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GREEK THEATRE AND CHORUS.            71
around upon a pair of high heeled boots, with a terrible mask on, and a wide gaping mouth, as if he intended to swallow the audience,* no* to mention the unseemly thickness of breas, and body, all of which is done to hide the dispropor­tion between his extravagant height, and his meagre body. Bawling aloud, and writhing his body in a thousand odd gestures;" and then he alludes to the better singing and acting of previous time, "but all sense of fitness is lost," he con­cludes, " when Hercules enters singing a mourn­ful ditty, without cither lion's skin or club."
"With regard to the immovable mask, Ottfried Muller supposes that the picture is overdrawn, for facial expression had far less to do with the action of the drama of that day than we imagine; the character had not so many changing emotions to depict, as in modern plays; he saysf "we can imagine an Orestes, or a Medea, with a set countenance, but never a Hamlet or Tasso."
We must also remember that the vast extent of the Athenian Theatre, made it next to impossible to distinguish much play of feature, and that the same masks were not worn throughout the play, but changed at any great change of emotion. Oed'pus in the tragedy by Sophocles, after misfortune? came upon him, wore a different mask from the r»ne worn in his days of prosperity.
The first plays represented were relative to the history of the gods, and demigods, but Phrynicui
•The lips of t'.ic tragic mask were usually half open. ♦Owli, d. Grieeu, Lit. p. 44






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III