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CLA2040 - Ancient Greek Theatre

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Jane Griffiths


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit explores the theatre of Classical Greece through a study of the surviving plays of the fifth century dramatists. Students will be introduced to the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, and the comedies of Aristophanes. We will examine the social and religious function of theatre in Classical Athens, and study the nature and development of theatrical performance. We will also examine the architecture of the theatre through a study of archaeological remains and the internal evidence of the plays. Students will be introduced to a range of critical approaches to Greek drama. Texts will be studies in translation.


By the completion of this subject students will have read all of the prescribed selection of authentic texts in translation and selected secondary texts/readings provided. Students will have gained and be able to demonstrate:

  1. A knowledge of the historical and cultural background to the prescribed selection of authentic texts, and a context-based understanding of them.
  2. A general knowledge and understanding of the themes and issues that are generated in the plays studied.
  3. A detailed knowledge and understanding of the reception of Greek drama in 5th century Athens, both in a cultural, philosophical and pedagogical context.
  4. Knowledge of the literary qualities/character of the received (written) text and the way in which they shed light on the tradition of their performance.
  5. The ability to discriminate between evidence, interpretation, opinion and fact in secondary sources.
  6. The ability to develop their own interpretations and understanding of the primary texts.


Seminar paper (500 words): 10%
Essay (2500 words): 55%
Take-home exam (1500 words): 35%

Contact hours

2.5 hours (1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1.5 hour seminar) per week