The Birds Essay

Topics: Poetry, Comedy, Rhyme Pages: 1 (356 words) Published: December 3, 2013

The birds joyously dance around, singing exaggerated paeans unto Pithetaerus, their sad excuse for a king. They start, what seems to be, an endless rambling frenzy of compliments that feed his growing ego. In Aristophanes’ play, The Birds, a comical scene is illustrated that brilliantly fuses together irony and humor. The use of hyperboles and rhyme shape Aristophanes’ satirical tone, which sends his audience into a state of gasping laughter. Although he uses poetic diction to define Pithetaerus, the choice of words ironically set up a comparison between expectations and reality. The birds take on a comedic role in which their eager, yet blind, submission to Pithetaerus only contradicts his clumsy overstressed actions. The birds describe Pithetaerus as a man who is “all successful more than tongue can tell” (line 1) and his new robes “outshine all the golden lights, that beam from heaven” (lines 24-25). These repetitive uses of hyperboles only evoke laughter once the subject of their amazement prances onto stage. After observing Pithetaerus’ behavior, it is obvious that he is not worthy to obtain the power of Zeus. The rhyming scheme adds an even greater affect to the idea. The birds carefully speak with beautiful poetic language. Such diction, however, only introduces a man who cannot even hold a lightening bolt. After attempting to proclaim his moment as king he “gingerly tosses the thunderbolt away” (lines 39-40). This is the same man who is being presented as a God who can “shake the Earth with his almighty powers” (lines 43-44). In reality, the “the lightning’s angry flashes of fire” frighten Pithetaerus (line 30). The description of the thunderbolt is one of the most powerful images presented by the birds. So powerful that it gives the thunderbolt more strength than Pithetaerus himself. The birds honor their king as “the only man—who never fails” (line 16). This hyperbole once again, contradicts the final image of Pithetaerus ineptly tossing the...
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