Since its primitive stages, humankind has tried to overcome its fear of natural elements using dance and song.
These rites already involved two of the founding elements of theatre: gesture and mime. With the birth of Greek theatre, the space in which the performance took place was born, as was the theatrical performance connected to the text and the playwright. Its social importance is evident if you take into account the care and architectural commitment poured into the construction of theatres, as is the case for the Greek Theatre in Syracuse, and in the creation of ancient costumes and masks .
The nature and history of tragedy are found in previous traditions: epic poetry and lyric poetry, from which derive the expressive tools such as metre, and the content of purely mythological nature.
The theatre experience was a moment when a drama was shared by the whole city and therefore the purpose of the tragedy was not merely spectacular.
The first element of the performance was in fact pain: the suffering of a struggling hero faced with the challenges of his existence was performed.
Another typical element of the plot of tragedy was the character’s deciding moment, faced with two equally painful possibilities, highlighting the concept of humanity’s freedom and its limitations at the same time. The third fundamental element in the development of Greek tragedy was in fact fate: though Greek people appeared to have free will, on the other hand there were external inescapable forces, such as the will of the gods or constraints imposed by the community.
According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle , Greek tragedy produced in its audience a form of purification called catharsis , which could take on a magical, psychological or medical value