CLA 143: Greek Tragedy

Classics 143: Greek Tragedy
Colin Webster

Lecture/Discussion—3 hour(s); Term Paper. Prerequisite(s): A lower division Classics (CLA) course or consent of instructor. Reading in English of selected plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Discussion of the development and influence of Athenian tragedy. GE credit: AH, WE. 

In this course, we will read nine plays by the three canonical Athenian tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. We will explore the ethical and dramatic knots tied by these authors, and see whether any individual play can untie them. We will learn the historical role that tragedy played in the civic and religious life of Athenian society (and ancient Greece more broadly), while also examining some of the responses to the genre in the modern day. We will ask what occurs when you watch the destruction of others, as we learn the syntax of suffering in the ancient world. Students will leave the class with an increased understanding of the role that theater, its spectacles and its rituals played in the life of ancient Greece, while reflecting on the modern social dynamics produced by comparable dramatic forms.