OK, here’s something I tried today that I thought was really cool.

In my drama class, I asked the students to write down three to five words they associated with each of the Big Three tragedians.  (We’re moving along to Seneca on Wednesday, and I wanted to assess the degree to which they had a sense for what characterized Aeschylean, Sophoclean and Euripidean tragedy.)

After class, I transcribed the words they had come up with, and fed them into wordle.net.  This site creates “word clouds” where repeated words are larger, in proportion to how often they are repeated.  Here are the resulting clouds for the three tragedians: I would argue that they are quite recognizable.

It may help to know the tragedies we read of each author: Aeschylus: Oresteia; Sophocles: Antigone, Oedipus Tyrranos, Philoctetes; Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Herakles, Bacchae.

Here they are — first Aeschylus:


Now Sophocles:

sophoclesand finally Euripides:

euripidesWhat do you think?  Isn’t that a pretty good visual for the differences among the three of them?