Tragedy started over thousands of years ago in Greece, where men would perform in a large festival setting and many from all around would gather to view the performance.
Tragedy started in Athens, a place where many consider the initial forms of
tragedy to be born. It originally emerged as a dance-drama type of performance, where it was
considered an integral part of the city-state. It became very popular, yet very of the tragedies
written during this time have survived today.
These plays were often performed in late March/early April in celebration of Dionysus, the god of grape harvest and wine. The plays took place in a contest-like setting, where one presented their play on three consecutive days. The theater of Dionysus in Athens is stated to have held around 12,000 people, and performances allowed both genders to view.
The choral parts of the plays were always sung, and actors were always male. In addition, actors always wore masks.
The structure of Greek tragedy often followed certain guidelines. The plays
usually began with a prologue, where characters explain and give background to the upcoming scenes.
There then is the parodos and eventually the stasima. At the end, plays often have an exodus, where
the story is concluded. Not all plays follow these conventions, however.
An interesting part of the Greek Tragedy style is that they often used Ekkyklema in order to give the audience an impression of violence occurring without having the violence occur onstage. At the time, they may have not had the necessary “special effects” in order to portray at brutal murder well, so they resorted to offstage violence.
Aeschylus was an ancient Greek tragedian. He is often described as the father of tragedy.
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived.
Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens. Many of his plays have survived.