Greek Tragedies Play on Emotion

by MSO

Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived.

Greek tragedies are written works, with the intention of performance, in order to incite deep emotions from the audience. A main component of a Greek tragedy involves the death of a protagonist, which most people are able to predict throughout the play. The plays, whose scripts were put into book form much later, usually did not have a happy, joyful ending. Because the actors were male and there were very few involved, they used masks to play multiple roles. These masks were finely crafted and had dramatic, exaggerated features so everyone in the audience could clearly distinguish sex, social role and age.

Many people will read a Greek tragedy in school before seeing one come alive before their eyes. Sophocles, Euripides and Seneca were examples of two significant Greek tragedians. Arguably the most famous of tragedians is William Shakespeare, whose English tragedies often took place in ancient times and places scattered around Europe.

Traditional Greek tragedies took place in an open-air theater during the day because of lack of artificial light. This called for the audience to use their imagination when night scenes took place.

Centuries later, Greek tragedies continue to be one of the most intriguing aspects of literature.

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