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Social Issues in Aristophanes


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Social issues in Aristophanes comedy Introduction Comedy was derived from a Greek word komoidia, which means song. Aristotle argued that comedy was ultimately developed from song. With the introduction of comedy people did not grasp it quickly simply because no one took it seriously. Aristophanes is considered the best playwright of comedies in the classical literary period because of his comedies that are extant. Aristophanes, Eupolis, and Cratinus were among the best playwrights who ancient critics recognized for their literary works. Aristophanes’ plays are the only surviving samples of the literary genre conventionally referred to as old comedy. Old comedies were characteristic of topical issues touching in the society and real personalities. New Comedy transcended topical issues to generalized contexts together with stock characters. The move was because playwrights had internalized the perspectives of the people’s cultures after changes. The Old Comedy, which was a specialty of Aristophanes, had sophisticated and subtle dramatic form that adopted many approaches as far as entertainment and humor was concerned (Silk 78). According to Andreas (92), Aristophanes comedies, which gratify the Old Comedy genre, can be analyzed in three distinct characteristics, namely; festivity, complexity, and topicality. The structure of the play espouses what is known as complexity in the plays of Aristophanes and thus treated differently as a separate section. As far as the comedy plot is concerned, there is the common trait that it connotes the comic poet’s view of the society but not like the tragedies, which were ultimately based on legend and myth. Thematic Content of the Comedy Aristophanes comedy was significantly characterized by comic fantasy. Ideally the plays presented problems in the society and ultimately offered plausible solutions in the most comical

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