Download Aristophanes And His Theatre of the Absurd by Paul Cartledge PDF

Download Aristophanes And His Theatre of the Absurd by Paul Cartledge PDF

By Paul Cartledge

Aristophanes, the Athenian comedian dramatist, is still well known regardless of ancient alterations in perspective and trust. putting the performs of their overall civic, spiritual and dramatic context, this account explores their value for modern audiences, and their carrying on with charm. Separate chapters deal with facets of his paintings and global, and try and define the playwright's personal reviews at a time of extreme political debate. With unique texts quoted in translation this finished and vigorous examine will supply scholars with a useful perception into the performs and their position in classical Athens.

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Example text

Their reason? Euripides' grossly unfavourable representation of legendary women in his tragedies, which has given all women a bad name. Euripides' first wheeze is to try, with the aid of his Relative, to persuade another tragic poet, Agathon, to smuggle himself in drag into the women's assembly so as to put the case for Euripides' defence. At one theatrical stroke Aristophanes has allowed himself to swipe at Euripides' alleged misogyny and Agathon's alleged effeminacy, to parody both their tragic styles and tragic drama as such, and to set up the beguilingly authentic impossibility of an encounter between a male actor playing an effeminate male tragedian in drag and a Chorus of male actors impersonating women in a supposedly secret, Aristophanes'Idea of the Theatre 17 nlv religious ritual in front of a possibly all-male (though not i?

And they point to the unusual consistency with which (so they claim) the character of the eponymous heroine is drawn, and to the apparent gravity of the lengthy agon-speeches of hers which substitute in this play for a choral parabasis, as evidence for their view that Aristophanes was criticising the artificiality and harmful effects of traditional Greek male values. To put this important difference of opinion into proper perspective we must enlarge our vision to embrace the other surviving play of female intrusion.

Many problems, however, both theoretical and practical, remain. Is there a 'history of women', that is of women separate from and as opposed to men? Even if such a history might be conceivable or desirable theoretically, can it be put into practice with the evidence available? Since in the case of women at Athens the relevant evidence was written or otherwise produced almost entirely by and for men, is it possible to reconstruct and comprehend anything of women's lives behind and beyond the images of them (possibly idealised or in other ways distorted) constructed by men for male consumption?

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