Education And Entertainment
Both entertainment and education have been integrals parts of the human
experience since the beginnings of time. Many scholars insist that the two
institutions often serve jointly, with entertainers and entertainment serving as
a main source of education. There is little argument, then, that in addition to
generally appealing to the masses, entertainers have regularly fulfilled the
role of a teacher to typically unsuspecting audiences. Entertainers have served
as educators throughout history, from the origins of oral narratives through the

Middle Ages. The earliest forms of unwritten communication were essentially used
to spread knowledge from one source to another. Religious disciplines were the
first information passed from person to person through entertainment. In the
third century B.C., Buddhist monks tried to win converts outside India through
the use of theater and song (Bur*censored* 97). They taught the precepts of

Siddhartha and Buddha in such theatrical epics as Ramayana and Mahabharata,
setting exacting rules for theater performance in the process (Bur*censored*

99). Similarly, Irish monks established singing schools, which taught uniform
use of music throughout the church (Young 31). Through chants which were all the
same, they spread identical teachings. Christian psalms and hymns in Apostolic
times were sung to spread the knowledge and faith of Christianity. In fact,

Christianity was promoted from the start by music. Churches were for long the
only centers of learning, with monks teaching all lessons through music (Young

39). Through the use of sacred music, monks and clergy successfully spread the
teachings of their religions in a practical manner. Entertainers used the
theater as a place to tell the stories of the day, both fictional and topical.

The African oral tradition was rich in folk tales, myths, riddles, and proverbs,
serving a religious, social, and economic function (Lindfors 1). Likewise, Asian
actors covered their faces with masks in order to act out a scandal of the day
without the audience knowing who was passing along the gossip (Archer 76).

European puppets were another medium which permitted entertainers to spread
current gossip without revealing the identity of the storyteller (Speaight 16).

The theatrical productions of the Greeks further explored the use of theater as
an instructional tool. Because the theater provided such a diverse forum for
expression, stage actors and playwrights consistantly utilized this locale to
eduate the general public. Oral communication was widely used to educate society
about morals and basic truths. The most highly developed theoretical discussions
from ancient times were those of he Greeks, who passed on this knowledge through
music and stories. Homer, the eighth-century B.C. poet, court singer, and
storyteller, embodied ideal Greek morals and heroic conduct in his spoken epic,

The Iliad (Beye 1). Homer and other poets used qualities not found in written
language to make the memorization of their works easier so their sagas could be
repeated for generations (Edwards 1). African tribes people and Native Americans
also instilled morals and lessons to their communities through stories and
fables (Edwards 1). These oral narratives were soon after recorded on paper as
early forms of literature became prevalent. Many of the thoughts previously
expressed through oral communication only could now be recorded for the future
as writing became wide-spread. The era of writing began with Chinese literature
more than 3,500 years ago, as the Chinese recorded tales on oracle bones (Mair

1). The Greeks, however, were the first known civilization to translate their
oral history into writing (Henderson 1). While the earliest Greek literature was
produced by the Indo-Europeans in 2,000 B.C., the most essential works began in

Ionia with the epics of Homer in the eighth century B.C. (Henderson 7). This
oral poetry is the foundation of Greek literature, and epic poetry such as

Boetianıs Hesiod explored the poetıs role as a social and religious teacher
(Henderson 8). These written works clearly informed those who read them, but
were not as successful in educating the masses as the Greek dramas. Any spoken
works that were especially significant could now be transcribed for posterity
and future use. Greek plays were also recorded on paper beginning around 500

B.C., reflecting issues of the day and entertaining audiences concurrently. The
tragedies of Euripides reflect political, social, and intellectual crisis. Plays
such as The Bacchae reflect the dissolution of common values of the time, while
other works criticized traditional religion or represented mythical figures as
unheroic (Segal 1). Each Greek drama was similarly structured: problems were ³presented
by the chorus, and resolved in purely conventional--but always instructive--ways²
(Bur*censored* 18). Topical comedies reflected the heroic spirit, and problems
facing Greek society during times of great change (Henderson 2). Meanwhile, the
dramas of Socrates spoke about ethical and moral