Ch 2: Origins of Theatre

About This Chapter

This online dramatic arts chapter discusses the origins of theatre through a series of bite-sized and engaging lessons. Access these lessons to improve your performance in a drama class, study for an upcoming exam, complete homework assignments or simply learn more about the history of theatre.

Origins of Theatre - Chapter Summary

Learn about the historical origins of theatre with this self-paced dramatic arts chapter. As you progress through these simple lessons, you'll take a look at the history of ancient Greek and Roman theatre, as well as relevant dramatic terms, theatrical genres and important playwrights. You can solidify your comprehension of these topics by taking the accompanying lesson quizzes and chapter exam. You can also revisit the material as many times as needed, and the chapter is accessible on any device that has an Internet connection. When you're finished with the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Identify theatrical elements and genres
  • Summarize and analyze Aristotle's Poetics
  • Compare Greek tragedies and comedies
  • Define the term 'catharsis'
  • Assess the lives and works of Aeschylus and Sophocles
  • Recognize tools that were used in classical Greek theatre
  • Interpret facts about the Theatre of Dionysis
  • Discuss the history of ancient Roman theatre
  • Describe the subject matter of medieval morality, mystery and miracle plays

10 Lessons in Chapter 2: Origins of Theatre
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Theater: Elements & Genres

1. Theater: Elements & Genres

Theater is one of humankind's oldest symbols of culture and civilization. While theater has accepted systems, sometimes it breaks out and attempts something new. Read about ancient Greece, the usual theatrical elements, and different types of theater.

Aristotle's Poetics: Summary & Analysis

2. Aristotle's Poetics: Summary & Analysis

You may have taken a look at Aristotle's 'Poetics' and thought to yourself, 'This sounds like Greek to me.' But, that doesn't mean you can't get a grasp on the philosopher's message. Watch this video for a synopsis and analysis of this ancient aesthetic treatise!

Greek Theatre: Tragedy and Comedy

3. Greek Theatre: Tragedy and Comedy

This lecture examines the function of theatre in Greek culture and religion, with special focus on the Athenians. It then explores the three different sorts of Greek theatre: satyr plays, comedy and tragedy, citing specific examples. Finally, we study the impact of theatre on Western civilization.

What is Catharsis? - Definition, Examples & History in Literature and Drama

4. What is Catharsis? - Definition, Examples & History in Literature and Drama

In this lesson, learn about catharsis, a purging of feelings that occurs when audiences have strong emotional reactions to a work of literature. Explore examples of literary works which lead to catharsis, including tragedies.

Aeschylus: Biography, Plays & Poems

5. Aeschylus: Biography, Plays & Poems

This lesson is about the life and plays of Aeschylus, an Athenian soldier and playwright of the fifth century, and one of the first dramatists known to history.

Sophocles: Biography & Plays

6. Sophocles: Biography & Plays

Learn about the playwright Sophocles, one of the three great innovators of Greek tragedies. Explore his success as a playwright and general, and delve into one of his most famous plays.

Classical Greek Theater Tools: Skene, Ekkyklema & Mechane

7. Classical Greek Theater Tools: Skene, Ekkyklema & Mechane

Ancient Greek theater has helped shape the art form as we know it today, both in structure and methodology. In this lesson, we will take a look at three Greek theater tools and the influences they had on modern theater.

Theatre of Dionysus: History, Performances & Facts

8. Theatre of Dionysus: History, Performances & Facts

Heading out to see a movie just might be your idea of a good time, but did you know the ancient Greeks enjoyed an evening at the theater, too? In this lesson, we will look at the history and design of the world's first theater.

Ancient Roman Theatre: History & Performance

9. Ancient Roman Theatre: History & Performance

If there's one thing ancient Romans believed in, it was entertainment. In this lesson, we'll see how theater fit into Roman life and explore some of its forms.

Morality, Mystery & Miracle Plays in Medieval Theatre

10. Morality, Mystery & Miracle Plays in Medieval Theatre

During medieval times the church took over the theatre almost exclusively. This lesson takes a look at the three primary genres of theatre that evolved through the church during these times.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Support