Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Literary Terms Related to Drama (2)

orchestra: a round dancing place before the stage.  The chorus performed there.

ode: one of the songs which the chorus performed between episodes.  The opening ode, sung as the chorus entered the stage, was called the parodos; its final ode, sung upon exiting, was the exodos.   Parts of an ode were called strophe (STRO-fee) and antistrophe (an-TISS-tro-fee).  The strophe was probably sung while the chorus danced from stage right to stage left; the antistrophe was the opposite.

chorus: a group of twelve or fifteen performers who sang and danced the odes; they represented elders (leading citizens).  Their spokesman, the choragos, had speaking parts during the scenes.

See the picture below ..

deus ex machina (DAY-us ex MOCK-ee-na): a convention used in Greek tragedy after Sophocles for lowering or lifting actors playing gods by means of a crane on the skene.  The Latin phrase deus ex machina (“a god from a machine”) is now used for any quick means of resolving a plot, like the sudden revelation at the end of Huck Finn that Jim is free and Huck has a fortune.

tetralogy and trilogy: respectively, a group of four and three plays.  In Athens during the age of Sophocles (the fifth century B.C.), competitions were held in the spring during rituals honoring Dionysus.  The first three plays were a trilogy of tragedies.

stichomythia (stick‑uh‑MYTH‑ee‑uh): dialogue consisting of alternating single lines spoken by two characters.  It was used in Greek tragedy to show tense disputes.  Modern writers like Shakespeare use versions of it.  It is similar to repartee (rep-ar-TAY), a fast-paced exchange of witty retorts in modern comedy.

Check this video which has some lines read form Hamlet. 


Hamlet, Act III, Scene iv (the Closet scene), Hamlet is confronted by his mother, the queen, about the play (III, ii) which Hamlet rigged to expose his murderous step-uncle.

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