Classical Studies
CLA 1-364-2003

Masterpieces of Greek and Roman Theater


Cast of a satyr play, Pronomos Vase

Daily Schedule

Part 1: Theater in classical Athens

Day 1 Introduction; City Dionysia, Ritual, and Politics

  • Csapo & Slater, "The Great Dionysia," Chapter IIIAia in The Context of Ancient Drama (handout)
  • Barbara McManus, Dionysos and Greek Drama

Additional Reading

  • Goldhill, "The Great Dionysia and Civic Ideology," in Winkler, et al. Nothing to do with Dionysos (on reserve)
  • Easterling, "A Show for Dionysos," in The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy (on reserve)

Day 2 Aeschylus Agamemnon (458 BCE)

Choose one of the following (on reserve)

  • McClure, "Clytemnestra's Binding Spell," in Spoken Like a Woman, pp. 80-92
  • McCoskey, "'I, Whom She Detested so Bitterly': Slavery and the Violent Division of Women in Aeschylus' Oresteia" in Joshel and Murnaghan, eds., Women and Slaves in Greco-Roman Culture

Day 3 Aeschylus Libation Bearers (458 BCE)

Choose one of the following (on reserve) (to be read after completing the Oresteia)

  • Taplin, Greek Tragedy in Action, pp. 30-40, 58-63, 77-85
  • Foley, "Tragic Wives: Clytemnestras," in Female Acts in Greek Tragedy, pp. 201-34 (on reserve)
  • F. Zeitlin, "The Dynamics of Misogyny: Myth and Mythmaking in the Oresteia," in Playing the Other

Day 4 Aeschylus The Furies (458 BCE)

  • Oral reports on costumes and masks, chorus, and actors and acting
  • The Furies (Eumenides)
  • Structure of Eumenides (Reed College)
  • Barbara McManus' study questions for The Furies
  • Athena (from the Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology, by Carlos Parada)
  • Erinyes, the Furies (from the Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology, by Carlos Parada)

Day 5 Euripides Alcestis (438 BCE)

  • Oral Report on audience
  • Alcestis (in Women on the Edge)
  • "Introduction to Euripides," in Women on the Edge, pp. 64-69
  • Rabinowitz, "Introduction to Alcestis," in Women on the Edge, pp. 93-103
  • Study Questions for Alcestis

Choose one of the following (on reserve)

  • Burnett, "The Virtues of Admetus," in Segal, Oxford Readings in Greek Tragedy, pp. 254-271 (on reserve)
  • Foley, "Anodos Dramas: Euripides' Alcestis and Helen," in Female Acts in Greek Tragedy, pp. 303-31 (on reserve)

Day 6 Aristophanes Acharnians (425 BCE)

  • performance of scenes from last week's plays
  • Acharnians (in Greek and Roman Comedy)
  • Olson, "Introduction to Aristophanes," in Greek and Roman Comedy, pp. 3-13
  • Olson, "The Politics of Comedy and the Problem of the Reception of Aristophanes' Acharnians," in Greek and Roman Comedy, pp. 14-34

Additional Readings

  • N.R.E. Fisher, "Multiple Personalities and Dionysiac Festivals: Dicaeopolis in Aristophanes' Acharnians," Greece and Rome 40 (1993) 31-47
  • Foley, "Tragedy and Politics in Aristophanes' Acharnians," in Segal, Oxford Readings in Aristophanes

Day 7 Sophocles Electra (418 BCE?)

Day 8 Aristophanes Women at the Thesmophoria (Thesmophoriazusai) (411 BCE)

  • Women at the Thesmophoria (Thesmophoriazusai) (handout)
  • Henderson's Introduction to the Thesmophoriazusae (handout)
  • Background on Aristophanes
  • video: Mary-Kay Gamel, The Julie Thesmo Show

Choose one of the following (on reserve)

  • McClure, "Obscenity, Gender, and Social Status in Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae and Ecclesiazusae" in Spoken Like a Woman, pp. 205-36
  • Henderson, "Older Women in Attic Old Comedy"
  • Taafe, "Men as Women: Thesmophoriazusae," in Aristophanes and Women (Routledge 1993)
  • Zeitlin, "Travesties of Gender and Genre in Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae," in Playing the Other

Day 9 Sophocles Philoctetes (409 BCE)

Choose one of the following (on reserve)

  • E. Belfiore, "Xenia in Sophocles' Philoctetes," in Murder among Friends: Violation of Philia in Greek Tragedy (Oxford 2000)
  • N. Worman, "Infection in the Sentence: The Discourse of Disease in Sophocles' Philoctetes," Arethusa 33 (2000) 1-36

Day 10 Modern Productions/Adaptations

  • Student reports on modern productions/adaptations of a play read weeks 1-2

Day 11 Euripides' Iphigenia at Aulis (406 BCE)

  • performance of scenes from last week's plays
  • Iphigenia at Aulis (in Women on the Edge)
  • Gamel, "Introduction to Iphigenia at Aulis," in Women on the Edge, pp. 305-28
  • film: Michael Cacoyannis, Iphigenia

Additional Reading

  • Chant, Dale. "Role Inversion and its Function in the Iphigenia at Aulis." Ramus 15 (1986) 83-92.
  • Foley, Helene P. "The Iphigenia in Aulis." Ch. 2 in Ritual Irony: Poetry and Sacrifice in Euripides. Ithaca: Cornell, 1985. pp. 65-105.
  • Rabinowitz, Nancy Sorkin. Anxiety Veiled: Euripides and the Traffic in Women. Ithaca: Cornell, 1993.
  • Sorum, Christina Elliot. "Myth, Choice, and Meaning in Euripides' Iphigenia at Aulis." American Journal of Philology 113 (1992) 527-42.

Part 2: Hellenistic and Roman Theater

Day 12 Menander Dyskolos (The Grouch) (316 BCE)

  • Dyskolos (The Grouch) (in Greek and Roman Comedy)
  • O'Bryhim, "Introduction to Menander," in Greek and Roman Comedy, pp. 85-95
  • O'Bryhim, "Dance, Old Man, Dance," in Greek and Roman Comedy, pp. 96-111

Day 13 Plautus Casina (185? BCE)

  • Casina (in Greek and Roman Comedy)
  • Franko, "Introduction to Plautus," in Greek and Roman Comedy, pp. 149-68

Choose one of the following (on reserve)

  • Slater, "The Pilots of Penance - or - The Slave of Lust," in Plautus in Performance
  • Gold, "'Vested Interests in Plautus' Casina: Cross Dressing in Roman Comedy," Helios 25 (1998) 17-29
  • Moore, "The Theater of Plautus: Playing to the Audience," in E. Segal, ed., Oxford Readings in Menander, Plautus, and Terence (Oxford 2001)

Day 14 Terence Phormio (161 BCE)

  • oral reports on the context of Roman theater
  • Phormio (in Greek and Roman Comedy)
  • Moore, "Introduction to Terence," in Greek and Roman Comedy, pp. 243-52
  • Moore, "Who is the Parasite? Giving and Taking in Phormio," in Greek and Roman Comedy, pp. 253-65

Additional Reading

  • W. G. Arnott, "Phormio parasitus: A Study in Dramatic Methods of Characterization," in E. Segal, ed., Oxford Readings in Menander, Plautus, and Terence (Oxford 2001)

Day 15 Seneca Troades

  • Trojan Women (Troades) (in FTO)
  • Selections from Seneca's Philosophical Works
  • Choose one of the following (on reserve):
  • Clover, "Her Body Himself"
  • Benton, "Split Vision: The Politics of the Gaze in Seneca's Troades" in D. Frederick, ed., The Roman Gaze

Day 16 A Modern Tragedy Chinatown

  • draft of final paper due (individual paper conferences)
  • film: Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974)
  • Gamel, in M. Winkler, ed., Classics and Cinema

Day 17 Defining Tragedy and Comedy, then and now

Taplin, Oliver. "Fifth-Century Tragedy and Comedy." In Oxford Readings in Aristophanes. Ed. E. Segal. Oxford, 1996.

Day 18

  • Final Essay Due at noon


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