Tragedy in Acharnians

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"Butcher's Block."

  • Reference to Telephus by Euripedes
  • From the mythological war/story: Telephus snatched Agamemnon’s infant son Orestes and threatened to kill him in turn if the Greeks did not listen to what he had to say. The outcome was that the Greeks agreed to him being cured in exchange for him leading them to the real Troy
  • Telephus makes an anti-war plea to the Greeks and b) it contained dialogue claiming that it was not all the Mysians’ fault: both are similar to what Dikaeopolis is about to do, though we have to replace the Mysians with the Spartans to understand his parodying of the scene properly. Many of those in the audience not having seen the Telephus would perhaps know the legend. 


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"Basket Full of Coals"

  • The coal represents little Orestes in the Telephus, when Telephus threatened to murder him; the link with the Acharnians is that the coal was from Mount Parnes, local to Acharnae and where they got their coal from
  • At this the concerned Acharnians relent and say that they will listen to him. Basic and unfunny as it might appear to us, the joke also reflects the old Acharnians’ loyalty to the ‘comrade’ that is the piece of coal.
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Servant to Euripedes and Dikaiopolis

  • The Servant of Euripides answers the door to Dikaeopolis and informs him that his master is and is not at home, which ridicules Euripides as the serious thinker who is in deep thought but whose mind is somewhere else. 
  • Dikaeopolis says what a clever slave Euripides has, which mirrors Euripides’ reputation for having shrewd lower class characters or slaves in his plays, something others
  • The Servant refuses to let Dikaeopolis enter and shuts the door but he continues to knock until Euripides answers but will not appear, as he says he is too busy. The scene is intended to ridicule Euripides’ seriousness of mind by making him seem full of self-importance
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Servant to Euripedes and Dikaiopolis

  • The Servant of Euripides answers the door to Dikaeopolis and informs him that his master is and is not at home, which ridicules Euripides as the serious thinker who is in deep thought but whose mind is somewhere else. 
  • Dikaeopolis says what a clever slave Euripides has, which mirrors Euripides’ reputation for having shrewd lower class characters or slaves in his plays, something others
  • The Servant refuses to let Dikaeopolis enter and shuts the door but he continues to knock until Euripides answers but will not appear, as he says he is too busy. The scene is intended to ridicule Euripides’ seriousness of mind by making him seem full of self-importance
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Entrance of Euripedes

  • Rolled on Ekkyklema - commonly used in tragedy. Mocks his seriousness of mind.
  • To appeal to the Chorus, says Dikaeopolis, he must appear in rags, so who better to come to than Euripides, who has a collection of rags for his characters. The idea of Euripides having such was plainly ridiculous, but as with the clever servant in Tragedy, the stock joke about Euripides was that he dressed his leading characters, kings or princes, in rags, something the likes of Aeschylus or Sophocles would never have done
  • 'You've renounced use of your legs' - Pokes fun of the characters in Euripedes' plays being cripples and pokes fun of Euripedes laziness
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Dressed Like A Beggar

  • In order to persuade the Chorus to not kill him, Diakoipolis is convinced that he needs to dress like a beggar to gain sympathy.
  • He gains a walking stick
  • Burned basket and lettuce - connected with seeling vegetabels in the agora which is a mockery of Euripedes' mother ‘inherited from her who gave thee birth’
  • Furthermore, he has a walking stick
  • A chipped cup and a cooking pot with a hole in it to prove how much Eurpides relied on poverty in his plays.
  • Old language is used throughout (e.g 'What sayest thou?') to emphasise Euripides' reliance on tragedy.
  • Euripdes becomes insulted by his pursuits to get props and wheeled out by an ekklyklema.
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Dikaiopolis alone and Chorus Interruption before C

  • Dikaeopolis begins to ponder on the impossibility of the task he has undertaken and shudders at the thought of trying to convince the Chorus of Acharnians that the Spartans are not all bad.(e.g Say what you want to say, and then if they want your head, they can have it. Be brave)
  • CHORUS AGAINST DIKAIOPOLIS: The Chorus chip in with an eight line stanza which marvels at the nerve of Dikaeopolis for even trying to convince them that the Spartans have a case – they are waiting for him to fail and lose his life  'Who dare' 'He does not tremble'
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