Old Comedy

Topics: Aristophanes, Comedy, Ancient Greek comedy Pages: 4 (1414 words) Published: November 5, 2013
The first period of the ancient Greek comedy is known as Old Comedy. Out of the forty poets who are named as having illustrated the style of Old Comedy in 460-404 B.C. Aristophanes was one of the chiefs, whose works, with their political satire of sexual innuendo, effectively defines the genre today. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Comedy) Also known as the Father of Comedy and the representative of Old Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to have recreated the life of Ancient Athens more convincingly that any other author. (http://www.poemhunter.com/aristophanes/biography/) His genius while it includes, also transcends the genius of Old Comedy. Responsible for creating the foundation of comedic writing, Aristophanes’ comedies were originally performed at religious and civic festivals in the 4th and 5th century in Athens, they are characterized by a topical, obscene style of humour set amid the backdrop of wildly inventive comedic plots. (http://factsanddetails.com/world.php?itemid=1332&subcatid=355) Aristophanes used his protagonists to convey bigger messages whilst the conflict between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ remained at the heart of his Aristophanic humour. Instead of broadcasting a minority view, the poet cleverly exploited the rich and - at times - contradictory ideas of Athenian popular culture for dramatic and ultimately competitive aims. Can any modern equivalents to Aristophanes’ humorous, yet revelatory, style be found today, that can help bridge the comedic gap of nearly two and a half millennia and thus prove that he provided the foundation for the comedy of today? Aristophanes’ works said much about the sensibilities of Aristophanes’ Athenian audiences and what they accepted and appreciated not only theatrically, but also socially, politically, and sexually. Whilst the art of tragedy ceased to develop near the end of the Peloponnesian War upon the death of some of its greatest contenders, comedy thrived at the hands of Aristophanes, a master...
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