The Ancient Greeks wee the first to develop dramatic literature. These men developed the literature categories of tragedy and comedy. Their work was intended to make men examine the “ultimate questions,” and appeal to both intellect and emotions. While the tragedies were intensely sad, Greek comedy was hilarious.
Ancient Greek drama began as a religious observance honoring the god Dionysus, the god the god of wine, the inspirer of ritual madness and ecstasy. On a personal level Dionysus personified enthusiasm; when translated from Greek enthusiasm means “the god within us.” The beginnings of the dramatic literature are rooted in the stories of Dionysus’s life. During the mid-fifth century B.C. a change came about. Stories of Dionysus were not the only production at the festival. Individuals began to write and produce their own productions. The Greeks turned this into a contest with the winners receiving prizes.
The Greek stage was originally a place designed for religious ceremonies, but as drama became growingly popular the design changed to suit that of the theaters. The theater was constructed of three major parts- the skene, orchestra and koilon. The skene was where the actors performed; it was the backdrop depicting the setting of a scene. The orchestra was the main part of the stage; it was in the center with the skene behind it. This is where the chorus sang, danced and narate the performance. The koilon was the auditorium; it was built in a semi circle around the orchestra. Another important part of the Greek stage was the dues ex machine, which translates from Latin into “god behind the machine.” It was the place where a god was lowered onto stage to solve a problem, save the protagonist or make commentary.
Tragedies followed a certain form; they were performed in groups of three, called a trilogy. These were stories, which chronologically corresponded adding importance to the theme. After a trilogy was performed a satyr...