Stage 2 classical studies assessment type 2: Essays Topic 1: Conflict in Greek Plays

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Assessment type 2: Essays

Topic 1: Conflict in Greek Plays

The prologue in a Greek play introduces conflict that is not always resolved by the end of the play.’

Discuss this statement with close reference to one or two Greek plays.
Knowledge & Understanding (KU1)

Understanding of ideas of the classical world.

Research & Analysis (RA3)

Controlled application of relevant terms.

here Euripides favoured having a single character contextualise and introduce the action of a play, Sophocles preferred having two characters exchange dialogue. The prologue of the Antigone begins, with the sisters Ismene and Antigone, long-suffering daughters of the house of Oedipus, discussing the kerygma (or proclamation), by Creon that their brother Eteocles is to be buried with all the appropriate honour accorded to the dead, but Polynices, having fought with the Argives, is to be left to rot as carrion for carnivorous birds. Their interchange – with Antigone insisting that Polynices must be buried, and Ismene refusing to go against the King – introduces the ideological agon (or conflict) at the heart of the play; that between the unwritten laws of the gods and political expediency. It is a conflict that is mostly, if tragically, resolved by the end of the play – an ideological battle which ends because of the death of many of its combatants and which results in a painful anagnorisis for the character of Creon.

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