The Roman Stage: A Short History of Latin Drama in the Time of the Republic

By W. Beare | Go to book overview

APPENDIX F
CHANGE OF SCENE AND CHANGE OF SCENERY: THE QUESTION OF 'SETS'

LIKE all Greek drama, the plays of Plautus and Terence were written for an open-air, curtainless theatre. So long as the stage lay permanently open to view, there was, in my opinion, no attempt to alter the visible background, though the imaginary scene might be changed at will. So in the medieval drama the stage might represent any desired place -- a freedom satirized by Sidney but still retained by Shakespeare. Change of scene in Greek drama seems to be confined to the earlier period; in the Eumenides the scene shifts from Delphi to Athens, in the Peace from Earth to Heaven, in the Frogs from Earth to Hades.

The innumerable theories as to Greek stage scenery which have been put forward may be arranged in two main groups. The common principle of the first group is that the actors' house, otherwise called the skené or permanent scene-building, was itself specially adapted to the needs of each play. The principle of the second group is that the permanent scene-building was concealed by 'sets'. In default of any real evidence in favour of either of these views, their supporters appeal to the text of the plays and to the evidence of vase-paintings and wall-paintings supposed to be in some measure inspired by theatrical performances. Unfortunately a major premiss is always lacking from such arguments; we have no proof that verbal descriptions of the imaginary surroundings were pictorially represented in the physical setting, or that ancient illustrations, even when they contain details which are agreed to be theatrical in origin, are in other respects faithful copies, or copies at all, of theatrical performances.

Aristotle (Poet. iv) tells us that σκηνογραϕíα and the third actor were introduced by Sophocles. Vitruvius, however, asserts (vii. praef. §11) that it was Agatharchus who first made a scaena, and that he did so when Aeschylus was active as a dramatist (or perhaps 'under the instruction of Aeschylus'). In the view of Pickard-Cambridge ( Theat. of Dion., page 124) Agatharchus 'painted an architectural design in perspective on the flat background'. Apparently what he did was to 'paint the front of the scene-building so as to give it a decorative, architectural effect, sufficiently dignified to serve as the permanent background for dramatic performances of all kinds. The early plays of Aeschylus ( Suppliants, Persae, Seven Against Thebes, Prometheus Bound) perhaps

-267-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Roman Stage: A Short History of Latin Drama in the Time of the Republic
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 292

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.