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Summary

Greek tragedy was a dramatic form that flourished for less than a full century. And yet it remains vibrant, alive, and productive today. And the form's masterpieces help us - as perhaps they helped their original audiences - grasp a fuller sense of the terror and wonder of life. Professor Vandiver has designed these 24 rich and rewarding lectures to give you a full overview of Greek tragedy, both in its original setting and as a lasting contribution to the artistic exploration of the human condition. You'll learn to see Greek tragedy as a genre in its cultural context. What is tragedy's deeper historical background? Did it grow out of rituals honoring the god Dionysus, as is so often said? How did Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides each make unique contributions to tragedy's expressive power?

You'll also uncover what scholarship can reveal about the actual performance of Greek tragedy, including its physical and ritual settings, actors and acting methods, conventions of staging and stagecraft, and even how productions were financed. And with this solid background in place, you'll explore a broad group of tragedies in close detail. In particular, you'll see how individual tragedies used traditional myths (often tales from the Trojan War), and what Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides intended to accomplish by changing or adding to the basic story. You'll examine what certain tragedies imply about the world of 5th-century Athens and the importance, in turn, of the cultural background for explaining those tragedies.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2000 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2000 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Greek Tragedy

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Made my journey to work this month a pleasure

Very engaging: rigorous and well read. I will enjoy Greek tragedy immeasurably more as a result of Professor Vandivers efforts

4 people found this helpful

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Magnificent!

Well, I could go on at length about how brilliant this course is. Just take my word for it, as someone with a lifetime's experience of universities and university teaching. As an introduction to Greek Tragedy this course is simply stunning. EV lectures with clarity and enthusiasm. She makes several original contributions to the subject and uses the Greek text in a way that is completely accessible to those with no Greek. She is particularly good in contextualising the plays in their original Athenian and cultural context. If you have not yet read the plays, well, you would immediately want to. If you have read them already, well, you would want to read them again with so much more appreciation.

I have now completed all six of EV's Great Courses. As a non-specialist I feel I have had an amazing introduction to classical Greek (and with the Vergil a little bit of Roman) civilisation. I am enormously grateful. A fantastic investment. Now I should listen to them all over again. Thank you, EV!

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Excellent lecture series

Informative, insightful and consistently interesting. Prof Vandiver has a gift for demystifying and popularizing classical Greek culture. She thereby makes it accessible to people who would not otherwise have benefited from a classical education.

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  • Joshua
  • 19-10-13

Theatre History Done Right!

Professor Elizabeth Vandiver provides a clear and succinct portrayal of Greek Tragedy. The lectures discuss how tragedy was developed, the three extant tragic playwrights, as well as the ways in which Greek Tragedy was staged. For as a professional theatre artist myself, I think many people look at Greek Tragedy as simply literature but in truth it was meant to be preformed. Professor Vandiver's facts are well researched and when she does give her own scholarly opinion she informs the listener. She also is very clear that the evidence on which our knowledge of this period are based is very scant, therefore the listeners should also be cautious of taking opinions as fact. However, I would warn a listeners that if you do not have a basic knowledge of Greek Mythology and/or Greek Theatre you may have a hard time following parts of the lecture. This course does assume that you come to the table with some knowledge.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Tommy D'Angelo
  • 28-09-15

Another Winner from Professor Vandiver - Well Done

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Everytime I purchase a course from Professor Vandiver I end up very satisfied with my investment. Her courses on the Aeneid, the Oddyssey, and the Illiad were great. This one joined that group. I originally had no desire to check out her course "Classical Mythology" but I may purchase it as much because she is teaching it as the topic.

Pluses:
• The professor was easy to listen to (almost every sentence was easy to understand and she made her points fast)
• Great information on the origins of Greek tragedy, speculation on staging considerations, historical context in which the plays were performed, mythology background on which the plays’ plots were based, and the summary and critical analysis of the plots

Very minor minuses (and the positives definitely outweighed these):
• At times the professor spoke too fast and almost seemed to rush through some lectures, especially when providing background mythology information which made it hard to follow along with the stories
• While it was understandable that the professor could not cover every play in the time allotted, for completeness sake if she at least gave a quick plot summary of the nine Euripides plays she hadn’t discussed it would’ve exceeded expectations
• Instead of discussing all of Aeschylus’ works, then Sophocles, and then Euripides, there was some bouncing back and forth between the three tragedians’ works (mainly so as to point out differences and similarities between two plays by two different tragedians that concentrated on the same mythological source material but this made it a little difficult to keep track of how many plays have been covered for each tragedian)

I would recommend this course to anyone interested in theater, classical literature, or classical mythology.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Justin Bradshaw
  • 14-06-18

Very engaging lecturer!

Not only is the material supremely interesting for someone interested in the development of theater, but also Dr. Vandiver has a wonderful and approachable style for presentation of this material! Her confident mastery and capacity to present all sides on controversial issues in the field were greatly appreciated by this novice to the material, and she is easy to follow in speech while remaining engaging throughout. 5/5 Will listen again!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-01-20

Apotheosis of Vandiver’s phenomenal lectures

Prior to my trip to Turkey last year, I had close to 0 interest in the Greek mythology, epics, or plays or Roman treatments of the same subject. I read Bettany Hughes’ Istanbul (fantastic book by a classics author) which led me to the Iliad, then the other Epics, then various Greco-Roman works on mythology and finally the Greek plays. The fuel for this binge has been Professor Vandiver’s Levite’s which never cease to amaze me with their eloquence, thoughtfulness and deep insights. This last one was my favorite and really ties to together all of her prior Great Course lectures.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Marzie Ghasempour
  • 23-01-17

Amazing Course

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I loved the critical approach Professor Vandiver takes examining the evidence and what we thought we knew about Greek tragedies.

3 people found this helpful

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  • DMarie
  • 13-04-18

Elizabeth Vandiver is a marvel

Prof. Vandiver is a marvel of information, presentation and substance. my very very favorite presenter of my favorite topics. I want to take a class in person, does she still teach? Hope so!

2 people found this helpful

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  • steve
  • 04-02-17

Exactly what i hoped for

Would you listen to Greek Tragedy again? Why?

Yes! A comprehensive analysis of major Greek Tragedies- insightful and entertaining.

What did you like best about this story?

the historical context, background and plot summaries of all major tragedies as well as the literary insights and themes developed.

Which character – as performed by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver – was your favorite?

The plays of Sophocles

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no- too long for one sitting

Any additional comments?

enjoyed it thoroughly and look forward to a re-listen

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-03-21

great course

this is the 4th of her courses I've taken and they have all been really good.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-01-21

Excellent course. Very engaging throughout.

Professor Vandiver has done a brilliant job introducing this subject. She is passionate, very knowledgeable and articulate. I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended.

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  • Jerry
  • 27-05-20

A very interesting course

I enjoy the Great Courses series. This is a good for literature and history all in one package. I learned a lot. Thank you Great Courses!!!