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CC 222 : Syllabus
Introduction Objectives Instructor Textbooks Requirements

The tragedians of Athens in the fifth century BCE composed plays whose beauty, elegance, and potency have endured into the twenty-first century.

CC 222 surveys the remaining dramas of the three greatest Athenian playwrights, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, in an effort to discover the secrets and the continuing appeal of the genre of tragedy.

  Students in this course will approach tragedy from different perspectives and contexts -- mythological, historical, cultural, theatrical, and more -- in order to understand how it functions both as myth and as social commentary.

Students of CC 222 will

-- explore the content, scope, and structure of Greek tragedy;
-- read tragedy as both myth and social commentary;
-- discern how tragedy operates as a genre; and
-- compare the sensibilities of ancient and modern audiences.

Furthermore, students will develop critical reading and thinking skills through class discussion, performance, and written exercises.

Professor:  Dan Curley
Office: 210 Ladd Hall
Hours: M 9:00 - 10:00 a.m., TuTh 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Telephone: 518.580.5463
email: dcurley@skidmore.edu

The following books are available in the Skidmore Shop (all are required):

  • Aeschylus: The Oresteia.  Translated by Peter Meineck.  Hackett.  1998.
  • Five volumes in the "Chicago" series (D. Grene and R. Lattimore, ed.):

    -- Sophocles I.   1991.  2nd edition.
    -- Sophocles II.  1957.
    -- Euripides I.  1955.
    -- Euripides II.  1956.
    -- Euripides V.  1959.

In addition, students should purchase two packages of Rigid Wrap plaster cloth (also available in the Skidmore Shop) for our mask-making exercise.


Class participation (20%)

Class participation involves more than just attendance.  Students must also keep up with the readings and assignments, and participate actively during all sessions.  Students are also expected to come to class on time and to maintain an environment that promotes the exchange of ideas.

The class participation grade also includes the reflections due before major discussions of each play.

Midterm examination (15%)

The midterm exam, scheduled for Thursday, March 8, will test students' mastery of the authors, texts, themes, and motifs explored to date.  Expect further information about two weeks before the exam.

Note:  The final examination is scheduled for Tuesday, May 8, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Currently there is no final exam scheduled, but the instructor reserves the right to hold one during this period. Please make your travel plans accordingly.

Masks (15%)

On Tuesday, April 3, and Thursday, April 5, students will pair off and help each other make masks akin to those worn by ancient actors.  Students will then have two weeks to decorate and rehearse with their masks, in preparation for group exercises on Tuesday, April 24.

Further details here.

Stagings (15%)

The class will be divided into small groups ("troupes"), each of which will recreate scenes from plays on our reading list.

Guidelines and requirements here.

Semester project (35%)

The semester project is to write an original Greek tragedy in English -- that is, to compose a play with the format and subject matter of the plays studied this term -- and to perform it before a Skidmore audience. The project will test students' knowledge of the genre on many different levels, from narrative to presentation to reception.

A formal presentation of the project -- indoors or outdoors -- is slated for early May.  Note that much of the preliminary work is due on Sunday evenings.

Guidelines and requirements here.

© 2012 Skidmore College Classics Department