The Spicy Lotus

December 12, 2009

Hippolytus, Euripides

Filed under: Classic,Greek,Play — pha9 @ 3:09 pm

Hippolytus (Ancient Greek: Ἱππόλυτος / Hippolytos) is an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The play was first produced for the City Dionysia of Athens in 428 BC and won first prize as part of a trilogy.

Euripides first treated the myth in Hippolytos Kalyptomenos (Hippolytus Veiled), now lost. Scholars are virtually unanimous in believing that the contents to the missing Kalyptomenos portrayed a shamelessly lustful Phaedra who directly propositions Hippolytus, to the displeasure of the audience.

This failure prompted Euripides to revisit the myth in Hippolytos Stephanophoros (“Hippolytus who wears a crown”), this time with a modest Phaedra who fights her sexual appetites. The surviving play offers a much more even-handed and psychologically complex treatment of the characters than is commonly found in traditional retelling of myths.

The gods play a very important role in Hippolytus, framing the action. Aphrodite appears at the beginning and Artemis at the end, and they were possibly represented onstage throughout the action in the form of statues. These two goddesses can be taken as representing the conflicting emotions of passion and chastity.

November 15, 2009

Ajax, Sophocles

Filed under: Classic,Greek,Play — pha9 @ 4:24 pm

Ajax (Greek: Αίας, Aias) is a play by Sophocles. The date of its first performance is unknown, but most scholars regard it as an early work, about 450 BCE to 430 BCE. It chronicles the fate of the warrior Ajax after the events of the Iliad but before the end of the Trojan War.

Philoctetes, Sophocles

Filed under: Classic,Greek,Play — pha9 @ 4:18 pm

In Greek mythology, Philoctetes (also Philoktêtês or Philocthetes, Φιλοκτήτης) was the son of King Poeas ofMeliboea in Thessaly. He was a Greek hero, famed as an archer, and was a participant in the Trojan War. He was the subject of at least two plays by Sophocles, one of which is named after him, and one each by both Aeschylusand Euripides. However, only one Sophoclean play survives, the others are lost. He is also mentioned in Homer’sIliad; Book 2 describes his exile on the island of Lemnos, his wound by snake-bite, and his eventual recall by the Greeks. The recall of Philoctetes is told in the lost epic Little Iliad, where his retrieval was accomplished byOdysseus and Diomedes.

October 5, 2009

The Oedipus plays, Sophocles

Filed under: Classic,Greek,Play — pha9 @ 3:52 pm

This post refers to all three Oedipus plays: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone.

Oedipus the King (ancient Greek Οἰδίπους Τύραννος, often known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex) is an Athenian tragedy bySophocles that was first performed c. 429 BC. It was the second of Sophocles’s three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Over the centuries, it has come to be regarded by many as the Greek tragedy par excellence.

Oedipus at Colonus (also Oedipus Coloneus, and in Greek Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ Oidipous epi Kolōnō) is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. It was written shortly before Sophocles’ death in 406 BC and produced by his grandson (also called Sophocles) at the Festival of Dionysus in 401 BC.

In the timeline of the plays, the events of Oedipus at Colonus occur after Oedipus the King and before Antigone. The play describes the end of Oedipus’ tragic life. Legends differ as to the site of Oedipus’ death; Sophocles set the place at Colonus, a village near Athens and also Sophocles’ own birthplace, where the blinded Oedipus has come with his daughters Antigone andIsmene as suppliants of the Erinyes and of Theseus, the king of Athens.

Antigone (Greek: Ἀντιγόνη) is a tragedy by Sophocles written before or in 442 BC. Chronologically, it is the third of the three Theban plays but was written first.The play expands on the Theban legend that predated it and picks up where Aeschylus’Seven Against Thebes ends.

September 2, 2009

Prometheus Bound, Aeschylus

Filed under: Classic,Greek,Play — pha9 @ 3:39 pm

Prometheus Bound (Greek: Προμηθεύς Δεσμώτης / Promētheus Desmōtēs) is an Ancient Greek tragedy. In Antiquity, this drama was attributed to Aeschylus, but is now considered by some scholars to be the work of another hand, perhaps one as late as ca. 415 BC.[1] Despite these doubts of authorship, the play’s designation as Aeschylean has remained conventional. The tragedy is based on the myth of Prometheus, a Titan who was punished by the god Zeus for giving fire to mankind.

August 28, 2009

The Oresteia, Aeschylus

Filed under: Classic,Greek,Play — pha9 @ 3:44 pm

The Oresteia (Ὀρέστεια) is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus which concerns the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. When originally performed it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have been performed following the trilogy; it has not survived. The term “Oresteia” originally probably referred to all four plays, but today is generally used to designate only the surviving trilogy. “The individual plays probably did not originally have titles of their own”[1] The only surviving example of a trilogy of ancient Greek plays, The Oresteia was originally performed at the Dionysia festival in Athens in 458 BC, where it won first prize. Overall, this trilogy marks the shift from a system of vendetta in Argos to a system of litigation in Athens.

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