- Created by: Mrlo01
- Created on: 09-06-19 13:39
Aristophanes - An overview
- The father of comedy.
- Born around 446 BC in Aegina but educated in Athens.
- Came across as an old conservative (due to charicatures of Socrates, Cleon, etc.) but was not above taking risks in his plays.
- Prosecuted for slander by Cleon after first two plays - we are unsure of the outcome of this, but it did not stop him from roasting Cleon in future plays.
- It can be inferred that Aristophanes did not play an active role in politics - survived the upheaval that Athens went through in the late half of the 5th century.
What is Old Comedy?
A play that
- Was topical and satirical
- Poked fun at the "celebrities" of the time
- Parodied poetry and songs
- Was unpredictible and embraced the absurd to the point of it being fantastical
- Broke the fourth wall
- Flouted the rules of cause and effect
- Disregarded the rules of space and time
- Had little interest in maintaining dramatic illusions
- Had action and character be inconsistent and not lifelike
- Always engaged with contemporary issues at the highest intellectual level
Typical structure of a comedy
- Parode (Entrance ode)
- Agon (contest)
- Parabasis (coming forward)
- Exode (Exit ode)
Overview of The Archanians
- The earliest surviving play of Aristophanes
- Won first place at the Lenaia festival in 425BC
- The main character, Dikaipolis, hates the war but fails to persuade the other Athenians to consider peace being made
- Obtains a private peace treaty with the Spartans
- Enjoys the benefits of peace in spite of opposition from fellow Athenians and the chorus made up of old men from Akharnai
Criticisms of democracy in The Archanians
- The AMBASSADORS are EASILY FOOLED and LUXURIOUS
- POOR ATTENDANCE and apathy of EKKLESIA - LATENESS
- POLITICIANS = POOR (Thucydides - no good politicians)
- BOULE/PRYTANEIS = SELF-INTERESTED and DON'T LISTEN
General analysis of the scene - The Archanians
- Private peace deal arranged - contrast drawn between treaties that are just a short break from war vs true 30 year one.
- Dicaeoplois' acceptance of this is complicated by opposition of Archanians
- Figures worthy of respect - fought in Marathon and crops destroyed by Spartans in the war
- Dicaepolis' success in explaining position to them (and points he raises cross-examining the generals) - critical in assesing the overall tone of the play.
- Some experts say that in acting in his own self-interest and not worrying about the community, Dicaepolis is not an admirable hero
Overview of Assemblywomen
- Written in 392 BC - after some of the worst defeats and attendence to the Assembly at an all-time low
- A group of women, led by Praxagora, have decided the women of Athens must convince the men to give them control of the city - the women would do a better job
- Disguised as men, the women sneak in to the assembly and command the majority of votes needed to carry out their series of revolutionary proposals
- The play ends with a communist style utopia being put into place by the women
- They all have a big banquet
Criticisms of democracy in Assemblywomen
- Rhetores - INCOMPOTENT and DON'T DO WHAT'S BEST for Athens - "Villains", "pointlessly busying themselves"
- CHANGEABLE policies and approaches - "We would send a fleet", "just like the old days"
- People CHOSE the WRONG LEADERS - "Politician ran off and disappeared"
- Good ATTENDENCE but now ONLY to GET PAID - "Those who try to treat the assembly as a wage-earning job deserve to be put to death"
General analysis of the scene - Assemblywomen
- Praxagora's solution to the failings of democracy is to trust the women - by nature conservative and not keen to change approaches that work
- Proposals are radical and the rest of the play engages with questions of what society would be like if equality was pushed even further
- Whilst the isssues are expressed comedically (here equality also mean no elitism in sex with "ugly" women able to have sex with "handsome" men) they are important issues.
- Aristophanes' true intentions - do we dismiss the scheme because it's so ridiculous? Or is Aristophanes raising some serious issues about the demos' ability to discern the truth?
Aristophanes' plays that focus on the Assemblies
- The Archanians
Aristophanes' plays about the Demagogues and the d
Aristophanes' play about the Demagogues and the la