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Play structure


The basic parts of a Greek tragedy are three : the Prose, the Lyrics and the Dancing. The tragedy begins with Prologue, spoken before the chorus enters the scene. The Prologue helps the audience to understand the historical or mythological background of the plot. After that the chorus enters the orchestra singing an ode, called Parodos. The chorus also sings between the dialogic parts of the play other songs called Stassima in ensemble or devided in two groups (Semechoria).

    The songs for the chorus were written in doric dialect. Beside these songs there were also other songs performed by one actor (Monodia) or two (Diodia). Parodos, stassima, monodies and diodies composed the lyric part of tragedy.

    The prose begins withthe Prologue. The plot develops with the Episodes. Right after each episode the actors leave the scene and the chorus enters singing the Parodos. The play ends with the Exodus, performed by the chorus.

    Prologue, Episodes and Exodus were written in attic dialect and in verses. As far as metrics are  concerned these parts were written in Iambic Trimetron.

    The poets were also composing the music for their plays. The songs were performed by an orchestra composed by flute, phormigx, drums and sometimes guitar (Kithara).

    Here is a plan of the play :


1 Prologue Prose
2 Parodos Lyric
3 First episode Prose
4 First stassimon Lyric
5 Second episode Prose
6 Second stasimon etc Lyric
...... Exodus Prose

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