CLAS 111 - Intro to Greek Tragedy

Cross-listed: Theater and Performance This course serves as a basic introduction to the study of the texts and traditions of Greek tragedy, which flourished during the 5th century BCE at Athens and was to prove enormously influential on subsequent Western literature. The class, designed for students with no special background in Classics, will consist primarily of close study of all of the major plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides in English translation, with the aim of gaining familiarity with the genre of tragedy as a complex art form and, in particular, as a preeminent vehicle for the transmission of core Western values—moral, political and aesthetic. Emphasis will fall equally on tragedy’s formal aspects (plot, character, poetic language, questions of evolving genre) and its psychological, social and especially its political dimensions, the latter specifically within the context of tragedy’s ongoing presentation of conflict between the individual and society. Although emphasis will be on primary texts and sources, some secondary reading will be required, in order to familiarize students with the vast body of scholarship on this genre. Regular film showings will be a part of the course. Class size: 18
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