The plays of one ancient city 2,500 years ago by just four playwrights have had a profound effect on the development of all subsequent Western drama, not only on the theatrical stage, but on opera, film, television, stand-up comedy, and dance - in fact, most, if not all, of the live arts owe a debt to the theatre of ancient Greece and the city of Athens. This course will examine the social, historical, and political context of ancient Greek drama and equip listeners with a set of critical analytical tools for developing their own appreciation of this vitally important genre. The course will focus on the four extant playwrights, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, and examine each of their plays closely.
©2005 Peter Meineck (P)2005 Recorded Books
I could not put this audiobook aside, and have listened to much of it several times. Professor Meineck discusses the significance of Greek drama and provides a great deal of information on the historical and cultural context in which the genre developed. He helps us to imagine the staging and see the plays from the viewpoint of the original audience. After this, five lectures provide an in-depth examination of the incomparable Aeschylus, two cover Sophocles, and the final three cover Euripides and Aristophanes.
For an example, lecture seven discusses Agamemnon. Here we are helped to imagine the sacrifice of Iphigenia, and a parallel is drawn to a perversion of the Greek wedding ceremony. Very interesting information is provided on the translation of Clytemnestra's assertion of fidelity, which is on the surface a bald-faced lie. Meineck returns to the original Greek to help us see that she has very carefully chosen her words. He discusses female power images in the beacon fires, and points out that Aeschylus has altered the myth to have Clytemnestra herself murder Agamemnon, rather than her lover. We are treated to a superb examination of Agamemnon's return, in which he is met by Clytemnestra's carefully staged welcome-trap. As she lays out a tapestry for the conquering hero to walk on, we see the murder of Iphigenia replayed. While preventing him from stepping on the soil of his homeland, she compels Agamemnon to wade through metaphorical blood, trampling the wealth of his own household, on his willing way to his own ritual sacrifice. Good stuff, as is the rest of this course. Highly recommended.
Prof Meineck's knowledge and obvious enthusiasm about the subject.
(Though it is strange how the feedback question here seems to be on The Modern Scholar series and not this title in particular).
There were two: when he was describing the Oresteia (which isn't really a moment...); and when he gave (periodically) different translations of the same Greek text and examined the etymology of words.
Guess it would be the Clytemnestra-Orestes scene, with all its complexities and nuances.
I wouldn't make a film of this lecture.
Although it's about 8 hours long, I've listened to this series of lectures many times. They are not only informative but told with such passion, insight and sensitivity that I got hooked from the start. I'm so happy I discovered the 'Modern Scholar' series, I'm sure I'll come back for more!
"Its all Greek!"
This is wonderful as an introduction to Greek drama and the lively lectures do not allow the mind to wander except perhaps to seach for that odd book of Greek plays.
Brilliantly delivered lectures makes the whole incomplete tangle of Greek playwrights, plays and their preoccupations come to life.
Decidedly, if you have even the smallest interest in the subject, this will illuminate the fascinating subject of Greek drama, an important foundation stone of modern plays
"Good but not great"
This was an interesting survey of greek drama. However, I didn't feel the author/narrator was quite as authoritative on the subject as I might have liked and - although I'm sure he'd deny this - I found him a little bit sexist.
For example, the way he described the way women were treated in Athens jarred for me a little: he said something along the lines of 'women were respected, and had access to various opportunities, but they were different opportunities from those available to men' thereby diminishing the fact that women were pretty much excluded from public life and confined to the home.
On several occasions he made comments about the way women were treated in Ancient Greece, and the inference on each occasion was that women had 'equal but different' rights in Athens. I wasn't expecting the audiobook to be a feminist diatribe but I didn't quite like the inference. On another occasion he said (without irony) that it was a terrible 'inequality' that a man never knows whether or not a woman is carrying his own child. An irritation, maybe; but inequality?!
Probably not, as I have found the lecture series on Greek Tragedy offered by The Great Courses and delivered by Prof. Elizabeth Vandiver to be more authoritative and broader in scope. However, I enjoyed the insights offered by Meineck about his involvement in stage productions of Greek Plays.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
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