Tragic Muse

Ref: C2228651

This course is directed at all who are interested in developing their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of Greek Tragedy, i.e. the general reader and theatre-goer keen to understand more of the Classical influences upon Shakespeare and other dramatists (Ibsen, O’Neill, Anouilh, for example) and the significance of the Classical references in many texts. It will not be necessary to have any previous expertise, but of course any prior knowledge can only add to the richness of the discussions we shall have and the development of a shared understanding. We shall look at what is known about the history and development of Greek theatre: the performance spaces, the festivals, the promoters; the dramaturgy - the actors, the Chorus, the use of space, the wearing of masks, the availability of stage machinery and so forth; the religious context - the cult of Dionysius; the nature and significance of the gods; stoicism; and scepticism and possible ‘heretical’ tendencies in Euripides.

Course aim

This course aims to explore theatre practice in Ancient Greece and read and analyse plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides in English translations. It will also look at some modern adaptations to assess our debt to these pioneers.

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:

  • appreciate with deeper understanding and enjoyment any stage or screen or radio performances of Greek and other tragedies
  • understand in more detail how Greek tragic drama developed and was performed
  • recognise and understand more readily Classical references in and influences on the plays of Shakespeare and other dramatists
  • compare and contrast with greater confidence the dramatic structures and techniques of Greek, Shakespearian and some later tragedies
  • discuss in an informed way the value of experiencing and studying Ancient Greek drama in our own age.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

See the reading list for the translators and editions (all Penguin, all still available, e.g. from Amazon). The plays to be studied are: Aeschylus: THE ORESTEIA; Sophocles: THE THREE THEBAN PLAYS, ELECTRA; Euripides: MEDEA, ELECTRA, HIPPOLYTUS.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Tragic Muse

Enrolment Conditions

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

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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