Greek Tragedy

Ref: C2228614

We will uncover the perennial lure of tragedy from its ancient origins to revivals on today’s stage, and in the process discuss plays from the three playwrights whose work survives: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The tragedies touched on all aspects of ancient Athenian life, in politics, family, and religion, but they have universal appeal, and still speak to us profoundly. We will read the primordial drama of the Titan Prometheus, the history play the Persians, and plays about heroic Heracles (also known as Hercules) and unhappy Oedipus (the man who unwittingly killed his father and married his mother). The Trojan War looms large in Agamemnon (about the king who was killed by his wife on his return from war); and we will meet Antigone (the great rebel against a tyrannical state), Medea (the sorceress who helped Jason steal the golden fleece), and the dangerous followers of the god of theatre and intoxication: Dionysus.

Course aim

The tragedies of Classical Athens have resonated through the centuries. Who made the them? What do they mean to us now? Delve into these dramas of family violence, political rebels, ancient curses, and terrible gods.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Recall the circumstances of the performance of ancient drama
  • Identify and interpret typical themes in Greek tragedy
  • Discuss the meaning of a variety of dramatic and mythical plots
  • Develop skills in expressing your opinions based on the evidence in the texts.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Extracts from the essential texts will be provided as PDFs to download, but you will also be provided with a recommended reading list if you want to read more.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Greek Tragedy

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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