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Overview.
 

© D. E. Curley
 Sculpted mask, Ostia

The tragedians of Athens in the fifth century BCE composed plays whose beauty, elegance, and power have stood the test of time.

In this course we shall survey the works of the three great Athenian playwrights, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.

We shall approach the plays from different perspectives and contexts mythical, historical, cultural, theatrical, and so on in order to understand better how they function, not only as plays, but also as artifacts of individual artists and their societies.

All readings are in English.

   

 
Objectives.
 

The specific goals for this course are as follows:

  • to understand the content, form, scope and structure of Greek tragedy;
  • to approach tragedy as a vehicle for both narrative and social commentary, and to discern how it differs from other genres; and
  • to assess the value of tragedy — in a sense, its timelessness — to modern audiences.

Furthermore, students will draw upon universal skills of critical reading and thinking, and will communicate these skills both in class and in written exercises.

   
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© 2001 Skidmore College Classics Department