Greek Comedy and Lysistrata: Exploring the Roots of Ancient Greek Theater and Culture

Category: Comedy, Oedipus, Tragedy
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
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C/LT 320I: Notes on Greek Comedy and Lysistrata Waters/Fall 2011 this play acts as prophecy- war will destroy Pretext for Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (411 BCE)

Homeric Epics- the bible for the greeks, the Iliad (more concerned with the war-translates as a catastrophe) and the odyssey, everybody looses type of thing, 1200bce, trojan war didn't happen, 1870 AD, Phallic Rituals- create something tall and worship it, masculine virility, ritual celebration, center of orgies and animal sacrifice, every woman has to get pregnant if they can, Dithyramb- chorus, both people and song, groups of farmers and shepards and practice and compete with song and dance, friendly competition, chorus never interacts with the main action- too busy bickering amongst their selves, Satyr Plays- satire- short comic skits done as popular entertainment, variations of themes, goatmen playing songs, structured like a bugs bunny cartoon, seduction songs ( forbidden fruit), satrys always get what they want, mood pieces ( gets people in the "mood") Dionysus- story in spring, athens is greatest city at the time, god to celebrate, god of wine and feasting- the party god, is part human, the god most like us, he is constantly at war with himself, circular, father zeus + mother nymph, comic split- pulled between two worlds, always over does it Peloponnesian War (Athens v. Sparta) 15 years, spartans won, quagmire, end 6 years later with athens losing, alternative to self destruction, Characteristics of Greek Old Comedy

Agon- means the problem, WAR, agonY, active and passive, explicit and inplicit, agon is active in lysistrata, comedy acts as a prophecy, Parabasis- seculusion of the dithyramb, "next to or simile" something like a doctor, basis foundation, parallel basis for pushing it forward, exaggeration variation of the agon of the play, is a point in the play when all of the actors leave the stage and thechorus is left to address the audience directly. The chorus partially or completely abandons its dramatic role to talk to the audience on a topic completely irrelevant to the subject of the play. Episodes- shorter punchier scenes at the end, pays off of initial investment, content gives way to pure form archetype: alazon is the baggard male, macho figure who needs to be brought down by clever servant miles gloriosus- " braggart solider" - boastful soldier, a posturing and self- deceiving boaster or bully igon- clever servant trong woman,

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Alazon- baggard male, macho figure who needs to be brought down by the clever servant Eiron-The modern term irony is derived from the eiron of the classical Greek theatre. Irony is the difference between the actual meaning of a something and the apparent meaning. [4] The eiron would frequently triumph over the alazon by making himself appear less than he actually is. ( the clever servant), Eiron usually succeeds in bringing his braggart opponenet ( alazon) down by making himself seem like less than he actually was Techne/Skene- stage, balconies, things high and above, tall massive backdrop, Orchestra- " pit" dancing place, social dance, costumes, megaphones, refer to paper Comic Effect in Lysistrata

Scatology- humor based on bodily functions, gags that makes us go ew Reification- stereotyping, breaking down human beings into a cartoon, archetypes-caricatures, reification is always negatives, break down to appearance, attitude, things that make people vulnerable, think of lampido, the woman at the end as an object Anachronism- something that breaks us out of time, nobody is reading it in its time it is set, look for the ways translater takes the jokes that applies it to the current audience Anthropomorphism- attribution of human characteristics to non-human things, Early Comic Theory Aristotle, Poetics (ca. 350 BCE): Mimesis- name of the goddess of revenge, "to give what is due" Catharsis- purification or purgation of emotions that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension

Hubris- extreme pride or arrogance, indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence and abilities ( especially when the person is in power) ; arrogance before the gods, defiance of authority after pelponesian war, aristotle- important greek philosopher, poetics- how to tell a story, how to make the relate to life itself, dramatic narrative ( most important, most like us) not narrative or visual, mimesis- imitates life, how does the story imitate experience, we are attracted to the spectacular imitation of life, imitation of the spiritual, how does the play make us think about ourselves, aspiration validation, catharsis- emotional release, taking away the lesson, hubris- defiance of the gods, defying any type of authority, comedy gives us a false sense of liberty,

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