The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama

By Gregory W. Dobrov | Go to book overview

F. E. ROMER


Good Intentions and the ὁδὸς ἡ ἐς κόρακας

I

Aristophanes constructed Nephelokokkugia in the developing context of pre-utopian myths and proto-utopian literature as they existed in the intellectual life at the end of the fifth century. 1' He pondered the problem of human perfectibility and explored an ideal "no place"--where human nature (albeit in a very Athenian guise) might run its natural course. First, Aristophanes inverted the evolutionary trend of fifth-century anthropology (cf. Anaxagoras and Demokritos) 2, which held that human beings, by virtue of their intellect, had evolved from a primitive state of animality (θηριώδης βίος as Demokritos apparently put it: 68B5 D.-K.). 3 Second, he had reaffirmed the idea that human life is somehow cyclical, that, however much things change, they return to something very like their original condition, that the new is old. Returning to origins in order to start again provides a key theme in Birds and raises suspicions about the play's outcome. I hope in this essay both to provoke and to engender discussion about the implications of this cyclicality for interpreting the play as a whole. Illusion and reality are never what they seem in Birds: "a human being always is, in fact, by nature a tricky critter in every way" (

451-52), and humans are also enemies by nature to birds (τὴν φύσιν μὲν ἐχθροί 371; cf. also 334-35).

In this comedy, two disaffected Athenians searching for a happier home and a better world ultimately found a new city among the birds. Peisetairos and Euelpides bring with them the generic paraphernalia with which to conduct a

-51-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 356

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.