Classical Tragedy - Women and Gender Focus
Fall Semester 2019
Dr. Jacqueline Long
barest-minimum questions with which to begin your notes on every play
- What is the play called? (look up)
- Who wrote it? (look up)
- To the extent we can tell, when was it originally performed? (look up in
Index of Dates or other resource)
- Who are the most important characters? (read the play, then select from the cast-list the
3-6 individuals this play makes its most important)
- Who are the Chorus, and how does this corporate character relate to the principals? (read
the play and explain more fully than the cast-list)
- What happens? (read the play, then summarize the action in 1-5 sentences)
begin turning the minimum information into meaningful knowledge
- What problem does the play identify as the most important driving force of its action?
- Go back to question 6 above, and analyze: according to what characters in the play
say or do, why is the problem a problem? how does the problem generate the action?
what does the result of the action suggest about the nature of the problem?
- What additional problems do you see operating in the action? how do they
operate? why do you judge they are important, too?
- Who, in your judgment, is the single most important character in the play? Why?
- Go back to questions 4 and 5 above, and analyze in terms of what characters in the play
say and do.
- On what kinds of idea are you basing your judgment about importance? Would thinking
in terms of other ideas make a different character seem the most important?
- How does the play relate to other plays we are reading? Possible connections include characters,
stories, author, but also types of relationship or interaction between characters, chorus, problems, and
themes. In view of when each play was performed (question 3 above), what connections would have seemed
most important to their original audiences? Why?
- Think about legitimate arguments you could support on the topic, "[this play, question 1 above] is
characteristic/unusual for [this author, question 2 above] because..."
- Study Questions and
Study Questions linked to the
Schedule of Assignments reflect focuses
the instructor anticipates developing in individual plays, but those anticipations are subject to the
dynamics and interests the class as a whole develops over our time together: the questions here invite
you to start claiming ground of your own.
- SQ3R for Primary-Source Coursework
outlines a method for active reading, defining your own focuses in course-material.
Revised 19 June 2019 by