There are many theories about the beginning of drama in ancient Greece. The one most widely accepted today is based on the assumption that drama evolved from ritual. The argument for this view goes as follows. In the beginning, human beings viewed the natural forces of the world – even the seasonal changes – as unpredictable, and they sought through various means to control these unknown and feared powers. Those measures which appeared to bring the desired results were then retained and repeated until they hardened into fixed rituals. Eventually stories arose which explained or veiled the mysteries of the rites. As time passed some rituals were abandoned, but the stories, later called myths, persisted and provided material for art and drama.
Those who believe that drama evolved out of ritual also argue that those rites contained the seed of theater because music, dance, masks, and costumes were almost always used. Furthermore, a suitable site had to be provided for performances and when the entire community did not participate, a clear division was usually made between the “acting area” and the “auditorium.” In addition, there were performers, and, since considerable importance was attached to avoiding mistakes in the enactment of rites, religious leaders usually assumed that task. Wearing masks and costumes, they often impersonated other people, animals, or supernatural beings, and mimed the desired effect — success in hunt or battle, the coming rain, the revival of the Sun — as an actor might.
Eventually such dramatic representations were separated from religious activities. Another theory traces the theater’s origin from the human interest in storytelling. According to this view tales (about the hunt, war, or other feats) are gradually elaborated, at first through the use of impersonation, action, and dialogue by a narrator and then through the assumption of each of the roles by a different person. A closely related theory traces theater to those dances that are primarily rhythmical and gymnastic or that are imitations of animal movements and sounds.
戏剧的起源 关于古希腊戏剧的起源存在着多种理论，其中一个最普遍为人接受的理论 假设认为戏剧从仪式演化而来。
这个观点是这样进行论证的：一开始，人类把世界上的自 然力量，甚至季节的变化都看成是不可预料的。他们试图通过各种方式去控制这些未知的、 令人恐惧的力量。 那些似乎带来了满意结果的手段就被保留下来并且重复直到这些手段固 化为不变的仪式，最后产生了能够解释或者掩盖这些仪式神秘性的故事。 随着时间的推移，一些仪式被废弃了，但这些后来被称作神话的故事流传下来并且为艺术和戏剧提供了素材。
最后这些戏剧性的表演从宗教活动中分离了出来。另一个追溯戏剧起源的理论认为它来自人 们对叙述故事的兴趣。 根据这个观点，故事(关于狩猎、战争或者其它伟绩)是逐渐丰富起 来的。 首先通过一个讲解人来运用模仿、表演和对话，然后再由不同的人扮演各自的角色；