Drama was an essential part of the experience of a citizen of classical Athens, and ancient plays explored issues pertinent to public life and civic action. However, many Athenian plays featured women as main characters, despite the limited social role actually allowed to women in classical Athens. In this course, we will consider the treatment of gender and gender roles in classical Athenian drama, studying plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. We will examine how ancient playwrights defined both masculinity and femininity; how the boundaries between the two were mediated, questioned, and reinforced in the religious and ritual context of dramatic performance; and how these conceptions of gender affected (or did not affect) the lives of the men and women of ancient Athens.
MWF 10:30-11:20 am - Professor Platte
Cross-listed with CLC 411 AX
Fulfills humanities requirement - literature
Students will also read excerpts of ancient epic, lyric, history, mythography, court speeches, and letters in order to contextualize Athenian drama. We will also investigate the intersection of gender and social class, ethnicity, and power in the classical world. This course will encourage students to think critically about gender and media in ancient society, which can serve as a model for how to approach these important issues in our modern world.