Syllabus 190:381 Greek Drama (33323)
Rutgers University, Fall Semester 2001, MW 5 (2:50-4:10) FH A-5
Webpage for course:
Lowell Edmunds, Department of Classics, RAB 008, DC
 932 9305;
Office hour: 4:30 - 5:30 W in RAB 008

Goals of the course:

Levels (inclusive progression) of understanding and evaluation:
1. Content of each assigned play.  Characters and action.  Structure (there is an outline of each play on the web page for the course).  How evaluated: multiple choice.  Grade range for this level: D to D+ (assuming minimal success at next three levels).

2. Knowledge of historical context.  a.  Received form(s) of the myth(s) treated in each tragedy.  b. Relation of tragedy or comedy, if any, to contemporary Athenian history.  c. Relation of play to history of theatrical production in Athens (cf. 4).  d. Relation of play to larger ritual context of City Dionysia. How evaluated: multiple choice.  Grade range for this level: (assuming success at preceding level and minimal success at next two levels) C to C+.

3. For each tragedy, an intelligent answer to the question: What makes this play a tragedy?  For each comedy, what are the central concerns of the comic poet?  The answers will require engagement with interpretative problems discussed in class. How evaluated: essays on mid-term and final.  In order to prepare for these essays, students are encouraged to try out their ideas in class.  Grade range for this level (assuming success at preceding levels): B to B+.

4. Awareness of the distinction between script (for performance) and text (for reading) and its implications for interpretation.  For each tragedy and comedy, an intelligent answer to the question: how are the resources of the theater used to in relation to the problems posed in 3?  I.e., how is the theatrical medium used to convey meaning? How evaluated: essays on mid-term and final.  In order to prepare for these essays, students are encouraged to try out their ideas in class.Grade range for this level (assuming success at preceding levels): A- to A.

Evaluation (continued): A total of six tests: five quizzes (total of 60%), mid-term (20%), and final examination (20%).  After the first test, all the rest are cumulative: they all require knowledge of the material covered in the previous tests. Quizzes are multiple choice.  Mid-term and final are essays.  The lowest quiz grade will be dropped.

Grading of quizzes: 59 or below = F; 60-69 = D; 70-75 = C; 76-79 = C+; 80-85 = B; 86-89 = B+; 90 or above = A.  Grades will not be scaled or "curved."  59.5 or higher will be rounded off to 60; 69.5 or higher to 70; etc.  59.4 or lower will not be rounded off to 60; 69.4 or lower will not be rounded off to 70; etc.  Because the final is required, the only T grade that can be given is TF, except in the case of a student who has a perfect record on the quizzes (60% of final grade), who would receive TD.

Policy on examinations: All tests are required.  No test may be taken in advance of the announced date and time. No test may be taken after the announced date and time. (The time of all quizzes and the mid-term falls within class time on the announced dates.)  Papers or other forms of work may not be substituted for the tests.  There are absolutely no make-up quizzes.  No excuse whatsoever will be accepted.  Students will be eligible for a make-up mid-term or final examination only on the basis of the original copy of a medical excuse, which must be signed by a doctor of medicine.  Any other form of excuse must be specifically recommended by the appropriate dean's office and must be signed by a dean.  Boilerplate excuses will not be accepted (e.g. "X has been experiencing personal difficulties which may have affected his/her studies.  Please extend consideration to him/her.")

Students should bring two no. 2 pencils and an eraser to each quiz.

Policy on lectures and discussions:  It is expected that students will attend lectures, ask questions, and participate in discussions.  Because much of the content of the course will emerge in this format, the instructor's lecture notes, brief in any case, may not accurately reflect the "lecture" on any given day.  For this reason, lecture notes will not be distributed by e-mail or in any other format.  Nor will summaries of "lectures" be available by e-mail or in any other format.

Required texts:

Paul Roche, The Oresteia Plays of Aeschylus (Meridian Book, 1996)
Paul Roche, Sophocles: The Complete Plays (Signet Classic, 2001)
Paul Roche, Euripides: Ten Plays (Signet Classic, 1998)
William Arrowsmith (Editor), Four Plays by Aristophanes: The Clouds, the Birds, Lysistrata, the Frogs (Meridian Book, 1994)

Available at Rutgers University Bookstore, Ferrin Mall.  The plays must be read in these texts, on which classroom discussion will be based and from which passages for identification on quizzes will be drawn.  Always bring the assigned text to class.

Alexander Reserve:

A copy of Paul Roche, The Oresteia Plays of Aeschylus (Meridian Book, 1996) is on reserve.


A file containing two important links can be found in the first group of files on the webpage for the course.


Read each of the plays before the first date on the syllabus at which it is to be discussed.  E.g., read Aeschylus, Agamemnon before Mon. Sept. 10.  Read related files on the webpage (see below).  Bring your copy of the text to class.

wpf = webpage file; wpfs = webpage files

Week 1 Wed. Sept. 5 Organizational meeting

Week 2 Mon. Sept. 10, Wed. Sept. 12 Aeschylus, Agamemnon

General requirements in addition to reading this and the other plays by Aeschylus: use Roche's Glossary (pp. 239-50) for names and places.  Use a dictionary for words that you don't know.  Throughout the course refer to the wpfs  "Terms: Definitions" and "Time Line."

wpfs "Tragedy: A Definition"; "Aeschylus, Oresteia: Background"; "Aeschylus, Agamemnon: Outline."

Bring the assigned text to class.

Week 3 Mon. Sept. 17, Wed. Sept. 19 Aeschylus, Libation Bearers

Videos (Agamemnon; Libation Bearers) will be shown at the two class meetings this week.  If you have to miss the second one because of Rosh Hashanah, please view it on your own at Media Services in the basement of the Kilmer Area Library.  The videos will be covered on the QUIZ on Sept. 26.  Read relevant wpfs before viewing the videos.

wpfs "Aeschylus, Libation Bearers: Outline"; "Aeschylus, Agamemnon: Video Study Questions"; "Aeschylus, Libation Bearers: Video Study Questions."

Week 4 Mon. Sept. 24, Wed. Sept. 26 Aeschylus, Eumenides

wpf "Aeschylus, Eumenides: Outline."

Wed. Sept. 26 QUIZ 1

Week 5 Mon. Oct. 1, Wed. Oct. 3 Sophocles, Ajax

wpfs "Sophocles, Ajax: Background"; "Sophocles, Ajax: Outline."

Week 6 Mon. Oct. 8, Wed. Oct. 10 Sophocles, Oedipus the King

wpfs "Sophocles, Theban Tragedies: Background"; "Sophocles, Oedipus the King: Outline."

Wed. Oct. 10 QUIZ 2

Week 7 Mon. Oct. 15, Wed. Oct. 17 Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus

wpf "Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus: Outline."

Wed. Oct. 17 MID-TERM (45 minutes)

Week 8 Mon. Oct. 22, Wed. Oct. 24 Sophocles, Antigone

wpf "Sophocles, Antigone: Outline."

Week 9 Mon. Oct. 29, Wed. Oct. 31 Sophocles, Electra

wpf "Sophocles, Electra: Outline."

Mon. Oct. 29 QUIZ 3

Week 10 Mon. Nov. 5, Wed. Nov. 7 Euripides, Electra

wpf "Euripides, Electra: Outline."

Week 11 Mon. Nov. 12, Wed. Nov. 14 Euripides, Orestes

wpf "Euripides, Orestes: Outline."

Wed. Nov. 14 QUIZ 4

Week 12 Mon. Nov. 19, Euripides, Alcestis

wpfs "Euripides, Alcestis: Background"; "Euripides, Alcestis: Outline."

Wed. Nov. 21 Friday classes

Thanksgiving Recess Thurs. Nov. 22 - Sun. Nov. 25

Week 13 Mon. Nov. 26, Wed. Nov. 28 Euripides, Bacchae

wpfs "Euripides, Bacchae: Background"; "Euripides, Bacchae: Outline."

Week 14 Mon. Dec. 3, Wed. Dec. 5 Aristophanes, Clouds

Read article "Socrates" in Micropaedia of Encyclopaedia Britannica.  wpfs "Comedy: A Definition"; "Aristophanes, Clouds: Outline."

Wed. Dec. 5 QUIZ 5

Week 15 Mon. Dec. 10, Aristophanes, Frogs

wpf "Aristophanes, Frogs: Outline."

Wed. Dec. 12 Regular classes end

Thurs. Dec. 13 Reading Day

Fri. Dec. 14 - Fri. Dec. 21 Final Exams Period

Fri. Dec. 14 12 - 3 P.M. FINAL exam in this course