CL20Lec7TermPlautus - Laughing at Plautus Roman Comedy...

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Laughing at Plautus: Roman Comedy Origins of Ancient Comedy komos – festival with processions and songs in honor of a god (Dionysus) Aristotle ( Poetics 1449 a 10) “from the prelude to the phallic songs” “music, drinking, and sex” Attic Old Comedy (two annual civic festivals – City Dionysia and Lenaea) Aristophanes (ca. 455-385 B.C.E .) Athenian 11 plays extant ( Peace, Knights ) satire of politicians (Cleon); philosophers (Socrates); playwrights (Euripides) chorus often fantastic ( Birds, Wasps, Frogs, Clouds, and Lysistrata ) Greek New Comedy – Hellenistic cosmopolitan world (death of Alexander) Menander (ca. 344-292 B.C.E .) leading writer, more than 100 plays papyri discoveries; complete play ( Dyskolos ), remains of others ( Samia ) Conventions of Greek New Comedy Setting (Athens), Stage (two or three houses) and Plot (domestic life) cultural realities of Hellenistic world conflict in comic drama: (1) generational; (2) gender; and (3) social stock characters young man ( adulescens ), old man ( senex ), male slave ( servus ) young woman ( virgo ), old woman ( matrona
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