Early Greek Theater vs Elizabethan Era Theater Essay

Early Greek Theater vs Elizabethan Era Theater Essay

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Antigone and The Tragedy of Julius Caesar are two tragic masterpieces written by playwrights Sophocles and Shakespeare in two completely different time periods, but more importantly, in two completely different cultures. In light of this one must wonder to what degree culture influenced Antigone and The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. These tragedies are just as equally a creation of Greek and Elizabethan culture as they are of Sophocles and Shakespeare. Greek and Elizabethan culture both greatly influenced drama and theater as we know it today, but the two periods were very different.
Part of understanding Greek culture's influence on drama is understanding why the Greek audiences of fifth century B.C. even went to go see tragedies to begin with. Tragedies then were commonly performed at religious festivals. The City Dionysia (also known as the Great Dionysia) had a theater of 17,000 people. Since these tragedies were being performed for such a huge audience, lessons and/or the reinforcing of cultural values were often hidden in a playwright’s work.
Elizabethan audiences went to plays specifically to be entertained. This forced Shakespeare and other playwrights of that era to give the audience exactly what they wanted to see. Judging by the success of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and other plays by Shakespeare, death and violence must have been near the top of the list of their demands.
Setting and staging is essential to a play, and once again Greek and Elizabethan eras differ in the way they are done. The Theater of Dionysus was, like all ancient Greek theaters, an open-air auditorium and, due to the lack of adequate artificial lighting, performances took place during the day. Scenes set at night had to be identif...


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...eir influence on modern-day theater is very much the same. Without those two cultures, theater as we know it would not be nearly what it is today.







Works Cited


Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (p. 822-912).
Prentice Hall Literature: Platinum Level, 2005.

Sophocles. Antigone (p. 773-808).
Prentice Hall Literature: Platinum Level, 2005

Henslin, James M. Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach. 2nd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1995.

Lesky, Albin. A History of Greek Literature. New York: Methuen and Co., 1996.

Roger Dunkle. “The Classical Origins of Western Culture.” Introduction to Greek Tragedy. Brooklyn College Core Curriculum Series. April 11, 2011. Web. http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/classics/dunkle/studyguide/tragedy.htm

Cahn, Victor L. The Plays of Shakespeare: A Thematic Guide. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001.

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