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Unit information: Drama in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Drama
Unit code CLAS20066
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Hannah-Marie Chidwick
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit considers the role of drama within the ancient world. We will consider a range of plays (in translation) from the Greek and Roman world, including both tragedies and comedies, and will consider the plays within their social, historical, and political contexts. Authors studied may include: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander, Seneca, Plautus, and Terence; dramatical works to be studied may include: Oedipus Tyrannus, Bacchae, Frogs, Phaedra, and Amphitryon.

Students will be expected to deliver a formative group presentation


  • To introduce students to the study of ancient drama, including the formal features of the texts and the circumstances of their original performance;
  • To introduce students to notions of ancient genre and the contextual differences between Greek and Roman theatre;
  • To provide an overview of key scholarly approaches to the study of ancient drama;
  • To develop students’ critical reading skills;
  • To strengthen students’ written skills through the course assessments.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this units, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of ancient plays, and the social, historical, and political contexts of their production, and their reception.
  2. Evaluate the principal critical approaches and identify the issues involved in studying individual dramatic texts and the ancient genres of tragedy and comedy.
  3. Construct coherent, relevant and persuasive arguments on different aspects of the subject.
  4. Demonstrate skills in oral and written communication appropriate to level I.

Teaching details

1x one-hour seminar and 1x two-hour seminar per week.

Assessment Details

One summative reflective writing exercise of 1,500 word based on a group project (30%) [ILOs 1, 2, 4].

One summative 3,000 word essay (70%) [ILOs 3, 4].

Reading and References

  • Boyle, Antony J. (2006) An Introduction to Roman Tragedy, London: Routledge
  • Easterling, Patricia E. (ed.), (1997) The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Goldhill, Simon (1986) Reading Greek Tragedy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Sharrock, Alison (2009) Reading Roman Comedy: Poetics and Playfulness in Plautus and Terence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press