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Domestic Influences in the Greek and Roman Theaters - Essay Example

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Summary
It is an interesting paradox that the ancient world was of such vastness that people's lives were spent within the confines of their vicinities. Travels to faraway places and strange lands were tales of adventures that only came from the minds of creative storytellers, perhaps the only attainable expression of an innate desire of man to explore his world beyond him…
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Domestic Influences in the Greek and Roman Theaters

Download file to see previous pages... The Greek and Roman civilizations, which are perhaps two with the most abundant reference resources having extensively recorded their respective eras, do manifest this observation, if, at least, in their literary works alone. Even as both Mediterranean civilizations have expanded the influence of their clout and power, notably the Romans who spread out east to as far as India, the influence of domestic affairs and interests in the Greek and Roman person is evident even in the higher echelons of society and governments.
Following is a Greek tragedy and a Roman comedy that very well typify the works of that classical era. From these two classical works, we shall survey influences in the plot, the characters, and the themes that reflect domestic elements, or, better still, to even find these elements central to the stories themselves.
The "Antigone is a tragedy by Sophocles written before or in 442 BC. It is chronologically the third of the three Theban plays but was written first."( Fagles, p. 35) The other two plays in the trilogy by Sophocles being Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone proceeds where Seven Against Thebes, which was written much earlier by Aeschylus, leaves off. In the Seven Against Thebes, the two sons of Oedipus, Polynices and Eteocles, find themselves at odds against each other in a civil war over succession to the throne of Thebes which their father Oedipus had to relinquish. The brothers tragically kill each other.
The Antigone, this time the story of one of Oedipus' two daughters, Antigone and Ismene, sisters of the brothers who slew each other, begins with sisters Antigone and Ismene discoursing on the older Antogone's decision to bury the body of their brother Polynices despite an edict of King Creon to deny his body honorable burial as the other brother's body, that of Eteocles, be honored. Despite the punishment of death by stoning to anyone who defies the king's command, Antigone prevails over her sister's persuasions and proceeds to cover her brothers body with earth declaring, "I will do my part,-and thine, if thou wilt not,-to a brother. False to him will I never be found." Reminded by Ismene of the consequence, Antigone retorts, "Such be thy plea:-I, then, will go to heap the earth above the brother whom I love."
The play proceeds where Creon seeks the support of the Theban Elders who, in the play, are represented by the chorus, particularly to back his edict regarding the disposal of Polynices' body. The Elders pledges their support. Then a Sentry enters with dread to tell the king of the news that Polynices' body had been buried. Furious, the king orders the sentry to find out who did and if he fails, he faces death himself. The Sentry leaves and, after a while, returns with Antigone in tow. Asked by the king, "And thou didst indeed dare to transgress that law" Antigone replies, "I avow it; I make no denial."
Creon fumes and swears the king, in his time, will not be prevailed over by a woman thus declares, "While I live, no woman shall rule me." Then assuming that the sister, Ismene, must have had a hand in the act as well, the king summons Ismene who, by now, also tries to confess falsely that indeed she has a hand in it while in truth she did not. Demanded by Antigone to tell the truth and be spared, she answers, "But, now that ills beset ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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