Lastly this paper will look into the different institutions and beliefs that are being lampooned in these two historical works. What was considered funny in classical Greece was most likely not the same as what the majority of people in medieval times considered funny. Greek comedy focused on criticizing current politicians or undermining intellects such as the sophists, Socrates in particular as seen in The Clouds. Aristotelian made the crowd laugh by delivering the simple message that the sophists were corrupting youth and undermining traditional Athenian beliefs.
The crowd was able to laugh because Aristotelian filled his play and characters with situations and traits common to that era such as debt. Profanity was also used a lot and since Greek comedy arose around the same time as radical democracy did they were able to have more freedom of speech and could rant about all the politicians and leaders. This is similar to the medieval story Wisenheimer which seemed to lampoon the corrupt monks of the roman clergy and greed; this is evident when Wisenheimer is referred to as a “wicked monk” . Wisenheimer was a wolf who constantly lied about being a priest ND a doctor to try and deceive the king.
This is similar to the Greek style of comedy in which an institution or authoritative figure is being satirized in a comical way in order to relay a message to the public. However, Greek comedy did focus more on the politics and Intellects as seen through out The Clouds, since the story focuses on Socrates and the sophists and portrays them with wacky characteristics and lines. Aristotelian wrote The Clouds in a theatrical form so that it could performed in front of an audience and take full advantage of the times arresting freedom of beech.
However, Wisenheimer was written as a series of poems. The use of poetry in medieval society most likely stems form the fact that poetry was already popular and was the prominent way to relate a message and reach an audience. The poem Wisenheimer was comical because it used animals to represent the different characters that were being satirized such as Wisenheimer himself who portrays the Roman Catholic Church specifically a monk. Wolves are constantly used to represent evil corruption in even today’s stories and cartoons such as The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood.
Medieval times gave rise to many more uses for reading and writing especially in understanding religion which meant that many more people of different classes were able to read and/or write . This is probably why poetry was a good way to tell a story since there wasn’t the need for everything to be passed on orally to an audience. All in all, comedy has been used through out history and remains an important function in our society today. Comedy is constantly changing and will do so for as long as it is around.
The two time periods which we have compared and contrasted elected works from for this paper are both similar and different in many different ways. They used comedy for laughter, to satirized, and to relay important messages and popular beliefs. This is evident through out both works. This paper has shown some of the main differences and similarities in the form, satires, and uses of comedy in Orchestration’s The Clouds and the medieval poem Wisenheimer. However studying these comical works with an open mind allows us to use it as a primary source giving us insight into some of the problems, customs, and beliefs of these two time periods.