Greek tragedy was a dramatic form that flourished for less than a full century. And yet it remains vibrant, alive, and productive today. And the form's masterpieces help us - as perhaps they helped their original audiences - grasp a fuller sense of the terror and wonder of life. Professor Vandiver has designed these 24 rich and rewarding lectures to give you a full overview of Greek tragedy, both in its original setting and as a lasting contribution to the artistic exploration of the human condition. You'll learn to see Greek tragedy as a genre in its cultural context. What is tragedy's deeper historical background? Did it grow out of rituals honoring the god Dionysus, as is so often said? How did Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides each make unique contributions to tragedy's expressive power?
You'll also uncover what scholarship can reveal about the actual performance of Greek tragedy, including its physical and ritual settings, actors and acting methods, conventions of staging and stagecraft, and even how productions were financed. And with this solid background in place, you'll explore a broad group of tragedies in close detail. In particular, you'll see how individual tragedies used traditional myths (often tales from the Trojan War), and what Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides intended to accomplish by changing or adding to the basic story. You'll examine what certain tragedies imply about the world of 5th-century Athens and the importance, in turn, of the cultural background for explaining those tragedies.
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Theatre History Done Right!
Another Winner from Professor Vandiver - Well Done
Everytime I purchase a course from Professor Vandiver I end up very satisfied with my investment. Her courses on the Aeneid, the Oddyssey, and the Illiad were great. This one joined that group. I originally had no desire to check out her course "Classical Mythology" but I may purchase it as much because she is teaching it as the topic.
• The professor was easy to listen to (almost every sentence was easy to understand and she made her points fast)
• Great information on the origins of Greek tragedy, speculation on staging considerations, historical context in which the plays were performed, mythology background on which the plays’ plots were based, and the summary and critical analysis of the plots
Very minor minuses (and the positives definitely outweighed these):
• At times the professor spoke too fast and almost seemed to rush through some lectures, especially when providing background mythology information which made it hard to follow along with the stories
• While it was understandable that the professor could not cover every play in the time allotted, for completeness sake if she at least gave a quick plot summary of the nine Euripides plays she hadn’t discussed it would’ve exceeded expectations
• Instead of discussing all of Aeschylus’ works, then Sophocles, and then Euripides, there was some bouncing back and forth between the three tragedians’ works (mainly so as to point out differences and similarities between two plays by two different tragedians that concentrated on the same mythological source material but this made it a little difficult to keep track of how many plays have been covered for each tragedian)
I would recommend this course to anyone interested in theater, classical literature, or classical mythology.
- Tommy D'Angelo