An introduction to the life of aristophanes

The action of an Aristophanic play obeyed a crazy logic of its own and yet it always unfolded within a formal, dramatic structure that was repeated with minor variations from one play to another. Aristophanes repeatedly savages Cleon in his later plays.

It is possible, as indicated earlier, that Aristophanes mocked his own baldness. Athens, Greece Greek writer Aristophanes was the greatest of the writers of the original Greek comedy, which flourished in Athens in the fifth century B. The City Dionysia was overseen by the archon eponymous and the priest of Dionysus.

This, in summary, is the setup for Assemblywomen. She then explains the pity she feels for young, childless women, ageing at home while the men are away on endless campaigns. Frogs in fact won the unique distinction of a repeat performance at a subsequent festival.

The Acharnians Acharnians, Aristophanes - Essay

The women are very reluctant, but the deal is sealed with a solemn oath around a wine bowl, Lysistrata choosing the words and Calonice repeating them on behalf of the other women. It soon became apparent, though, that unlike impiety there was no legal redress for slander in a play, and the court case certainly did not stop Aristophanes from repeatedly savaging and caricaturing Cleon in his later plays.

These are lyrics in a variety of meters, sung by the Chorus in the first parabasis as an invocation to the gods and as a comic interlude in the second parabasis.

For Aristophanes' contemporaries the works of Homer and Hesiod formed the cornerstones of Hellenic history and culture. The original play was neither feminist nor unreservedly pacifist. Gods, artists, politicians and ordinary citizens were legitimate targets, comedy was a kind of licensed buffoonery, [] and there was no legal redress for anyone who was slandered in a play.

An elaborate series of lotteries, designed to prevent prejudice and corruption, reduced the voting judges at the City Dionysia to just five. Oblique references in later plays suggest that he was probably born around or BCE, possibly the son of a man named Philippos from the island of Aegina, although he was almost certainly educated in Athens.

Old Comedy was a highly topical genre and the playwright expected his audience to be familiar with local identities and issues. But then he encounters more people who have a bone to pick with Heracles, so Dionysus quickly trades clothes with Xanthias yet again.

As far as we know, Aristophanes was victorious only once at the City Dionysia, although he also won the less prestigious Lenaia competition at least three times.

His writings also suggest a strong knowledge of the latest philosophical theories.

Interesting Literature

He is represented as suffering an attack of hiccoughs and this might be a humorous reference to the crude physical jokes in his plays. The holiday spirit might also have been responsible for an aspect of the comic plot that can seem bewildering to modern audiences.

In The Acharnians, for example, The Pnyx is just a few steps from the hero's front door, and in Peace Olympus is separated from Athens by a few moments' supposed flight on a dung beetle.


Consistent with the holiday spirit, much of the humour in Old Comedy is slapstick buffoonery and dirty jokes that do not require the audience's careful attention, often relying on visual cues.

Meanwhile the Spartans burned the crops of Athens. Almost nothing is known about the music that accompanied Greek lyrics, and the meter is often so varied and complex that it is difficult for modern readers or audiences to get a feel for the intended effects, yet Aristophanes still impresses with the charm and simplicity of his lyrics.

The Old Women complain about the difficulty they had getting the water, but they are ready for a fight in defense of their younger comrades. The dramatic poet receives two brief mentions here, in each case by the Old Men with approval as a misogynist.

Parabasis[ edit ] The parabasis is an address to the audience by the chorus or chorus leader while the actors leave or have left the stage. The Acharnians opens with these three lines by the hero, Dikaiopolis rendered here in English as iambic pentameters: The result is a play which does what drama does best: Biographical Information Aristophanes was born around b.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. From his caricatures of the leading figures in the arts notably Euripidesin politics especially the dictator Cleonand in philosophy and religion Socrateshe often gives the impression of being something of an old-fashioned conservative, and his plays often espouse opposition to the radical new influences in Athenian society.

Many of the puns in the plays are based on words that are similar rather than identical, and it has been observed that there could be more of them than scholars have yet been able to identify.

Having negotiated privately with their hated enemy, Amphitheos has enraged some men from the village of Acharnai, who are in hot pursuit. Women should have all the power in Athens, all property should be held communally, and there should be complete sexual liberation, with people free to go to bed with whomever they choose.

Aristophanes and Athens: An Introduction to the Plays

In retaliation Kleon brought charges against Aristophanes, telling the council that the playwright had maliciously ridiculed them and, further, questioned Aristophanes's ties with the island of Aigina, thereby casting doubt on his Athenian citizenship.

An Athenian commander, mentioned here by Lysistrata in connection with the Spartan king Pericleides who had once requested and obtained Athenian help in putting down a revolt by helots. The syntax in the original Greek is natural and unforced and it was probably accompanied by brisk and cheerful music, gliding to a concluding pun at the expense of Amynias, who is thought to have lost his fortune gambling.

Festivity[ edit ] The Lenaia and City Dionysia were religious festivals, but they resembled a gala rather than a church service. An Athenian pimp and a prostitute, [39] mentioned briefly to illustrate sexual desire. Money was essential, which meant that roughly all of the pupils studying with the sophists came from upper-class backgrounds and excluded the rest of the polis.The following entry presents criticism of Aristophanes's Archarnians ( b.c.) For more information on Aristophanes's life and career, see CMLC, Volume 4.

The Acharnians was the third play.


Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for The Frogs [with Biographical Introduction] at Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Also known as "the Father of Comedy" and "the Prince of Ancient Comedy", Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author.

His Aristophanes and Athens: An Introduction to the Plays. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Died: c. BC, Delphi. Aristophanes used beautiful rhythmic poetry as the format for all of his comedy. He had a way of shrinking the self-importance of people involved in politics, social life, and literature, but above all he used his unlimited amount of comic invention and high spirits.

On the one hand Aristophanes's comedy "The Frogs" is a farce, but it is of more interest because it presents the earliest known example of dramatic criticism. Presented in B.C., the play tells of how Dionysus, the god of drama, had to go to Hades to fetch back Euripides, who died the previous year, because Athens no longer had any great tragic poets agronumericus.coms: 3.

Jan 01,  · A great introduction to the aristophanic comedies. Not only one can find a general introduction to the world of the ancient theatre but a very neat guide to each of the comedies. A highly recommendable book to all who want learn or refresh their knowledge on Aristophanes/5.

An introduction to the life of aristophanes
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