ancient comedy lecture 6 (123-214-35-4-1's conflicted copy 2013-09-18)

Ancient comedy lecture 6 (123-214-35-4-1's conflicted copy 2013-09-18)

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Lecture 6 Background and Structure of the CLOUDS
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SOCRATES
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Clouds 423 BCE placed 3 rd in City Dionysia Aristophanes very upset: considered Clouds his finest comedy to date had ‘twitted’ Kratinos (who took first place) as a decaying drunken talent revised play (hoping for second hearing?) our version in not the original of 423 BCE thorough revision: three sections changed greatly parabasis, agon, and the burning of the Thinkery last stage of genre of true Old Comedy
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parabasis : now in a unique meter (perhaps had no expectation of seeing play restaged) Aristophanes takes the mask from the chorus and speaks to readers (audience) directly in first person agon: the addition of the famous and passionate defence of ‘Old Education’ stakes are high: fate and future of civilized Athens finale: perhaps in original play god Hermes rather than Strepsiades sets fire to the Thinkery masterpiece of wonderful, ragging satire so preposterous effect is unmistakably completely comic cleverest, if not funniest play written by Aristophanes
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cleverest, if not funniest play written by Aristophanes beautifully shaped by Aristophanes’ genius for comic distortion and cunning ingenuity slapstick of intellect horseplay of poetry and imagination tight and coherent for comedy action all of a piece continuously unfolding plot exquisite tension between slapstick and poetry, the obscene and the sublime
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Background and Structure plague has come and gone Peloponnesian invasions suspended reverses on land: money beginning to be tight no conception yet of defeat on land/sea changing sociey Sophists teach young men: some are frauds, and exploit their clients Socrates does not have a school (‘Thinkery’) effects of play may have had impact of the future trial and conviction of Socrates
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Character of the play unusual protagonist: stupid, excitable, not resourceful, never in control of situation, pitiable ends with revenge on school
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