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Singing Joy, Performing Sorrow: Living Dynamics of Ancient Greek Drama

Fall 2018
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9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
October 2 - December 11, 2018. No class on November 20.


Dorothy Rubel Room - 1508 E. Helen St



Explore ancient Greek plays as dynamic examples of live theater and discover the often-spectacular performance aspects that rival opera, Busby Berkeley musicals or Cirque de Soleil. In this course, we will examine the role of the chorus and the choral odes, which form the musical framework for the plays and whose musical stylings are incredibly diverse and creative. We will encounter memorable characters presented in highly dramatic scenes that are performed to the audience’s delight, horror, and edification. Addressing significant issues of the day, ancient Greek drama continues to resonate today, proving their perpetual timeliness and emerging as dynamic, living entities with much to offer a contemporary audience. Basing the thematic interpretation on the performance aspects results in a rich, multi-textured appreciation of the plays. 

Required Reading: 

Please note: You may use any translation of the assigned plays that you have or find ready access to in hard copy or online.


  1. Aeschylus. Oresteia. Translated by Peter Meineck. Hackett Publishing, 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0872203907.
  2. ---. The Complete Aeschylus, vol. II: Persians and Other Plays. Translated by Peter Burian and Alan Shapiro. Oxford University Press, 2009.  ISBN-13: 978-0195373288.
  3. Sophocles. The Complete Sophocles, vol. I: The Theban Plays. Translated by Peter Burian and Alan Shapiro. Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0195388800.
  4. Euripides. Women on the Edge: Four Plays by Euripides. Eds. Ruby Blondell et al. Routledge, 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0415907743.
  5. Euripides. Bacchae. Translated by Paul Woodruff. Hackett Publishing, 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0872203921.
  6. Aristophanes: The Complete Plays. Translated by Paul Roche. Penguin, 2005. ISBN-13: 978-045121409.



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