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First major Attic tragedian. 525–456 BCE. He is particularly famous for his Oresteia trilogy, which comprises the Agamemnon, the Libation Bearers, and the Eumenides.
One of the two daughters of Oedipus, she was the subject of Sophocles's tragedy called Antigone.
Greek iambic and elegiac poet active in the 7th century BCE. Although he makes his personal affairs the subject of his work, it is disputed as to whether his poems were intended as emotional self-expression in the modern sense.
The Titan brother of Prometheus who had to hold up the sky on his shoulders.
Legendary founder of Thebes. He is a character in The Bacchae of Euripides.
Mythical Trojan princess to whom Apollo gave prophetic powers in return for sexual favors. When she then changed her mind, he cursed her so that she was always disbelieved.
The core of Greek Tragedy, originally called the satyr (half man, half goat) chorus. The chorus was made up of a number of men who watched and commented on the action of the tragedy. Their speech was often far more poetic and difficult to understand than that of the actors. Nietzsche argues that the chorus embodies the soul of music that is the life-blood of tragedy. Without it, tragedy would be nothing.
Those who followed the school of Cynicism, which advocated an extremely primitive interpretation of the principle "live according to nature."
Greek goddess of the harvest.
Chorus that sings in honor of Dionysus. The Dithyramb was a musical form developed specifically for this.
The 5th century BCE Athenian playwright and friend of Socrates who Nietzsche blames for the death of tragedy. Euripides was the third of the great Athenian tragedians, following Aeschylus and Sophocles, and is traditionally considered the most modern. His characters are far closer to those found in modern plays than those of Aeschylus, who is still very close to the ritual/religious form of tragedy. Euripides's Bacchae puts Dionysus up on stage in a deadly battle with Pentheus, the ultimate rationalistic king. Needless to say, Dionysus wins. Nietzsche jumps on this and says that Euripides wants to turn his audiences away from Dionysus. However, one could also interpret this to mean that Dionysus should be respected and feared wherever he appears.
Legendary semi-diving hero of Greek myth. He was known for his phenomenal strength.
Monstrous mythical women who stole and killed the children of other women.
Minor ocean deities
Queen of Lydia, to whom Heracles was sold as a slave for a year as punishment for the killing of Iphitus.
The most famous singer of myth, son of Apollo and a Muse. His song had incredible powers to enchant his listeners.
Very successful New Comedy poet from the 4th century BCE.
Lyric poet, born in the 6th century BCE. He was extremely successful and is one of the defining poets of Lyric verse.
Plato (429–347 BCE) was Socrates's most famous student, and immortalized Socrates's ideas in the Platonic Dialogues. He was insistent in his demands for morality in the life of the individual.
Satyrs were mythical half-human, half-goat figures who inhabited the wild. They were known for their love of wine and sex. In 5th century drama, a group of young satyrs, with Silenus as their head, would have made up the chorus.
Fifth century BCE Athenian tragic playwright. He is most famous for his Oedipus cycle, around which Freud based much of his analysis. He is the second of the "big three" tragedians (coming between Aeschylus and Euripides.)
The deepest realm of the underworld, where evil men are punished.
A wooden staff with an acorn affixed to the top carried by the followers of Dionysus who were called Bacchants.
The famous old prophet of Thebes. He and Cadmus are old men in Euripides's Bacchae, and serve in as commentators.
The generation of gods that preceded the Olympic gods. The Titans are incredibly strong beings who were only defeated after a bloody battle. They are said to have torn apart Dionysus, but then he was put back together again.
The name for Dionysus in his incarnation as the god being torn apart by the Titans.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Birth of Tragedy!