CLSC 201

Ancient Tragedy

This course explores ancient Greek and Roman tragedy. Students begin by examining the social, political, and physical contexts in which dramas were performed in classical antiquity. Students then read and discuss select plays by the three great surviving dramatists of fifth-century BCE Athens (Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides) and the one great surviving dramatist of Imperial Rome (Seneca the younger). Each week includes not only close reading and discussion of one drama, but also viewing or hearing a modern performance of that drama, an in-class performance of a scene from the drama by students, and panel presentations of two other dramas that may illuminate features of the week?s main drama. Attention is given to understanding how these plays might have been performed and interpreted within the Athenian and Roman cultures in which they were produced, as well as modern critical approaches and creative responses. Thus this course provides students an opportunity to engage with and reflect on ancient drama in a critical and creative way, with respect to both its original historical context and its imaginative and transformative potential in the modern world.