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MHS Library | Medea by Euripides

An introduction to Greek Tragedy

Professor Edith Hall about tragedy and suffering

Professor Edith Hall about the Greek chorus

Greek tragedy - characteristics

Professor Edith Hall about Euripidean tragedy

The performance and historical context for Greek tragedy

About Greek Tragedy

Greek Tragedy - Cambridge Academic Links

The structure of a Greek Tragedy was fairly standard.

  • Prologue: The introduction to the the main character and background of the play.
  • Parodos: The entrance song of the chorus. Sets the tone of the play.
  • Episode: Dialogue between characters and chorus.
  • Stasima: At the end of each episode, the chorus reflects on what has been said and done.
  • The play flips back and forth between Episode and Stasima three to six times.
  • Exodos: The final resolution. (Source)

The elements of a Greek comedy are pretty straightforward:

  • Prologue: Sets the tone.
  • Parode: The chorus enters. This section is sung.
  • Agon: The word means contest. This section is a debate between characters. Whoever speaks first always loses.
  • Parabasis: The chorus speaks directly to the audience. There are more than one of these. These are the modern theatre equivalent of the 'aside.'
  • Episodes: Dialogue between characters which elaborates on the Agon.
  • Exode: The final exit with the suggestion that everyone is off to a revel or celebration. (Source)