GREEK DRAMA: the actors
The actors in ancient tragedies were hired and paid by the state and assigned to the tragic poets probably by lot. By the middle of the fifth century three actors were required for the performance of a tragedy. In descending order of importance of the roles they assumed they were called protagonist ‘first actor’ (a term also applied in modern literary criticism to the central character of a play), Dueteragonist ‘second
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new role in the next episode without any illusion-destroying interruption in the play.
The main duty of an actor was; of course, to speak the dialogue assigned to his characters. This however, was not the only responsibility of the actor. He occasionally had to sing songs solo of with the chorus or with other actors. The combination of acting and singing ability must have been as rare in the ancient world as it is today.