What really appealed to me in learning about Greek drama, was how personally tragedy could strike the viewers. It would seem off from modern society, many even taking place during past wars or even involving their gods, but the connections through democracy could appeal to the political aspects of their everyday life. Events in the plays would parallel political events that struck closer to home with the Greek. One example is when the Athenians attacked the Melians.
“The envoys gave the Melians an ultimatum: surrender and pay tribute to Athens, or be destroyed…They countered that if they did not extract surrender from Melos, the empire would look weak.”
Even though the Melians begged for mercy, as they were not an enemy, the Athenians used brute force, justifying it by saying that they would look weak if they didn’t get them to surrender. They invaded the isle, executed all the men, enslaved the women, and established a colony. When the play Trojan Women was shown, the Athenians watched the aftermath of the Trojan Wars, and viewed the same tragedy they had forced upon the Melians on the very stage that they turned to for entertainment.
In modern society, it is easy to see the connections between present day and the various cultures and ideas that were drawn together from the past. Especially in our culture within the United States. The food we eat, words of our language, and yes, even entertainment, can be traced back to the ideas and other cultures of the past.
Personally, I find various animes that I have watched to reflect the connection between drama, specifically tragedy, and political elements. As a person who has faced tragedies first hand in my own life, I find myself drawn to these as a form of entertainment. Watching the anime Tokyo Ghoul reminds me of the connection between the Athenians and the play Trojan Women. Both stories depict unjust treatment of others, and encourage the viewer to find a new perspective, seeing what the other “side” is facing. They even hit upon political notes as they show prejudice and unjust treatment that most governments have taken part in in the past. We are all human, and we make mistakes. It’s fascinating to see the window that entertainment can open, expanding beyond political boundaries, and asking its’ viewer to reflect.
I strongly believe that Greek Comedy and Tragedy will remain an important part in the future of digital storytelling. Just as there are patterns in the political nature of the world, much of which came from the democracy of the Greek, we will continue to see patterns and overlaps in our entertainment, no matter what it is on. If we can find similarities between an anime and a Greek play, or even a modern Disney film and a Shakespearean play (as people have noted considering Hamlet and Lion King), I have no doubt that elements of Greek Comedy and Tragedy will continue to bleed into modern entertainment for years to come.