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Contributions of Aeschylus and Sophocles to Drama The most prestigious of the drama festivals held in Athens was the City Dionysia held of a six-day period Hundreds of visitors dignitaries and rural citizens crowded the city to see the spectacle Aeschylus 524-456 BC and Sophocles 496-406 BC two playwrights of the era held top honors at the festival for many years Their contributions laid the foundation for modern drama as we know it today Aeschylus the first of Athens two greatest tragedy writers was born into an aristocratic land- rich family just to the northwest of Athens at the height of the citys greatness Ignoring the more common themes of love and passion his thinking was more towards theology and serious contemplations of humanistic questions such as the nature of justice He credits much of his poetic success to the epic labeling his plays the scraps from Homers banquet Aeschylus made such significant contributions to the development of the tragedy some call him the creator of tragedy A latecomer to literary fame Aeschylus launched his career in 499 BC at the annual festival in honor of Dionysus It was not until 484 BC fifteen years later that Aeschylus won the highest prize an acknowledgement of his achievements His main contribution to the development of drama was an intensification of the dramatic element over narrative lyric or elegiac poetry by which he aroused the audience to heights of anguish pity and terror Aeschylus innovations began thirty years after Thespis introduced his one-man tragedies Aeschylus added a second actor to the monotonic beginning of serious plays whose presence provided flexibility and a dramatic dimension unknown in the Western world Late in his career he imitated Sophocles by including a third actor Also he is credited with the invention of spectacle created by massive painted scenery and machinery capable of interjecting ghosts and gods from above Being a musician he included flute solos and dancing to
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