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/ COMP 220
/ CLAS 202
Ancient Greek tragedy was a cultural phenomenon deeply embedded in its 5th-century Athenian context, yet it is also a dramatic form that resonates powerfully with 21st-century artists and audiences. This course examines tragedy on both levels. We will read such plays as Aeschylus’ [Agamemnon], Sophocles’ [Electra], and Euripides’ [Medea] in English translation, considering their literary and dramatic features as well as their relationship to civic, social, and ritual contexts. We will discuss such topics as the construction of gender and identity on the dramatic stage, the engagement between tragedy and other literary genres, and the distinctive styles of the three major Athenian playwrights. We will also survey a set of recent productions and adaptations of these plays, with a particular focus on versions by women, people of color, and non-Western playwrights and producers. We will reflect on how a dramatic form largely produced by and for Athenian citizen men became a creative resource for a remarkably diverse range of 21st-century artists, and explore how modern productions offer fresh perspectives on ancient material.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
class participation, several essays, brief oral presentations
majors, first-years, sophomores
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: