Ancient Greek culture vs. Elizabethan Age culture

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In all the Elizabethan arts in England, drama has been one of the most popular arts which have left an enduring legacy in the region. Not one theatre had been in existence till after the Elizabeth I period (1533-1603) that took effect in 1558. During the start of Elizabethan era, which is associated with the rule of Queen Elizabeth is considered golden age in the English History. The majority of the English Drama was anchored o two antique genres namely; Mystery and morality forms of plays. Ancient Greeks were firms religious. In this regard, they had been worshipping many gods who were believed to have appeared in the form of human beings and were also firmly endowed with significant supernatural powers and ageless beauty. Ancient Greeks did not however generally leave behind huge grave goods. Nonetheless, epitaphios regarding funeral orations was largely regarded important and animal sacrifices were a major feature. In this regard, the Greek cultures and Elizabethan counterparts were very significant in the history of the lands and characterized with different cultural artifacts and other important elements. This paper compares the two cultures. Shakespeare and Sophocles exhibit many similarities but also have a number of differences particularly in their approach to their audience.

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Differences in Purpose

Sophocles had a significant role in the cultural domain of the region. Among one of the ultimate roles of the Sophocles was to teach on the concepts of obeying Gods. In one of the arts, Sophocles wrote a piece called, Oedipus the King for annual festivities in which case playwrights had been competing for prizes. This incidence comprised a huge civic occasion whose attendance was highly anticipated. In the Sophocles, Oedipus narrates his story. In particular, he inquired about the fact that he was adopted or otherwise. All the counterparts had informed him of their plot to kill his father and eventually marry his mother. While travelling in loneliness, he found group of people walking in opposite direction. The song was sung in a chorus with different messages among them, how to obey gods, the best gift for the gods was a good government and in case the government is considered bad, there exists no reasons to be good. (Reinhard, & Kenneth, 35). These thematic issues were the characteristic issues brought about by the Sophocles, which was an important element in the artistic field.

On the other hand, Shakespeare was able to analyze human psyche. In this regard, Shakespeare is also considered the first and greatest psychologist in history. In the Shakespeares work, the passage from the elements disposed in the write up entailed mordant reflections regarding flaws of human moral senses. While assuming the subtitle of Harold Blooms Shakespeare, it is however considered that The title, The Invention of the Human is principally an exaggeration though it captures elements such as the bad were considered to arise from one of the greatest psychologist. In particular, Isabella also contrasts administration guided by an idealized divine justice and all-too-fallible concept of human justice. In this regard, she makes a reminder that human have the capacity to met significantly cruel and useless punishments judgments with full confidence of their conscience about the issue. Jove also reserves the deadliest punishment on the hardest-hearted offenders. According to Shakespeares predisposition, ideal punishments are also directly proportional to crimes and actual perpetrators of crimes (Werth, 54).

Difference in Audience

The plays pertaining to the Sophocles drew significant classic tales regarding the Greek Mythology. This aspect entailed a convention of tragedy commonly called tragoida. Besides, the familiarity of the story and settings with regard to the audience was critical in the sense that it allowed the writer in focusing specific elements and eventually interpreting them through a novel approach. Sophocles is therefore often unconcerned with the past happening as the audience are believed to be aware of but rather concerned with the manner in which the events occurred. Another major feature of the Sophocles is that amongst main characters, among them the male characters, there is typically a heroic figure with exceptional capabilities in which case, their overconfidence and overrated pride helps in the culmination of a tragic ending as intended. One of the most famous of such characters is Antigone for whom the lead character pay ultimate price in interring her brother- Polynice against wishes of Thebes King, Kreon (Kirkwood, 41-42). In this regard, this presents a classical scenario of tragedy which hauls a political right to have traitor Polynices denied what was regarded as burial rights and contrasted with moral right of burying a brother by a sister.

On the other hand, Shakespeare is generally taught that his characters lies not, their audience or selves. When they are involved in speaking in soliloquy, they do so based on factual matters pertaining to themselves. Within the early opening of the play, As You Like It, following Oliver fight with his brother. This was conspicuously found to set him to a losing end within the context of the wrestling match. Subsequently, he speaks alone while on stage making immediate and true confessions about the turn of events. The audience in this case has no prior knowledge of the events and facts that culminated to this incidence and appears not involved in the competition. The incidence which the characters implicitly and explicitly refer to the audience is incidences that generally create robust opportunity for the creation to speak to their audience as well as the audience to respond (Harvey, 45). The unspoken moments are essential since they can eventually invite audiences, challenge character motivation such as the creation of a gap in which an audience fills its regarded sense of consistency.

Similarities in the Performing Arts

The two works share several similarities. In both cases positing a tragedy, there is always an individual causing trouble for other characters. For instance, in the case of Antigone, Antigone sparked tragedy but the King Kreon is regarded as the one who causes majority of the deaths at the end. Antigone had been demanding decent burying of her brother but instead, through Creon she was accorded burial of her own. Subsequently, Creons action leads to his own son committing suicide. For Othello in Shakespeares case, the person causing misery and eventual death for some parties was Iago. He was the man characterized with pure evil capable of changing peoples mind and control events that Othello could eventually end up in trouble. Subsequent, Iagos action led to Othellos move to kill his wife suspecting that she slept with another man. When remembering that his wife was a saint and his action was a shear fault of Iago, he took Iagos wife and stabbed Iago killing him from serious bleeding (Kirkwood, 53). These two separate storylines shows characters who infringe havocs on their counterparts.


Finally, Antigone was really a great problem characterized with its critical sense of despair Unlike the Sophocles however, Shakespeare had significant capacity to lure peoples attention due to his ability to manipulate love and humor throughout his plays. Such humor added to the comical relief impact to his play and allowed audiences to have more tune with the play. Regarding love, majority of the people died as a result of love across both Sophocles and Shakespeare. This therefore creates an assertion that love is really a major emotion that can make anyone engage insane activities. Although Shakespeare and Sophocles displayed several differences, they also shared many similarities particularly in the sense that they were characterized with a principally tragic ending particularly showing the death of major characters.

Work Cited

Julia Reinhard, & Kenneth Reinhard. After Oedipus: Shakespeare in Psychoanalysis. CornellUniversity Press, 2003.

Kirkwood, Gordon MacDonald. A study of Sophoclean drama. Vol. 31. Cornell University Press,2004.Harvey, John. "A note on Shakespeare and Sophocles." Essays in Criticism 27.3 (2007): 259270.

Werth, Andrew. "Shakespeares Lesse Greek.." The Oxfordian 5 (2002): 11-29.

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