Prometheus Bound

Prometheus Bound

Prometheus Bound

Prometheus Bound

Excerpt

Aeschylus and the Development of Tragedy. Tragedy as a mature art form begins with the work of Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.). He was born near Athens about nine years after the performance of serious drama had gained a place in the urban festival of Dionysus, and the lost works of his predecessors may be considered a prelude to his own distinctive achievement.

Considered technically, this distinctiveness lies in the introduction of a second actor. While the origin of tragic form is disputed we may conjecture that it was composed of choral lyric; according to tradition it attained dramatic status when the sixth-century Athenian poet Thespis used a separate actor in addition to the chorus. The role of this actor was apparently subordinate to that of the chorus. By adding a second actor Aeschylus created the framework of drama as we know it, the personal clash of wills in a compelling and climactic situation. Within Aeschylus' own lifetime, his younger rival Sophocles . . .

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