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Title: E vs AGT

Ancient Greek and Elizabethan Theatre
General Information
  • In the 6th century B.C., Arion of Methymna in
    Lesbos (????µ?a) produced the first lyrics for
    the dithyramb. In the 5th century B.C., Thespis
    of Attica first introduced an actor and the
    chorus until the incorporation of more actors
    created the classical theatre. Classical plays
    followed a particular structural framework, with
    minor differences in some plays. Greek plays did
    not have intermissions. Aristotle declared that
    plays are complete and have a consistent
    structure of a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Early Greek plays derived from religious
    ceremonies. They were performances of religious
    celebrations that took place in Athens.

Elements of Greek Tragedy
  • The subject is serious. Right before the end the
    climax signifies the plays resolution.
  • The tragic protagonist is usually of noble birth
    and displays a greatness of spirit which the
    audience respects.
  • The protagonist faces forces that are beyond
  • The protagonist struggles until the end and shows
    great strength until his or her downfall.
  • In the end no one gains anything except loss but
    the protagonist, despite having lost the battle,
    usually gains wisdom and self-awareness in

  • The style of Greek tragedy was ceremonial.
    Although music played a significant role in the
    performance nothing has survived so that we know
    how it sounded. Also, were not certain of
    elements such as the amount of the text that was
    spoken or chanted.
  • We do know that the Greek theater opted for the
    display of all sorts of vivid and exciting
    spectacles. Masks and colorful costumes were worn
    by the actors.

Structure of Greek Tragedy
  • Prologue A monologue or dialogue preceding the
    entry of the chorus, which presents the tragedy's
  • Parodos - The entry ode of the chorus. The actors
    remain on stage throughout the play. The odes
    expose the theme, comment on action, and
    contribute to the development of the story.

  • Stasimon- any extended song of the chorus after
    the parodos and at the end of each episode so
    that the chorus commented on the action.
  • Episode the scene between two stasimons.
  • Exodos- the final action after the last Stasimon
    and the exit song of the chorus after the last
  • Chorus - The chorus was a group of costumed men
    standing on the orchestra throughout the
    performance. They observed and commented on the
    action of the actors. It consisted of twelve to
    fifteen elders.
  • The Choragos, or chorus leader often speaks for
    the entire chorus at certain moments. Also the
    term was used for the sponsor of a chorus.

  • The Messenger - plays the important role of the
    witness to events and actions that have taken
    place in other areas. He reports important action
    that has occurred offstage, usually portraying
    the violent acts that are never shown on stage
    and yet affect the course and outcome of the
    whole tragedy.

A Greek Theatre would seat 15,000 to 20,000
Parts of the Theatre
  • Theatron The Greek theatre was called a
    theatron. The theaters were large, open-air
    structures situated on hills that had rows of
    tiered stone seats and were composed of two main
    elements the orchestra and the skene. An altar
    was located in the middle of the orchestra
    dedicated to the god Dionysus.
  • Orchestra - The circular area at ground level
    which was enclosed by the crescent-shaped

  • Parodos a passage right and left on the sides
    of the orchestra used for the entrances and exits
    of the chorus.
  • Skene it was the stage building (meaning
    tent). This was a temporary wooden building
    usually decorated as a palace, temple, or
    something else in which the actors kept their
    masks and costumes and quickly changed. The
    skene also had doors from which the actors made
    their entrance and exit. They also had access to
    the roof from behind the skene, so that actors
    who played the roles of gods and other
    supernatural characters could appear on the roof.
  • Proscenium - the part where the actors performed
    in front of the skene.

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The Ancient Greek Theatre
  • Emergence of Drama as a Literary Art
  • http//ed.ted.com/lessons/the-emergence-of-drama-a

  1. 1558 to 1603 (Elizabeths I reign, 45 years The
    Golden Age).
  2. Renaissance Revival of ancient classical
    mythology, literature and culture. The end of the
    Dark Ages (5th to 15th centuries AD.
  3. Male dominance.
  4. Protestantism a religious movement that began in
    Germany by the German monk Martin Luther in 1517
    as a reaction against Medieval doctrines and
  5. Improvement of the educational system.
  6. English language gains importance.
  7. Experimentation, Drama, theatre and Shakespeare.

  • Born April 23, 1564 at Stratfordupon-Avon.
  • Died April 23, 1616. He was 52-years-old.
  • William was the child of John Shakespeare, a
    leather trader and
  • Mary Arden. William attended the King's New
    School in Stratford where
  • he learned Latin and studied the classics.
  • He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and had 3
  • He moved to London between the mid to late 1580s.
  • He was part of the acting group called The Lord
    Chamberlains Men (the
  • group was named the Kings Men after the
    crowning of King James I in
  • 1603).
  • Shakespeare wrote more than 30 plays and 154
  • His Plays are divided into histories, comedies,
    tragedies and romances.

THE GLOBE THEATRE It was one of the most famous
Elizabethan theatres. It was composed of three
levels of galleries surrounding a circular yard.
Shakespeares plays were performed in this
theatre. He was part owner of the theatre. The
acting company had about 25 actors, all were
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Parts of the Globe Theatre
  • During the Performances
  • The groundlings stood in the yard while the
    richer patrons sat in the more expensive seats in
    the balconies.
  • People were allowed to eat during performances
    and shout at the actors if something the actors
    did or said displeased them.
  • The performances did not have any scenery except
    for props such as a throne, a bed or a cannon.
    But the actors wore colourful and extravagant

  • The Globe theatre was burned to the ground in
    1613. A prop cannon used for special effects
    during the first night of the performance of
    Henry VIII exploded and burnt the thatched roof.
  • It was rebuilt on the same site in 1614.
  • It was finally closed in 1642 and demolished in
    1644 by the Puritans.
  • A replica was built in 1997.

The End of the Globe Theater - the Puritans
  • In 1642, the Puritans forced the English
    Parliament to close down all the theatres.
  • The Puritans also known as Parliamentarians were
    a religious group that was against the Roman
    Catholic Church and in favour of simpler church
    structures. They also disapproved of social
    activities that were characterized by frivolous
    behaviour and finery.
  • In 1642 the English Civil war broke out between
    the Puritans whose leader was Oliver Cromwell and
    the Royalists lead by King Charles I.
  • In 1644 the Globe Theatre was demolished by the

  • In 1647 stricter rules were applied regarding
    stage plays and theatres.
  • In 1648 all playhouses were pulled down. All
    players were seized and whipped, and the audience
    was fined five shillings.
  • In 1649 the Puritans executed King Charles I.
  • In 1653 Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of
  • In 1658 Cromwell died and his ideas and followers
  • In 1660 King Charles II reopened the theatres.
    But the Globe was never re-built.
  • In the 20th century (1997) a reconstruction of a
    New Globe Theatre was built near the spot. 

  • The Theatre in Shakespeares Time
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vgDkt1MlLdgc

Ancient Greek and Elizabethan Theater
differences and similarities
  • Much like Elizabethan England, ancient Greece
    only allowed men to participate in the plays.
    Both had minimum scenery. Actors wore masks and
  • The main dissimilarity was that the Greek drama
    was rooted in religion and not entertainment.
    Performances of Greek tragedy involved ritual.
    Tragic festivals were religious in nature because
    they were celebrations of the god Dionysus, god
    of wine and fertility. Initially the theater was
    part of the temple. The plays were performed each
    year at the Festival of Dionysus, in which great
    writers would compete. On the other hand
    Shakespeares plays involve ghosts, spirits and
    witches, that is supernatural elements.
  • Plays are tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies and
  • Both theatres have similarities in structure.
    They seat the audience in a semi-circular or
    circular tiered design, have a stage and the
    Elizabethan theatre is partly roofed.
  • Both the Aside (something spoken by an actor,
    intended to be heard by the audience, but not by
    those on stage) and the Chorus secretly provided
    information about the characters and plot only to
    the audience.
  • Tragic heroes in both theatres experience their
    downfall after the climax and then the dramas
    resolution takes place. Tragedies provide
    philosophical insight and in particular the
    heros self-awareness or enlightenment in the
    Ancient Greek Tragedies. Not all Elizabethan
    characters are benevolent tragic heroes, Macbeth
    for instance is not. The tragic hero could excite
    two emotions in the audience fear and pity.
    Finally, the restoration of order provided the
    experience of Catharsis in both the hero and the

  • http//web.eecs.utk.edu/mclennan/Classes/US210/Gr
  • http//narrativestructures.wisc.edu/aristotle
  • http//academic.reed.edu/humanities/110tech/theate
  • http//ucbclassics.dreamhosters.com/djm/classes/St
  • http//www.thefreedictionary.com/PReCEDE
  • http//encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/theatron
  • http//www.crystalinks.com/greektheater.html
  • http//www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/
  • http//www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/479892/P
  • http//www.biography.com/people/william-shakespear
  • http//www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/122
  • http//www.william-shakespeare.info/william-shakes
  • http//skaourisclass.wikispaces.com/TheGlobeThea
  • http//www.oocities.org/trichard_ca/Globe.html
  • http//www.britannica.com/shakespeare/article-2481
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vo978_nEhyMM
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vC_gby5JoE6glistPL
  • http//ed.ted.com/lessons/the-emergence-of-drama-a
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vgDkt1MlLdgc

  • When was the Ancient Greek Theatre developed?
  • What was the orchestra?
  • What was the parodos?
  • What was the Skene?
  • What were the general features of Ancient Greek
  • When was Shakespeare born and when did he die?
  • In which town was Shakespeare raised?
  • Who was the reigning monarch during Shakespeares
  • Where were his plays performed?
  • What were the two names of the Shakespeares
    Acting Company?
  • What were the main differences/similarities
    between Ancient Greek and Elizabethan Theater?

  • http//quizlet.com/23777057/test?writtenonmatchi
  • http//quizlet.com/23777057/ancient-greek-theatre-
  • http//www.myvocabulary.com/word-game-puzzles/shak
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