My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die (The Princess Bride). You may recognize this quotable line from The Princess Bride. This historic love story and action film may be a part of modern-day culture but was truly inspired by ancient Greece. Due to its elements of comedy and tragedy, heroes and villains, and action as well as adventure, The Princess Bride showcases the unique expression of the arts that ancient Greek society has imprinted onto modern-day. This film, however, is not the only example of ancient Greek inspiration that can be seen in the current world. Everyday, people can see examples of Greek art that has been turned into a lifestyle. Whether it be the movies that are watched, the books that are read, or even the houses people live in, Greek inspiration is everywhere. Ancient Greece has contributed to and influenced modern arts in many ways such as literature, architecture, and drama. Many modern pieces of literature have similarities that point back to ancient Greece. According to the article Ancient Greek Novels, Their formulaic novels featured a basic plot in which two lovers meet, are separated, undergo a series of adventures, and are eventually reunited (Malcor 1).
Therefore, Greek literature has had a large impact on the modern world because many movies and books are structured in the way where one has to go through adventures in order to see their significant other again. The Princess Bride is a great example of how ancient Greek plots have influenced modern day stories because it follows the story structure that so many authors in ancient Greece used. Ancient Greek literature has also made a large impact in the way languages are formed. Historians have found evidence that suggests …Semitic script [is] a likely ancestor of the ancient Greek alphabet, which in turn influenced the development of the Latin, or Roman, alphabet that English speakers use today (Betro 1). Many of today’s languages have been influenced by ancient Greek writings. This depicts how the alphabet so many people use and know today was founded and influenced by ancient Greece as well. The Greeks invented the system of vowels and consonants that many know today. Also, the symbols alpha and beta is used in the forming of the word alphabet. It is very clear that ancient Greek culture has heavily influenced modern day literature, both through genre and structure of stories.
They also structured many different types of architecture that are still used today. The Ancient Greeks have impacted the modern world in many different ways, one big influence being architecture. When it came to architecture, the Greeks concerned themselves with simplicity, proportion, perspective, and harmony. Throughout ancient times, the Greeks built many spectacular buildings that are still recognized today. One of the most popular creations made by the Greek would be the Parthenon. According to The Story of Architecture, Exact representations of the temple have been built in different parts of the world, while it’s essence-that of a perfect, serene, detached building- has influenced architects right into the age of machine and beyond (Foster 27). The ancient building has inspired modern day architects to use the ideas of the ancient Greeks to remake the ancient building. Some basic designs, that are still around to this day, made by the Greeks include the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns.
The most basic column was the Doric column, which was used in the Lincoln Memorial. The most detailed column is the Corinthian column, which is intricately designed with leaves and has an inverted shape, and was used on the Supreme Court of the United States. The columns were used in other main buildings like the Capitol Building and other residences. Ancient Greeks must have inspired the modern world for their columns to be used on some of the most important buildings in the U.S. The Greeks have not just inspired others, but they have opened the doors to the world of architecture for others to follow in their footsteps. In addition to architecture, the Greeks have influenced the world through drama as well. During ancient times, the Greeks made many contributions to drama that can still be seen in modern society. The art of theatre originated in Athens, Greece and primarily focused on recreating Greek myths. Traditionally, the plays took place in theatres; these buildings were typically semicircle shaped, made of stone and were large, open-air structures constructed on the slopes of hills. They consisted of three main elements: the orchestra, the skene, and the audience (Ancient Greek Theatre).
A skene is similar to today’s backstage area, where actors change and wait for their stage cues. As for actors, women were not allowed to participate in theatrical productions; thus, all parts were played by male actors. Men would have to dress as women, sometimes wearing padding to create a female physique. Nowadays, however, both genders can participate in plays. In fact, some of Broadway’s biggest stars, such as Barbra Streisand and Patti LuPone, are female. In a typical ancient Greek production, there would be a twelve man chorus, similar to a modern-day ensemble, and a few main characters with speaking roles. Actors would wear mouthpieces to make their voices deeper and louder. They would also wear masks in order to demonstrate the character’s emotions, such as happy or sad. In modern times, actors can wear microphones; however, they do not conceal their faces with masks. The majority of plays in ancient Greece could be split into two categories: tragedy and comedy. Many people can recognize these genres as depicted in the iconic smiling and frowning masks, as used to represent drama today. Tragedies arose from … religious chants honoring Dionysus (Greek Drama).
These plays touched the hearts of many watching. A key component to the success of theater was its ability to make the audience feel genuine emotions through the characters. In tragedies, the actors had a knack for bringing sadness and despair into the hearts of audience members. Some famous Greek tragedies include The Oresteia by Aeschylus, Medea by Euripides, and The Persians by Aeschylus. On the other hand, the Greeks also enjoyed comedies. These, unlike dramas, brought joy to observers. Audience members would generally leave the theater with joy in their hearts. Due to the witty jokes and physical comedy in the plays, audiences were found laughing during this production. Some famous ancient Greek comedies include The Clouds by Aristophanes, The Frogs by Aristophanes, and Dyskolos by Menander. Both of these genres are still present in modern day society, especially comedies.
Truly, the Greeks laid the groundwork for many modern-day classics, such as Ghostbusters, Titanic, and many more. Without their theatrical innovations, our cinema and pop-culture would not be what it is today. Modern-day arts have clearly been influenced by ancient Greek literature, architecture, and drama. Literature from ancient Greece is still shown today through genres, plots, alphabets, and books. Remnants of ancient Greek architecture, such as the Parthenon, can be found in modern day civilization through the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. Modern-day theater has been influenced by ancient Greek drama through genre, plot, and production. So, next time you watch the Princess Bride, make sure to think of the civilization that started it all.
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