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Greek Tragedies as Plays for Performance

ISBN: 978-1-119-08989-6
216 pages
November 2016, Wiley-Blackwell
Greek Tragedies as Plays for Performance (1119089891) cover image


This is a unique introduction to Greek tragedy that explores the plays as dramatic artifacts intended for performance and pays special attention to construction, design, staging, and musical composition.

  • Written by a scholar who combines his academic understanding of Greek tragedy with his singular theatrical experience of producing these ancient dramas for the modern stage
  • Discusses the masters of the genre—Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides—including similarities, differences, the hybrid nature of Greek tragedy, the significance that each poet attaches to familiar myths and his distinctive approach as a dramatic artist
  • Examines 10 plays in detail, focusing on performances by the chorus and the 3 actors, the need to captivate audiences attending a major civic and religious festival, and the importance of the lyric sections for emotional effect
  • Provides extended dramatic analysis of important Greek tragedies at an appropriate level for introductory students
  • Contains a companion website, available upon publication at www.wiley.com/go/raeburn, with 136 audio recordings of Greek tragedy that illustrate the beauty of the Greek language and the powerful rhythms of the songs
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

About the Companion Website xi

1 Introduction 1

2 Aeschylus 15

3 Persae 21

4 The Oresteia 33

5 Sophocles 81

6 Antigone 87

7 Oedipus Tyrannus 105

8 Electra (Sophocles) 123

9 Euripides 137

10 Medea 143

11 Electra (Euripides) 157

12 Bacchae 173

Appendix A: Glossary of Greek Tragic Terms 189

Appendix B: Rhythm and Meter 191

Index 195

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Author Information

David Raeburn has recently retired from a stipendiary Lectureship in Classical Languages at New College in the University of Oxford,UK, where he previously held the Grocyn Lectureship in the Faculty of Literae Humaniores. Before that, he spent more than 40 years as a Classics teacher and headmaster of two secondary schools. He is the co-author of The Agamemnon of Aeschylus (2010) and translator of the Penguin Classics editions of Sophocles' Electra and Other Plays (2008) and Ovid's Metamorphoses (2004). His research interests include Greek tragedy and Augustan poetry in Latin. He has directed over 30 full-scale or workshop productions of 18 of the 33 extant Greek tragedies, performed either in the original language or in translation with school and university students.

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