance.” According to Aristotle, the verb dran was not an Attic term (“Attic” being the dialect spoken at Athens), Athenians preferring to use the verb prattein and its cognates (pragma, praxis) to signify “action” or “performance.” Whether this was true or not does not matter here – that dran is common in Athenian tragedy, but not in the prose
writers, may support Aristotle’s assertion. For both Plato and Aristotle, the two great philosophers of the fourth century, drama is an example of mimesis, “imitation” or “representation,” but each took a different view of the matter. (Mimesis is not an easy word to render in English. Neither “imitation” nor “representation” really gets the point. free ebook