Greek Theatre Research Paper

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A Comparison and Contrast of the Theatre in Golden Age Athens and Shakespearean Theatre. Enter the ancient Greek city of Athens, the year is 536 BC and the city is bustling with life as the festival of Dionysus comes once more, bringing together ancient Greeks from neighboring city-states as conflict is set aside in favor of celebration. (Waters 360) During the Golden Age of Athens, thousands of Greeks gather around the great Theatre of Dionysus as plays are performed for the masses in religious celebration of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility. (360) Not bound by class or divided by wealth, the people drink, celebrate, and watch plays of the great tragedies of their time, influenced primarily by religion but also by their culture…show more content…
Constructed in a circular design, it was meant to portray the circularity of a town marketplace with the stage at the center. (Gurr) Surrounding the stage was a pit and a thirty foot gallery that contained three stages wrapping around the entirety of the theatre. (Gurr) The pit contained customers of the lowest classes and consisted of the open ground around the stage. (Williamson 71) The gallery above was reserved for members of London’s middle class while the balconies above the stage were strictly reserved for the members of nobility and royalty. (71) The Globe Theatre itself was made of timber, as well as its seats, and its roofing was built with straw and unlike ancient Greek theatres, the estimated total capacity of the Globe Theatre was relatively smaller, standing around three thousand people. (Gurr) This paled in comparison to the capacity of the Theatre of Dionysus in ancient Athens, which is estimated to have accommodated up to seventeen thousand people. (“Theatre of Dionysus”) While the Globe Theatre was constructed in a circular manner, the Theatre of Dionysus, like many other ancient Greek theatres, was carved into the side of a hill, with seats surrounding the stage that were originally constructed out of wood and placed into the hillside, but later replaced with stone. (“Theatre of Dionysus”) A large part of the stage was reserved for the orchestra which also contained an alter at the center for sacrifices during the religious festivals and a skene on the opposite side of the orchestra which served as a background for each play. (“Theatre of Dionysus”) The design of the Theatre of Dionysus in ancient Golden Age Athens is largely influenced by religion. The construction of a centralized alter inside the orchestra and the large seating capacity points very clearly towards its purpose as a place of festivities and worship of the Gods. This differs greatly from the construction of the

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