An overview of the role of chorus in ancient greek theatre

What is a chorus in drama? A group of actors who function as a unit, called a chorus, was a characteristic feature of the Greek tragedy. The members of the chorus shared a common identity, such as Asian… Bacchantes or old men of Thebes. The choragos leader of the chorus sometimes spoke and acted separately.

An overview of the role of chorus in ancient greek theatre

Many of the great tragedies extant today were prize-winning works by Aeschylus b. Although the exact origins of Greek drama cannot be known with absolute certainty, most scholars believe its roots can be traced to the worship of Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine.

Members of the cult of Dionysus practiced assorted religious rituals, including the dithyramb, possibly as far back as b.

Although scholars do not fully understand the dithyramb, they speculate that the ritual involved a type of choric poetry, accompanied by dancers and flute playing. The choir, which numbered fifty persons, assumed roles of satyrs and maenads in honor of Dionysus. The cult and its rituals spread widely over the centuries, until most of Greece celebrated it.

And as it spread across the nation, religious elements diminished and theatrical elements were expanded. In the sixth century b. Nowhere was this activity more prominent than in Athens, the densely populated cultural center of Greece.

Hypocrite – The Greek Ideal

Sometime during the 6th century, a synthesis was achieved: His name was Thespis and, in asserting his individuality from the rest of the choir, he became the first actor. In Thespis won first place in the drama competition at Athens's magnificent religious festival called the City Dionysia, which had been established four years earlier and would soon become an annual event.

Scholars differ in their assessments regarding the nature of these very early plays, with some calling them little more than choric, and others deeming them fledgling tragedies.

The satyr-play, which served as raucous, comic relief after the performance of three serious dramas in a row, first appeared in b. The scale of the theater grew rapidly: Of the playwrights mentioned above, Aeschylus is credited with refining drama into an art form. His first victory in the City Dionysia was in and he dominated the event for decades.

He introduced the second actor on stage and this enabled an expanded story line, with more potential for conflict and dramatic situations. His work made great use of myth and legend and he included gods among his main characters.

The second great writer of tragedy was Sophocles. His first victory in the City Dionysia contest was in ; Sophocles was the first significant competitor to Aeschylus and is responsible for introducing three actors on stage at the same time. He did not neglect the potential of the ensemble and is noted for advancing characterization to a previously unheard of level.

His irony-laced tragedies stress human interaction with other humans more so than relations between humans and gods. The last of the great Greek tragedians was Euripides, who first competed in Although he did not achieve the popularity of Aeschylus or Sophocles in his own lifetime, possibly due to his emphasis on more realistic people and situations, Euripides's Medea b.

Aristophanes was the first master of comedy, a dramatic form of unknown origin; scholars believe it likely has roots similar to tragedy. Aristophanes is the best representative of the period known as Old Comedy; the comedies of this time were highly political in nature, satiric, and fantastic.

These evolved through a posited stage of Middle Comedy, arriving at New Comedy, represented by the last great Greek dramatist, Menander. Menander is silent on politics; his plays, which have been compared to modern era farces, deal with common people, their problems, and their romantic situations.Greek theatre staging Quick Reference Theatres in antiquity were constantly modified and rebuilt, and the surviving remains give few clear clues to the nature of the theatrical space available to the Classical dramatists of the 5th cent.

The overview includes information the unit, a list of the 7 lesson plans, materials needed and bonus material included, objectives, and assessment tools. Greek Theatre is the ancestor of the Modern Theatre.

It is the birth of the actor stepping away from a chorus of unison speakers. The building of. Almost every Greek city had a theatre because plays were part of many religious festivals. The Greeks enjoyed singing and dancing. At first, theatres were only used for festivals. The theatres were built on hillsides in the open air and could often hold more than 18, spectators.

Share on Social Media

The theatres were. The theatre of ancient Greece was at its best from BC to BC. It was the beginning of modern western theatre, and some ancient Greek plays are still performed today.

It was the beginning of modern western theatre, and some ancient Greek plays are still performed today. The chorus had a personality and could be important in the action, depending on the play, according to Rabinowutz in Greek Tragedy, but even so, they couldn't prevent the 1,2, or .

An overview of the role of chorus in ancient greek theatre

a chorus of men (varied in size form 3 to 50) -- many think the choral song -- dithyramb-- was the beginnings of Greek drama (but origins are unclear) 4. Closely associated with religion - .

The Chorus of Ancient Greek Theatre by Drew I-S on Prezi