Monday, February 28, 2022


ARISTOPHANES (Greek, c. 446-386 BCE)

We have met the three great Greek tragedians; let's meet the "Father of Comedy." Aristophanes was born a decade after  Aeschylus died, but his life overlapped Sophocles and Euripides (surviving them by 20 years). Eleven of his forty plays survive; these were in a style called the "Old Comedy," which largely drew its humor from satirizing public figures. Indeed, Plato singled out one play of Aristophanes, The Clouds, as contributing to the trial and death of Socrates.  Aristophanes's plays include The Clouds, The Birds, and The Frogs; in Lysistrata the women of warring Greek city states withhold sex from their husbands until they make peace.

  • It was said that Aristophanes recreated the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author.
  • The "New Comedy" was more like situation comedy or comedy of manners, focusing more on the everyday Athenian.


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