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Greek tragedy explores central questions about the nature of human behaviour, the social structures of public and private life, and the problematic relationships between gods and human beings. Violence, crime and conflict are prominent among its themes, particularly conflict within the family, the battle between the sexes, and the competing claims of household and state. Although the product of a particular historical moment - 5th-century Athens - tragedy raises large and complex issues which still concern us today. The module will focus on selected plays of each of the three tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. We shall study these plays in their social and cultural contexts, and also consider the wider implications of the problems which they dramatize.

Module aims

  • To give a broad knowledge of Greek tragedy and its place in Athenian society
  • To develop analytical skills through the close reading of individual plays
  • To encourage critical awareness through the evaluation of different kinds of interpretation
  • To encourage students to think for themselves

Theatre of Dionysos