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By Aristophanes

This new verse translation of Aristophanes' comedies deals one of many world's nice comedian dramatists in a sort that's either traditionally trustworthy and theatrically energetic. Aristophanes' performs have been produced for the competition theater of classical Athens within the 5th century BC and surround the complete gamut of humor, from brilliantly artistic myth to obscene vulgarity. This version features a great normal creation and introductory essays for every of the performs, in addition to complete explanatory notes and an index of names.

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Extra info for Birds and Other Plays (Oxford World's Classics)

Example text

But very often nothing like this is feasible. 59 As already explained, the same principle has been largely applied to the historical and topical elements which embed the plays in their time and place. Yet there remain difficult linguistic choices to face, which can be illustrated by the constrasting problems of oaths and dialects. The use of oaths is ubiquitous in Aristophanes’ plays. The main reason for this is undoubtedly that they were a general feature of Attic speech at all levels. Many of them, such as the commonest of all (‘by Zeus’), functioned as little more than expletives or exclamations.

For a long time after the Renaissance the extremes of this disagreement were posed chiefly in moral terms, with Aristophanes regarded either as a shameless, indiscriminate jester or as a moral, didactic chastiser of reprobates. The play most often treated as a test case in this debate was Clouds, where the question at issue was whether Aristophanes had wantonly attacked the blameless Sokrates, or had perhaps used the figure of Sokrates as a means of exposing the subversive fraudulence of very different types of intellectuals, especially the Sophists.

Strepsiades in Clouds is also from a rural background, but both his utter immorality and the distinctive nature of his marriage to an aristocratic woman give his case a special slant. In Knights, on the other hand, the ‘hero’ is a sausage-seller who can only represent a class of low urban workers, if he represents anything at all; yet the momentum of the allegorical satire, particularly in the later stages, makes him apparently a figure with whom the audience is invited to ‘sympathize’. 24 But his salient features are old age and disillusionment with Athenian litigiousness; it is hard to see that this makes him ‘identifiable’ in class terms for an audience.

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