Antigone, Medea, Clytemnestra, Phaedra, Electra—some of the most memorable female characters in drama might first
Antigone, Medea, Clytemnestra, Phaedra, Electra—some of the most memorable female characters in drama might first have appeared on stage before an audience of only men (with the roles played by men, as well). We are not sure whether women were even allowed to attend theatre performances in 5th-century Athens. We do know, at least, that these fascinating characters were created in a place and time where women had little place in public life.
It’s remarkable, then, that the playwrights who brought them to life gave a voice to such noble, intelligent, passionate—and above all, strong—women who were keenly aware of the constraints placed on them by the society in which they lived. Whether in doing so the writers were portraying what they admired, what they desired, or what they feared, is much less clear.
In the six weeks of this study we will read six of the finest Classical-age Greek dramas from Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides—the latter, especially, showed a keen interest in the lives of women: Aeschylus’ Agamemnon; Sophocles’ Antigone and Electra; and three plays by Euripides, the Medea, Hippolytus and Bacchae.
- Facilitated by Mark Cwik
- Friday evenings 7:00 pm – 9:15 pm
- Six-meeting study, 11 June to 16 July 2021
- Online discussions using Zoom meeting interface. Zoom is free for participants, instructions will be sent upon registration.
- Recommended edition:
- The Greek Plays: Sixteen Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides; edited by Mary Lefkowitz and James Romm; ISBN-13: 978-0812983098
- £200 for six-week study, includes notes and questions for preparation.
TO REGISTER for the study, please use the secure Paypal payment button below to pay £200.
ABOUT THE FACILITATOR: Mark Cwik has been organizing and leading discussions of great literature for over twenty years in London, Chicago and Toronto. He specializes in works from the ancient, mythic and religious world. He was trained as a discussion facilitator while at the Great Books Foundation in Chicago and has been a passionate advocate for great books education since attending St. John’s College, Santa Fe and the University of Chicago Basic Program in Liberal Education.
“I’ve been coming to Mark’s discussion groups for about 15 years . . . Mark is amazing in his ability to keep the group functioning smoothly. He asks questions that get to the heart of the piece and he keeps the group focused on those questions. You don’t feel that he’s trying to steer us to any conclusion; he’s in it with us to figure out what the author is saying. He makes everyone feel welcome and their opinions are respectfully heard. He’s always prepared and totally dedicated to advancing our understanding of the great books.” — group participant.
If you have any questions about this study, please contact us.