Two of a Kind
Two of a Kind
“Let each man exercise the art he knows,” The Wasps, 422 B.C. “Comedy is a great vehicle to get into the truth behind politics,” Will Ferrell 2004. Aristophanes and Will Ferrell had strong political opinions and both used political satire in theatre to express their opinions. From the father of Old Comedy to a man who is known for his political impersonations over two-thousand years later; political satire is a form of comedy that has been, and still is, relevant.
Aristophanes wrote plays to express his political opinion. Known to be the fifth century BC, “Father of old comedy.” Aristophanes would write comedies targeting political or historical figures of his day. One target Aristophanes would often criticize in his plays was Cleon; an Athenian general and statesman during The Peloponnesian War who had been an opponent of Pericles. Aristophanes used several of his plays to target Cleon, such as; The Babylonians, The Wasps, and, The Knights. Aristophanes may have even had a personal feud with Cleon after Cleon tried to prosecute the playwright and poet after publicly ridiculing Athenian politicians in his play, “The Babylonians.”
Will Ferrell, a popular, contemporary, comedian of today’s time, has several similarities with Aristophanes. Will Ferrell is known as a comedian who impersonates and makes fun of the former president George W. Bush. Ferrell’s impersonation is a large reason why Ferrell is still so popular today. After goofily impersonating the president for several years on the television show, Saturday Night Live, he took his comedy to the Broadway stage in, You’re Welcome America – A Final Night with George W. Bush. Will Ferrell also looked to expand his credentials by writing and starring in the play. Despite being well known for his George Bush impersonation he also did not agree with the president politically which was benefit in writing the popular play. Will Ferrell explains, “I...
Cited: Walsh, Philip. A Reception: The British Debates over Aristophanes Politics. Oxford Online Journals 2009.
Brantley, Ben. The Comedy of Ineptitude, Political Division. The New York Times. nytimes.com. February 6, 2009.
Bloustein, Jessica. From ancient Greece to the modern day, people in power have been mocked.
Newsweek. September 9, 2008.
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