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(384-322), 4th century BC, defined tragedy


Purification that brings emotional relief or renewal


Depiction of some catastrophic, realistic action that will arouse pity and fear in the one who sees it, and purge him of an accumulation of upsetting emotions

Tragedy is...

An imitation of an action that is serious, complete, of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions

Playwright's purpose

Showing the audience a general truth about life

Protagonist's error/frailty

Weakness that most people have


A tragic flaw or tragic error in judgement; Oedipus kills Lauis


That pride or overconfidence which leads a man to overlook a divine warning, or to break a moral law

Hero of a tragedy

Hero must be in a high social position, must posses a tragic flaw, which brings disaster


The character's actions turn on him or discovery (the character moves from ignorance to knowledge); Oedipus realizes he killed his father/married his mother

Three unities

Place, time, and action


The action represented is limited to one location


The time represented as passing be no more than one day


Nothing that is necessary is left out; nothing that is unnecessary is included

Form of tragedies

Prologue, parados, epeisodion, stasimon, and exodos


Introduced the play and story


Song that brought on the chorus


Usually five; passage of dialogue among characters that alternated with the stasimon


Chorus chanted or sang its part with music, and moved at the same time; strophe as they moved to the left; antistrophe as they moved to the right


Took the chorus offstage and ended the play


(497-406) man of many talents, interested in civic affairs and became treasurer of athens, wrote over a hundred scripts and won eighteen Dionysia festivals, introduced a third actor and reduced the size of the chorus to fifteen


Place where Oedipus was raised by his foster parents, Polybus and Merope


Place where Oedipus was born, where his real parents Lauis and Jocasta live


An ancient town in the country of Phocis which was famous for its temple and oracle of Apollo


Wife of the god Poseidon and goddess of the sea. She was the mother of Triton


Earlier called Dionysus. Greek and Roman god of wine and revelry


King of Phoenicia, founded Thebes along with five other men


Lofty mountain range separating Boeotia from Megaris and Attica; sacred to Dionysus; associated with Oedipus because that's where he was found


Bacchanites, "mad" because they were frenzied in their worship to Bacchus


A son of Hermes; god of the shepherds and the flocks, loved music and invented the syrinx or shepherd's flute; led the nymph's in dance, but frightened people because he has the legs and horns of a goat


Mountain range in southern Greece


Priestess of Delphi who uttered the revelations of Apollo


Jocasta's brother who becomes the custodion of Thebes after what happens with Oedipus


Oedipus mother and wife who hangs herself after finding out the truth about him


Oedipus' father who was killed by Oedipus

Three highways meet

Place where Oedipus killed his father


The blind prophet of Thebes who revealed to Oedipus that Oedipus had murdered his father and married his mother


A brief statement of truth; "Seek and you shall find only that escapes which was never pursued"

Dramatic irony

A contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader or audience knows to be true


Seeming contradiction that proves to be true; "eyeless seer"


Comparison not using like or as

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