Greek Tragedies


In consideration of the plays we discussed in class, the dramatic contents of each play reflect and develop a category of it's own. Some that deal with comedies, morality, and other's with, tragedies, whichever the case maybe each play has its unique style and theme. A Midsummer Night's Dream I believe is unusual among Shakespeare's plays, since it is lacking a written source for its plot. The wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta was described in Chaucer's "Knight's Tale" and elsewhere. The theme of a daughter who wants to marry against her father's desires was a common theme in Roman comedy. Nick Bottom and his friends are comic's of amateur players. Shakespeare must have derived his forest spirits from oral folk traditions, since the mysterious people of the forest might be in turn helpful mischievous or sinister. In "Henry IV Part I", the king relates a folk legend that "some night-tripping fairy" might steal babies and leave a fairy child or someone else's child. People may have believed, or half-believed, in the fairies. They might also have been imaginary figures of fun that personify nature.
Another kind of medieval play in contrast with Midsummer is Everyman it refers with death directly along with the metaphor "life is a precious possession." If you have many rituals, you must "invest" them wisely and use them as you should use material goods, in a charitable way. In the late 15th century English morality play, Everyman, is summoned by Death, he cannot persuade any of his friends to go with him, except for Good Deeds. Death demands the account book from Everyman and tells him to prepare for his death, and as he does he loses all of his companions. At the end of the play Knowledge hears the Angels sing and welcomes him in, and also hears the Doctor recounting the Moral Everyman. In an important way, the play Everyman demonstrates the ways in which a person who does have good traits wastes them. According to the play's tale, the kind of forces we use in everyday human life can cause every person to waste good moral sense, and take advantage of it.
I believe the dramatic structure within each of the two plays follow a general theme. In the first couple acts the prologue or introduction, indicates the general nature of the play, chief characters, and theme. Usually in the second act are the more complications or development, in which difficulties are introduced. The middle of each play the crisis or turning point reaches their height and must turn over to better or worse. Than finally the conclusion or epilogue takes place which completes the happiness of the main characters in a comedy or a disaster in tragedy.
Tragedy is what brings me to my next five plays. There is an equal development that occurs in each of the plays, a development in which Aristotle compares tragedy to other metrical forms of each play into comedy and epic. He determines that tragedy is a kind of imitation, but adds that it has a serious purpose to the narrative. The purpose that aims each of the five plays that we read in class. The Athenians considered Sophocles their most successful playwrighters and his works continued to be valued highly throughout the Greek world even long after his death. Some idea of how the ancient heroic legends expanded and developed during centuries of retelling, and how they were molded in the hands of the tragic poets, can be forgotten from comparison of the plays based on the same events by Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides. In the rendition of Oedipus he kills Laius, and marries his mother, who is called Epicasta, thus becoming the king of Thebes. In time the Gods revealed the secret of his birth and the two became aware of their sins. Epicasta hangs herself, but Oedipus continues to rule Thebes. But all his life he suffers from constant torments from visions of his mother's ghost and feelings of guilt. He eventually dies in battle. All three tragedies tell a connected story, but they were written in different times and in a life that is not organic. For example the functions and personalities of the characters are made within the content of Creon who is a compassionate and unambiguous nobleman in Oedipus, a blustering tyrant victim in Agamemnon, and a tragic hero in Medea.