en English
nl Dutchen Englishfr Frenchit Italianes Spanish

Just another WordPress site

Introduction to Greek Theater

The Western tradition of theater comes from the Greek tradition of theater, where art is directly connected to the worship of the gods. From the fifth century B.C., the Greeks used theater as public worship. These were grand performances, solemn, larger than life. The theaters would seat 15,000. The art was perfected at the annual spring festivals devoted to Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine. A competition was held, and three playwrights were invited to write a tragedy in three one-act plays, followed by a single act comedy. For three successive days during the festival, each playwright’s plays were performed and ten judges selected the best work. There was no higher honor than to win this competition. Sophocles won this competition several times. Aristotle praises Oedipus Rex as a model of what tragedy should be. Greek theater died with the end of the empire and there would not be another golden age of theater until the beginning of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in England, up to the glory of Shakespeare. The Mass inspired the revival of this tradition of theater. The medieval Corpus Christi plays are an example of this inspiration. Once again, theater is used as worship.

Translate »

Eleison Comments

Weekly Column Delivered To Your Inbox!

Available in five languages.