A2 AQA Greek Tragedy CIV 3C Watch

AmbarA
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Hi Just thought it would be very helpful to start a thread for A2 Greek Tragedy exam coming up on the 9th of June. Hopefully we can help each other out!
Feel free to ask any questions and give tips!

Ambar
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Hi there,

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Beatbox22
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Ambar we meet again!
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AmbarA
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(Original post by Beatbox22)
Ambar we meet again!
Loool hey! Are we the only people studying greek tragedy jeez?!? haha How's revision going? I've made indepth notes now so I'm much calmer :L
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Beatbox22
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fair enough! haha send them my way
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Shasha19
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Hey, I've been looking through the examiner reports and have realised that my awful teacher hasn't taught us any of the Greek terminology or how to use it, eg. Nomos, opsis, hamartia etc. Could any of you help me out with which words will be useful for the exam and what they mean/how to use them. Sorry if this is a big ask Hope revision is going well, thank you x
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Agdsten
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How have you guys been revising for this exam?
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Shasha19
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Hey,
I've been doing theme analysis and comparing themes across the plays to prepare for the 40 markers. I also do character mind maps and make sure I'm completely familiar with the plot of each play and the order everything happens (to try and get the 5 markers at the start). It's just a lot of memorising and analysis on my part really. What about you?


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smartarse
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So what are our predictions for the questions this year or are we not allowed to discuss that? ;/
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reebop
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i think nosmos means 'rules'? not sure about the others - we havent done much of the greek terms" gulp! anyone know a good resource?
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BluWacky
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(Original post by reebop)
i think nosmos means 'rules'? not sure about the others - we havent done much of the greek terms" gulp! anyone know a good resource?

Let's go with the following list, which is not exhaustive but is at least a start:

PHYSIS and NOMOS

Some people talk about this as "nature versus nurture". Essentially this is the conflict between what is natural (physis - think of "physics" dealing with the natural world) and what is man made (nomos). The "natural" world includes religion and the gods; the "man made" world includes government, man's laws etc. It's an idea from Greek philosophy.

So in Antigone the central conflict between Antigone, upholding the laws of the gods, and Creon, upholding his own laws, is a classic conflict between physis and nomos. Oedipus clings to his command of the city in defiance of the inevitability of the supernatural. Hippolytus's obsession with religious purity is undone by Theseus's command that he be exiled and put to death (although the boundaries between physis and nomos are a little fuzzier here). What about the Medea do you think applies to this contrast of ideas?

HAMARTIA

Hamartia literally means "mistake". Although there is some debate about the exact way "hamartia' should be applied to tragedy, you should either use it to describe:

i) an error that a character makes that brings about the "tragic" part of the play
ii) a flaw in a character's personality that leads them to their downfall

I'd prefer the first option. For instance, in Antigone, it is Creon's proclamation that Polyneices be unburied that sets the tragedy in motion; in Hippolytus, it is his refusal to honour Aphrodite; in Medea, Jason's spurning of his wife. What do you think the mistake that Oedipus makes is? Remember that the "hamartia" is not always that of the title character!

HUBRIS

Hubris is "insolence" - the idea that you are better than the gods/religion. Hubris is punished with disaster.

NEMESIS

Nemesis, or "vengeance", is the punishment you receive for your hubris!

OPSIS

I wouldn't be too concerned about the use of this word, but what it means is incredibly important. Opsis literally means "sight" and is used to describe the staging and spectacle of a production. Remember that tragedy was written to be performed, not just to be read! What about these plays is exciting to see? Medea appears from the roof of the palace in the mechane, in a place normally reserved for the gods, in a chariot drawn by dragons! Oedipus returns to the stage blinded! The chorus sing and dance down in the orchestra between scenes! There are costumes and masks and all sorts of things that would make it interesting to see what was going on. Always consider elements of staging when looking at tragedy.

PERIPETEIA
The "turning point" of a Greek tragedy. The moment when the tragic protagonist shifts from a "high place" (i.e. being in control) to a "low place" (being corrupted, or struck with disaster etc.) through some massive change in the status quo. Oedipus learns that he's definitely boffed his mother and immediately laid low; Theseus condemns Hippolytus to death; etc. etc.
This sometimes comes at the same time as an ANAGNORESIS, or "realisation" - basically when someone finds something out, usually through learning news from a messenger character or similar.

CATHARSIS


"Cleansing" - one of the main purposes of Greek tragedy according to Aristotle. You go along, you watch a play, awful stuff happens because people are disrespecting the gods, and you purge yourself of all your negative emotions by having a good cry, being shocked at what's happened in the play etc. You come away thinking both "glad this didn't happen to me!" and "aren't the gods all powerful? we must respect them!". That's catharsis.

There are lots of other fancy terms but I think those are probably a good few to be getting on with at this late stage.
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Shasha19
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(Original post by BluWacky)
Let's go with the following list, which is not exhaustive but is at least a start:

PHYSIS and NOMOS

Some people talk about this as "nature versus nurture". Essentially this is the conflict between what is natural (physis - think of "physics" dealing with the natural world) and what is man made (nomos). The "natural" world includes religion and the gods; the "man made" world includes government, man's laws etc. It's an idea from Greek philosophy.

So in Antigone the central conflict between Antigone, upholding the laws of the gods, and Creon, upholding his own laws, is a classic conflict between physis and nomos. Oedipus clings to his command of the city in defiance of the inevitability of the supernatural. Hippolytus's obsession with religious purity is undone by Theseus's command that he be exiled and put to death (although the boundaries between physis and nomos are a little fuzzier here). What about the Medea do you think applies to this contrast of ideas?
.....................
Thank you so so much, I really appreciate you taking the time to help us with all of that, so kind of you! Good luck with the exam tmrw, hope revision is going well
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Beatbox22
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Really good discussion - just want to get done with exam now.. I've got a few of those greek words..

aidos, pathos, kleos, timê, polis, oikos, anagnorisis, catharsis, physis, hamartia, hubris, peripeteia, ate
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BluWacky
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(Original post by Beatbox22)
Really good discussion - just want to get done with exam now.. I've got a few of those greek words..

aidos, pathos, kleos, timê, polis, oikos, anagnorisis, catharsis, physis, hamartia, hubris, peripeteia, ate
Just to cover the ones I didn't mention above:

AIDOS

Aidos is "modesty" or "shame" - a sense of restraint, of not acting excessively. Phaedra says in one of her speeches around line 380 or so "life has many pleasures... a sense of shame. this takes two forms, one beneficial, the other a burden on families." She should show some form of "shame" by not revealing her hidden desire for Hippolytus; but it is also this "shame" at her actions that is her undoing, because it drives her to implicate Hippolytus in the false rape accusation.

Some also see aidos as a political concept - you display aidos by doing what you're supposed to do for the city, for instance.

PATHOS

Appealing to the emotions. Pathos is invoked in the kommoi, as characters bewail their fates, and at various other points.

KLEOS/TIME

Probably not so relevant for AQA's tragedy paper given the texts studied. Kleos and time are part of the "heroic code" that Homer's heroes adhered to. Kleos is "fame" - the immortality of your name throughout history on account of your great deeds. Time is "honour" - the respect paid to you for whatever you have done - and can take the form of a prize of some kind (for instance, a slave girl captured in a raid on a city) or just respect from your peers.

POLIS

The city-state, the system of government. Many of the tragedies have a political element - particularly the Theban plays studied here - where the actions of a figure of state such as Creon/Oedipus upsets the citizen body and causes destruction to the stability of the city. In Antigone, for instance, the city is torn asunder first by civil war and then by Creon's actions. The tyrannical actions of the leaders and kings in these plays stands in contrast to the seemingly democratic polis of Athens where these plays were performed.

OIKOS

The family unit. Every single one of these plays has a dysfunctional family! For Athenians in particular the family unit was very traditional - man as breadwinner, woman sits at home doing cooking/cleaning etc. Remember Medea's amazing lines about how she would rather stand in battle ten times than give birth once etc.? She stands OUTSIDE the oikos, even as she dismantles it through her shocking actions.

ATE

I usually call this "moral blindness" although I don't think this is the technical definition. It's like a sense of delusion - not being able to see that what you are doing is wrong. Oedipus and Creon are excellent examples of this - perhaps also Theseus, in refusing to listen to Hippolytus's arguments in the agon. Do you think there is ate in Medea?
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teenageleftie
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Hi,
I'm busy panicking over how to structure the 40 markers - does anyone have any tips? Does anyone know where to find any exemplar essays for our specification?
Thanks!
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BluWacky
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(Original post by teenageleftie)
Hi,
I'm busy panicking over how to structure the 40 markers - does anyone have any tips? Does anyone know where to find any exemplar essays for our specification?
Thanks!
How strange, there's nothing on the AQA website for this paper (perhaps because it's so overwhelmingly popular?). Anyway:

DO NOT WRITE YOUR ESSAYS PLAY BY PLAY, WRITE BASED ON A THEME ACROSS THE PLAYS AND USE EVIDENCE FROM ALL FOUR IN SUPPORTING THAT.

A common theme across the examiners' reports for this unit is that they do not like to see four mini essays on each play, but an essay that draws together evidence from across all four texts in support of an overall point.

I'm copy-pasting advice I've given elsewhere for structuring essays in general here, but:

INTRODUCTION - set out your overall conclusion and give a hint of some of the topics you will be covering - shows you know where you're going with your discussion and that you're not making it up as you go along.

MAIN PARAGRAPHS - pick a Point from your plan that you want to discuss across the tragedies you have studied, draw together a variety of Evidence from the plays (events, quotations etc.), and Analyse them, taking care to Link them to the question.

So for instance, on last year's "how effectively do S & E use myth to explore issues relevant to Athenian audiences", I would maybe write a paragraph such as the following:

Greek tragedies almost exclusively take place in places and times far distant from 5th century Athens, telling stories that were overtly mythological rather than historical. Indeed, one notable exception, Phrynichus's The Sack of Miletus, was said to be so shocking to the Athenian audience that the play's future production was banned. This distancing of stories is obvious in their settings - the Theban cycle takes place in Thebes, Hippolytus in Troezen, and Medea in Corinth - but also in their storylines, which place them in the realms of fantasy as bulls rise out of the waves or witches ride on chariots drawn by dragons in the Euripidean plays. The "distancing" effect of using myths in this way allows Sophocles and Euripides to explore contemporary Athenian issues without blatantly stating their relevance, making them more palatable to an audience that might otherwise be offended by a more obvious approach.
(I'm throwing in the Phrynichus example to show off but you get the picture - I've made a point, referenced all 4 plays, and then explained my point in a way that's linked back to the essay title).

CONCLUSION - sum up your findings which should reflect the introduction of your essay.

So in short:

INTRO AND CONCLUSION - reflect each other, set out your overall opinion and briefly summarise the evidence you've used to reach this
MAIN PARAGRAPHS - use Points, Evidence, Analysis and Links in various combinations.
WRITE BY THEME, NOT BY PLAY

And finally:

DON'T JUST TELL THE STORY. This is the number one bugbear of exam markers.
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Beatbox22
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(Original post by BluWacky)
How strange, there's nothing on the AQA website for this paper (perhaps because it's so overwhelmingly popular?). Anyway:

DO NOT WRITE YOUR ESSAYS PLAY BY PLAY, WRITE BASED ON A THEME ACROSS THE PLAYS AND USE EVIDENCE FROM ALL FOUR IN SUPPORTING THAT.

A common theme across the examiners' reports for this unit is that they do not like to see four mini essays on each play, but an essay that draws together evidence from across all four texts in support of an overall point.

I'm copy-pasting advice I've given elsewhere for structuring essays in general here, but:

INTRODUCTION - set out your overall conclusion and give a hint of some of the topics you will be covering - shows you know where you're going with your discussion and that you're not making it up as you go along.

MAIN PARAGRAPHS - pick a Point from your plan that you want to discuss across the tragedies you have studied, draw together a variety of Evidence from the plays (events, quotations etc.), and Analyse them, taking care to Link them to the question.

So for instance, on last year's "how effectively do S & E use myth to explore issues relevant to Athenian audiences", I would maybe write a paragraph such as the following:



(I'm throwing in the Phrynichus example to show off but you get the picture - I've made a point, referenced all 4 plays, and then explained my point in a way that's linked back to the essay title).

CONCLUSION - sum up your findings which should reflect the introduction of your essay.

So in short:

INTRO AND CONCLUSION - reflect each other, set out your overall opinion and briefly summarise the evidence you've used to reach this
MAIN PARAGRAPHS - use Points, Evidence, Analysis and Links in various combinations.
WRITE BY THEME, NOT BY PLAY

And finally:

DON'T JUST TELL THE STORY. This is the number one bugbear of exam markers.

Great advice! I write my essays by play and still manage to get good marks - I do tie in the aspects from changing paragraph.. i.e *Antigone paragraph* *end of antigone paragraph* "This literal self sacrifice of Antigone herself, can also be paralleled with Phaedra's suicide in Hippolytus" *Starts Hippolytus Paragraph*..

I've been getting 34+ doing it that way..?
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teenageleftie
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Thank you! That's really helpful!
In the questions that are "how important is *theme*?", how much balance would you say there needs to be between the theme specified and other themes?
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BluWacky
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(Original post by Beatbox22)
Great advice! I write my essays by play and still manage to get good marks - I do tie in the aspects from changing paragraph.. i.e *Antigone paragraph* *end of antigone paragraph* "This literal self sacrifice of Antigone herself, can also be paralleled with Phaedra's suicide in Hippolytus" *Starts Hippolytus Paragraph*..

I've been getting 34+ doing it that way..?
Ah, but what you are doing there is linking the plays together. What I'm advising against is "In Antigone...", end paragraph, "In Hippolytus...". You're explicitly drawing parallels between the texts, rather than writing discrete mini essays.
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Kureiji_Riji
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(Original post by Beatbox22)
Great advice! I write my essays by play and still manage to get good marks - I do tie in the aspects from changing paragraph.. i.e *Antigone paragraph* *end of antigone paragraph* "This literal self sacrifice of Antigone herself, can also be paralleled with Phaedra's suicide in Hippolytus" *Starts Hippolytus Paragraph*..

I've been getting 34+ doing it that way..?
Ah I do it play by play, but I'm not sure if I should because I think that got me lower marks whenever I did practices. I think now though, I could maybe do it by theme. We'll see in the exam tomorrow. I hope it goes well. I've done all I can for it and my brain is buzzing with tragedy stuff :| Really hope I can do well on this exam! I need to get a good B!

Good luck tomorrow everyone!!!!!
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