On Greek Drama: Tragedy and Comedy

Welcome back to our continuing inspirational series, Classic Thoughts & Journal Prompts, featuring word and image memes created by homeschool student, Haley Richardson, we enjoy our weekly essay reading and discussion about Western thought and literature in Invitation to the Classics. This past week we read three essays about the Golden Age of Greek Drama some 400 years prior to the birth of Christ. We discussed the advent of tragedy and comedy entering the world stage, and the stories explored there. Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes were the top playwrights of the age, laying the foundation for tragedy and comedy and the birth of modern drama. Greek theatre is the historic inspiration for the theatrical comedy and tragedy masks that have been the icon of the performing arts ever since. The stories they told fertilized the soil of the Western mindset in conjunction with the great philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, making ready a civilization able to receive the Gospel in due season.

Read the quotes by the essayists below and think on some of the things Haley found most interesting regarding comic and tragic storytelling and the exploration of universal themes and search for ideals through the dramatic medium. Take your pen and journal in hand and write your thoughts on the journal prompts below each meme. Enjoy!

While Sophocles great tragedy, Oedipus Rex, sent audiences out of the amphitheatre heavy of heart at the traumatic storyline, death, and destruction, Aristophanes kept his audiences laughing with wit and sometimes even nonsense, but always a happy ending. Proverbs 17:22 tells us “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” How important is it to guard the entertainment forms you allow through your eye gate and into your mind through the material you choose to read? Tragedy appears to be a gruesome part of daily living in light of world realities and news headlines. What must we do to combat such tragedy? How can we find the happy ending to tragic stories? What types of stories should we strive to tell to live a hopeful impact on those we meet? What can we do to turn tragedy to comedy in a world bent on breaking the spirit and drying our bones?

There is no story without conflict. Drama happens at the point where innocence and the “reality of guilt” intersect. A happy heart is infringed upon and the sublimity of the story rests in the overcoming of the infringement and restoration of an innocence lost. A birthing of comedy from tragedy. The Cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate story of innocence undone by the reality of guilt–and then turned on its head, once again, by the most unexpected plot twist ever: The Resurrection. It is, indeed, a universal theme of heroic nobility laying down its life for a beloved one, be it person or country, and overcoming through seemingly invincible odds. List the many ways this universal story is told throughout the Bible. How many books or movies have you experienced where this theme emerges? Why is this theme so central to our humanity?

Greek theatre worked out the theme of justice as regarding the exploits of mortal men in conjunction with the demands of arbitrary immortal gods. Justice always seemed to elude the hero, or arrive too late–hence fodder for truly tragic plot developments and story endings. The Greeks yearned for an ideal of justice to be fulfilled, but had weak gods in whom to trust for such an thing. When Christianity came on the scene, the plot thickened into a firm foundation to secure the true justice their tragic heroes seemed ever on a quest to find. Do a word study on “justice” and list what the Bible has to say on the topic. Do you agree with the quote in the above meme by Robert Martin Schaefer? Why or why not? Is justice really a virtue of being human or is it a character quality found in God alone? What does the Bible teach us about living in a “state of harmony?”

Look for more memes each week with thoughtful journal prompts as Haley and I invite you to join us with these short snippets from our homeschool journeys through classic literature. Don’t miss Haley’s essay inspired by Aristotle’s thoughts on man’s search for happiness, too!

Sharing On Greek Drama: Tragedy & Comedy this week with:

Literacy Musing Mondays
Mostly Blogging Inspire Me Monday Linkup
Darling Downs Diaries: Good Morning Monday
Classical Homemaking
Wise Woman Wednesday
Breakthrough Homeschooling
Booknificient Thursday
Vintage Mama’s Cottage
Spiritual Sundays

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About Miss Kathy

"I teach families how to restore their God-given authority as the primary educator in their child’s life through the experience of reading together as a family. Learn how to use literature to create teachable moments, build strong minds, and bind loving hearts."

Kathryn Ross, writer, speaker, and dramatist, ignites a love of literature and learning to equip young and old towards developing a Family Literacy Lifestyle—reading together, learning together, loving together. Her works challenge families to deepen their literacy skills and grow into the greater things God has purposed for them. She’s taught in Christian and homeschool circles, trained in the Principle Approach® through the Foundation for American Christian Education. Miss Kathy owns Pageant Wagon Publishing, producing homeschool enrichment materials, devotional works, study guides, and theatrical dramas for church, school, and community production. She podcasts at TheWritersReverie.com and blogs at PageantWagonPublishing.com.


  1. Thanks for sharing at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com! Tweeting!

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