Lesson One: Learning to Infer by Looking at Masks
In 5th century Athens, where Greek drama developed, plays were performed with two or three male actors. These actors had to play all of the characters, including those of women. To switch roles quickly and be easily recognizable to the audience, actors wore platform shoes, elaborate costumes, and masks. Although no 5th century masks have survived, we know what they looked like from vase paintings. They were large, over life-size, and had grossly exaggerated facial features.
Lesson Two: Greek Theater
Theater was an integral part of religious and public life in 5th century Athens. It was financed by a combination of public and private funds, and all citizens were expected to participate. Shops closed for days, owners were paid for lost business, prisoners were let out of jail, and poor people were given spending money. A discussion of large public celebrations helps students make connections with the topic. It is difficult for students to grasp the significance of theater festivals in ancient Greece because there are no comparable events today.
Lesson Three: Tragedy
In this lesson the student reading, "Tragedy," briefly discusses some of the common characteristics of Greek tragedy. It can be used as an in-class lesson to reinforce the reading strategy, as an in-class assessment, or for independent practice at home