English Key Greek Terms Test-ELL10C/D-Heschel 2017
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Terms in this set (30)
The part of an ancient Greek choral ode (lyrical stanza) responding to a previous strophe, sung by the chorus. It has a different rhythmic pattern from a strophe and tells the counterpart of a story relayed by the strophe.
In Greek drama, an on-stage debate scene, one often modeled after courtroom or political debate, between two characters.
Greek word meaning "recognition." By "recognition," Aristotle primarily means the sudden discovery of one's own or another's true identity, thus a "change from ignorance to knowledge." For Aristotle, recognition is one of two elements (the other being peripeteia, reversal of fortune) necessary to the best sort of tragic plot. Usually, anagnorisis is placed before the peripeteia.
Greek word meaning "cleansing," "purification," "purgation." According to Aristotle, a tragic audience member's vicarious experience of pity and fear produces a catharsis, a "cleansing" of those emotions from the psyche.
Deus Ex Machina
literally translated as "god from a machine," deus ex machina refers to the convention of using a crane, or machina, to lower an actor playing a god "from the heavens" on to the stage. Eventually, the phrase was used to describe an unexpected or improbable solution to a plot problem. Deus ex machina usually appears suddenly and towards the end of the plot.
Three rules of unity
Place: the setting of the play should be one location (Oedipus takes place on the steps outside the palace)
Time: The play should represent the passage of no more than one day (previous events leading up to the present situation, such as Oedipus outwitting the sphinx and killing his father, were recounted on stage - flashback)
Action: All actions or scene in the play contribute directly in some way to the main plot.
The idea, prominent in (though not confined to) Greek tragedy, that misdeeds engender further misdeeds/misfortune, whether in the form of vengeance prompting further vengeance, or by visiting the sins of the ancestors on descendants. Not infrequently, the committing of a misdeed is understood as punishment for some previous misdeed — "crime begets crime."
Greek word for "dance," "group of dancer-singers."
Delphi, Delphic Oracle
Place where Apollo had his most famous oracle, or place of prophecy ("oracle" can also refer to any prophecy given by the god.) There, after purifying themselves (think mikvah), people would pose questions to the god's priests. It is in a lot of Greek Tragedies.
The origin of tragedy, a musical composition sung by a chorus in honor of Dionysus, god of fertility, wine and drama. It developed into a dramatic form when, at some point, the chorus leader decided to engage in dialogue with one of the singers. This explanation accounts for tragedy's structure as an alternation between scenes spoken by actors and passages sung and danced by a chorus accompanied by a flute and lyre.
The main section of the play, where most of the plot occurs. Actors speak dialogue about the plot (more so than taking action, much of which is offstage and later commented upon). The dialogue is between actors or between actors and the chorus leader. This is how any section of a play following the entry of the chorus (parados) is referred to. The chorus often interacts with the actors.
The final chorus chant where the moral of the tragedy is discussed.
Greek word meaning error in judgment, "transgression" "mistake." This happening to a noble or lofty character is always what sets tragic action in motion.
"Arrogance," "insult," "outrageous or humiliating treatment." In classical Athens, it was any action (word or deed) infringing on the dignity of another (humans to gods, ordinary citizens to royalty). It is anything contradicting the deference due one's betters, or the respect due anyone. If the victim hopes not to lose face, she or he would retaliate; honor seems often to lie at the center of it all.
Aristotle's term for "resolution," in tragedy, the untangling, usually through peripeteia, or "reversal" of some plot complication
A lament in Greek tragic plays. The lament was performed as a lyrical exchange between actors and the chorus.
In Greek, means "plenty" or "excess," whether of wealth, power, or pleasure. In Greek tragedy, it can be imagined as a state of plenty such as can induce arrogance (hubris) and crime.
Dancing area in front of the stage of a Greek theater (F in diagram)
Greek word signifying the entry of the chorus; using unison chant and dance, they explain what has happened leading up to this point. Place where chorus enters.
Greek word meaning "reversal." According to Aristotle, this is the point in the plot of a tragedy when the fortunes of a character change from good to bad or vice versa
A monologue or dialogue presenting the topic of the tragedy/play.
Greek word for the front wall of the stage. In classical Greek theater, it was the ground-level portion, immediately in front of the skene. It was used as an acting area.
In a Greek theater, the "stage building" that served as a backdrop to the stage platform. This could represent a palace, entry through a door; its roof could serve as cliff-top, heaven... (part C of diagram)
The chorus comments upon the episode to the audience. This is a technical term that defines a part of an ancient Athenian tragedy. It is a choral song (it is not spoken), and comes after the entry of the chorus and before its exit; it is sung by the chorus in unison. If it was not sung, then it was danced to. As such, it constitutes a formal part of a Greek tragedy.
The first section of an ancient Greek choral ode or of one division of it. It is a structural division of a poem containing stanzas of with the same rhythmic pattern. It presents one side of a story.
Greek word meaning "viewer," "spectator," "audience member."
Root of the English word "theater," it means literally "viewing instrument." It originally referred only to the audience-seating area in a theater, later, to the theater as a whole. (Part A of the diagram).
Greek word for "tragedy." The word appears to derive from "goat song."
A great man of noble or high status who is basically a decent man (not "perfect" but not a villain). This great man suffers a downfall through some mistake, weakness of character or some moral blindness. The protagonist's downfall must result from something that is also a central part of the character's virtue, which goes somewhat awry, usually due to a lack of knowledge. This helps to elicit pity from the audience, as well as fear for the protagonist as the plot unfolds. The tragic hero has a large capacity for suffering. His downfall is often preceded by self-realization.
Order of a Greek tragedy
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