We have become perhaps too familiar through the medium of television with the notion of staged courtroom drama, but it was a bold, imaginative and above all original stroke on the part of Aeschylus in his Eumenides to stage a trial scene with a jury and an enacted vote, a genuine coup de theatre not apparently emulated by his successors. A show for Dionysus P. In their role as civic teachers cf. The language of tragedy: rhetoric and communication Simon Goldhill; 7. This seems t o imply a contrast between the use of plot and something formally different, such as direct invocation of the god. Thucydides, for example, represents the leading democratic politician Cleon as lambasting the Assembly in 427 for being mere 'spectators of words, auditors of deeds', although this accusation was surely itself double-edged, given Cleon's own sharply honed rhetorical skills. Athenocentrism of tragedy: see further Ch.
See Zimmermann 1992 for details. The legend was that Iphigeneia was whisked off by Artemis to a remote area of the Crimea to rescue her from sacrifice at Aulis. When choruses comment self-referentially on their own performance as dancers Henrichs argues that they do so not only in their capacity as characters in the drama but also as performers: while emphasising their choral identity, they temporarily expand their role as dramatic characters. The beings represented by the masks were potentially dangerous and disruptive things. Given that respectable Athenian 37 38 Terminology of citizen w o m e n : Patterson 1986. There are three pieces of evidence for this hypothesis. One may only hope that non-classicists will also be encouraged to explore the world of tragedy.
Assembly pay: see below, p. Although a strong preference for due legal procedures of dispute-resolution over the pursuit of private blood-feud emerges clearly enough from the plays' internal movement and final plot-resolution, it is surely among other things a tribute to Aeschylus' subtlety and indirection that scholars are still divided over the playwright's own political attitude to the major constitutional changes of the late 460s and to the politically motivated assassination of one of their principal authors, Ephialtes. The mask-like face of the Old Corinthian is theatrically turned to the audience. A fair number, furthermore, represent mythological and heroic scenes; and they do so in a dignified and serious style - at first glance not unlike that of tragedy. Plato's interest here is in the training of the 'wise person' phronimos and in the dangers of the seductions of literature. A show for Dionysus 36 P. In short, tragic experience of this probing and unsettling kind was considered conducive to the formation of a better informed and more deeply self-aware community, and to its periodical political re-creation.
The presence of women at the Great Dionysia is a hotly contested subject, with more extensive implications for our understanding of the audience and the nature of the dramatic performance cf. This conforms with the ephebes' special role at the Dionysia in the transfer of the statue of the god and the opening sacrifice, which, as I have already mentioned, is also attested only in late inscriptional evidence. The playwright was a sophos, a privileged and authoritative voice, who spoke to the city. She is currently writing a commentary on Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, also for the series. This may mirror a basic characteristic of the genre: Athenian tragedy, in extreme contrast with Athenian comedy, is not overtly metatheatrical - it does not explicitly remind the spectator that it is 'only a play' though there may be other kinds of non-explicit metatheatrical elements - see pp. It seems obvious to me, at least that this is based on a tragedy, and that it is overtly signalled as not that of Euripides. Tragedy, rather, was itself an active ingredient, and a major one, of the political foreground, featuring in the everyday consciousness and even the nocturnal dreams of the Athenian citizen.
The Greeks, however, saw nothing odd in theatrical competition either, in which they engaged to the hilt. Weinstein The Cambridge Companion to Thoreau edited by Joel Myerson The Cambridge Companion to Edith Wharton edited by Millicent Bell The Cambridge Companion to Realism and Naturalism edited by Donald Pizer The Cambridge Companion to Twain edited by Forrest G. The implication of the ancient didascalic record is that each set of tragedies and satyr play tragike didaskalia constituted a single entry, with the same chorusmen taking part throughout. Hippolytus, 15 16 Symposia: Murray 1990. Organising a civic festival was regarded as on a par with organising the state's war-effort, so the Eponymous, just as he oversaw the financing of the fleet through the trierarchic liturgy-system, was likewise responsible for appointing the six choregoi who would undertake the festival liturgy of funding the choruses for each of three tragedians and three comic dramatists.
And such debate and action took place in the theatre no less than in the other democratic arenas to be considered below. These categories of course overlap, and all are relevant for a discussion of Dionysus as theatre god. If corroboration be sought, we need look no further than the theatre of Dionysus, to the absurdist comic fantasies of Aristophanes. This procession is pictured on the frieze of the Parthenon. This was presumably imposed at the meeting of the Assembly that was regularly held in the theatre of Dionysus - not, as was otherwise usual, on the Pnyx hill - at the end of the Dionysia to review the festival's conduct. All the same, it would have been a peculiarly obtuse Athenian spectator who was not sharply stabbed by a prick of transhistorical and cross-cultural recognition as he watched Oedipus the King unfold - or unravel.
Although some notion and definition of citizenship had existed at Athens since at least the reforms of Solon in about 600, the Cleisthenic reforms embodied a new, positive conception of active, democratic citizenship. This, together with Podlecki 1990 , forms the fullest defence of the presence of women. In the five years or so after 461, following the assassination of the democratic reformer Ephialtes, civil war came as close to erupting outright at Athens as at any time before the final phase of the Peloponnesian War. The anonymous author, fondly if probably inaccurately known as the 'Old Oligarch' he was certainly an oligarch , fulminates against this Athenian liturgy system of sponsorship of the arts, which he represents as a sort of gigantic confidence trick to redistribute the wealth of the elite compulsorily to the differential benefit of the poor mass of the Athenian citizen body. Indeed, Plato's attacks on tragedy as dangerous demagoguery are in part at least precisely because of the position of tragic theatre within the discourses of the polis.
Archilochus, poet of dithyramb, gave the idea a memorable expression: 'I know how to lead off the lovely song of lord Dionysus when my wits are struck by the lightning-bolt of wine' fr. Braunmuller and Michael Hattaway The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry, Donne to Marvell edited by Thomas N. It has been claimed, for example, that inscriptions of 'X is handsome' in the masculine written alongside a female figure show that this is an actor impersonating a female part. Certainly the classical canon that evolved in late antiquity did not include satyr play as an automatic concomitant of tragedy, and notions of the tragic in more modern times have normally been unaffected by the satyric element. There are three main emphases: on tragedy as an institution in the civic life of ancient Athens, on a range of different critical interpretations arising from fresh readings of the texts, and on changing patterns of reception, adaptation, and performance from antiquity to the present. However, there 29 Reading tragedy politically: contrast Podlecki 1966b ; and Zuntz 1963 ; with Meier 1993 ; Rose 1992 e. While again no certainty is possible, the hypothesis of tribal seating reflects strikingly both the other tribal aspects of organisation in the festival, and the festival's spatial representation of socio-political division.
Restored democracy celebration: Strauss 1985. The quintessential outsider, he was entirely appropriately worshipped in the form of a mask, which could both figure his absent presence and provide actors and chorus with the alibi and means of alienation required for the dramatic representation of others and otherness. In the later 490s his Capture of Miletus took for its subject the traditional, indeed epic, theme of the sack of a city, but the city and sack in question in this tragedy were much closer to home than those of the Trojan cycle, since the play was about the annihilation by the Persians in 494 of Miletus, an Ionian Greek city with which Athens had both pragmatic and sentimental ties. For Sophocles see Seaford 1994 3 9 5 - 4 0 2. This insight into mortality and its sorrows is explicitly linked to the drunken old satyr, and the image has the advantage of combining the different strands of Dionysiac thinking that this chapter has briefly reviewed. As for tragedy itself, at any rate all through this early period, it was inseparable from satyr drama, with the same playwrights competing in the same event with tragedies and a satyr play.
The temple ruins caused by Persian sack in 480 and 479 meeting the eye of any backwards-glancing spectator during the staging of Persians in 472 would have delivered a no less potent political message than the astonishing plenitude of civic and imperial architecture to which the audience's eyes were directed fifty years later by Euripides in the Erechtheus. The issues of the play are focused firmly through the male, adult, enfranchised perspective. W o m e n a n d religion: Bruit 1992. But even if women did process in the pompe, does this imply anything for the theatre itself? In his recent book Seaford goes some way in the direction of the Nietzschean view that the mystic sufferings of Dionysus are at the centre of tragic patterns of action,60 but this approach is open to the objection that surviving Attic tragedy is not easily understood in relation to any master plot-pattern cf. Hippolytus play variations on the ephebic theme.