Classical Drama

Assignment instructions-

1. Below you have the titles of the plays we have read thus far: Agamemnon by Aeschylus
Oedipus the King by Sophocles
Medea, by Euripides
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
Pseudolus by Titus Maccius Plautus
Atsumori, Zeami Motokiyo
Everyman, by Anonymous
Doctor Faustus, by Christopher Marlowe
And the Critical perspective texts:
Poetics by Aristotle
A Mirror Held to the Flower (fragment) by Zeami Motokiyo

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For each play please ask three questions about their authors within the historical, social, economical and political context(s), answer at least three of your own questions – minimum one paragraph for each answer/100 words.

My note to Essaypro writer- So basically my professor wants us to come up with three questions per play and out of all of those questions we only have to answer three of them which should be 100 words each.

2. ESSAY QUESTIONS– below you have a list of essay questions examples on the material we have covered up until now. Answer at least one of the following question (300 words minimum).

– One of the most powerful scenes in the play Agamemnon by Aeschylus is the confrontation between King Agamemnon, accompanied by his Slave/Former Princess Cassandra and Queen Clytemnestra outside their house upon his return from the Trojan War. The victorious king accepts his queen’s invitation to step on the red/purple tapestries when he knows this is an honor reserved only for the Greek Gods. Why does Agamemnon submit to walking on the carpets when he knows that his pride or hubris will upset the Gods?

– Cassandra warns everyone about the fact that the king is about to die and that she will also be murdered as soon as she will enter the house of King Agamemnon. Why nobody believes her warnings? Was justice achieved through wars, distruction and sacrifice of one’s family?

– The scene between Oedipus and Tiresias in the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles dramatizes the paradox of vision in the play. The old prophet Tiresias is blind but can see the truth, Oedipus has sight but doesn’t know who he is or from where he comes. Yet within the action of the play he will discover himself. How does the action of the play add stature to his character?

– Discuss Oedipus the King as a murder mystery. Why is mystery such a compelling and addictive genre? Why is the mystery plot the ultimate narrative?

– Freud’s “Oedipus Complex” is a staple of twentieth-century psychology. In the play Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Jocasta dismisses Oedipus’s spoken fears of his mother’s bed. To what extent is psychology, as we know it today, relevant or irrelevant to an understanding of the tragedy written 2,500 years ago?

– Medea has been described as a strong, independent woman, as a woman mad with passion for Jason, as a foreign princess, and as a witch: what view is best conveyed in Euripides’ play?

– Imagine Medea (or any other of the plays we read in class) as a play without words. How would you represent the action visually in order to tell the story?

– Within the context of the entire play Medea by Euripides, make sense of the following lines:

CHORUS: Zeus on Olympus enforces all things;
the gods can accomplish what no one would hope for. What we expect may not happen at all,
while the gods find a way, against all expectations,
to do what they want, however surprising,
and that is exactly how this case turned out.
(Medea, by Euripides, lines 1464- 69)

– Lysistrata is an example of the “old Greek comedy” the type of comedy in which Aristophanes wrote, How does Lysistrata differ from other types of comedy with which you are familiar? Compare it for example, to a current television sitcom of your choice?

– What is the effect of all the vulgar language and graphic sex talk in the play Lysistrata? Is such explicit language necessary? Why is it necessary, or why not? Can you give an example of a modern day Lysistrata?

– In the play Pseudolus by Titus Maccius, Plautus – the title character – develops a relationship with the audience by addressing it directly in a number of speeches and asides. What qualities make Pseudolus a sympathetic character and the star of the show?

– Why and how does money play such an important role in Plautus’ comedy Pseudolus?

– Very little happens in noh drama Atsumori by Zeami Motokiyo–in terms of physical action. In the absence of strong dramatic action, what aspects of the play command attention?

– Within the context of the entire play/Atsumori, make sense of the following lines:

WAKI: It was exquisite! And all the more exquisite because such music is not expected from men in your position.

SHITE: You say it’s unexpected from men in our position. People should neither envy superiors nor despise inferiors, or so it is said.”

(Atsumori, By Zeami Motokiyo, lines 50-3)

– The character of Everyman is surrounded by allegorical figures representing certain qualities and attributes. What qualities or attributes does Everyman possess: and why must certain ones abandon him as he journeys toward death?

– What qualities prove the most enduring in Everyman? What values does Everyman, a medieval morality play, hold for a modern, scientific, and often quite secular society?

– To whom is God speaking at the beginning of the play Everyman? Describe how would you stage such a scene?

– Compare and contrast Doctor Faustus with the allegorical Everyman. How is Marlowe;s hero more complex than the morality play figure?

– Please write about how a story you heard or read creates a bridge between those who told/wrote the story and you? Out of all the classical plays we read which one serves as a bridge for your experience as a modern human, artist and scholar?

My note to Essaypro writer- You just have to answer one of these questions, you could choose which ever one you like.

3. Analyze the language of two characters – the characters can be from the same play or two different plays Then choose one or two scenes or two monologues for these characters, and describe how it should be performed, what kind of techniques/methods would you employ for research and characterization? Why these characters are relevant to you as a performer? What would you hope to accomplish during potential rehearsals and performances? How would you envision exchanging ideas with all other artistic collaborators, such as fellow actors, directors, designers, technicians, etc.?

My note to Essaypro writer- There is no word limit given you can answer all these questions and it doesn’t have to be long.

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