The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama

By Gregory W. Dobrov | Go to book overview

Notes
1.
Dikaiopolis in Acharnians, the sausage seller in Knights, Trygaios in Peace, Lysistrata in Lysistrata, and Praxagora in Ekklesiazousai.
2.
For a concise survey of current interpretative approaches, see MacDowell 1995, 221-28; for the nineteenth century, see Behaghel1878-79.
3.
So, e.g., Murray 1933, 135-63, and Whitman 1964, 167-99.
4.
Representative examples of allegorical readings are Süvern 1830, Katz 1976, and Vickers 1989; for the workings of true allegory in Aristophanes, see esp. Newiger 1957.
5.
So Konstan above.
6.
For the comic utopia, see esp. Zimmermann 1983, and Konstan above.
7.
"Ambitious" is an important qualification, since Aristophanes entirely spares from ridicule "quiet" and nonambitious members of the elite (for whom see Carter 1986).
8.
For alazoneia, see MacDowell 1990.
9.
For the "Old Oligarch" (writing in the mid 420s), Old Comedy's ridicule of the ambitious elite even helped to enforce democratic rule ([Xen.] Ath. 2.18); Plato was later to express a similar view of drama's institutional role in catering to and reinforcing democratic polity. In general see Henderson 1990, 1993.
10.
As opposed to Aristophanic villains, who typically represent particular individuals or groups.
11.
For the politically ambitious class as a small citizen elite, see in general Carter 1986; Rhodes 1986; Sinclair 1988, 33-34, 136-61; Ober 1989.
12.
For this phenomenon, denounced particularly in Aristophanes' Knights, see Connor 1971; Rhodes 1981, 345.
13.
Like Kleon's typical victim, the rich man who tries to live a quiet life in the Chersonnese ( Knights261-65).
14.
The matrons of the three women's plays play a similar role.
15.
Peisetairos'vision, but also his vocabulary, is distinctly elitist, even oligarchic: 1539-40; cf. Zimmermann 1988, 351.
16.
Zannini Quirini 1987 claims both, reading Nephelokokkugia as an anti-Athens whose absurdity and sinister politics make the actual Athens look good; for critiques see Sommerstein 1989 and Zimmermann 1989.
17.
See the remarks of Reinhardt 1975, 62, for whom irony is a tragic and Socratic mode.
18.
As, e.g., Arrowsmith 1973, Newiger 1983.
19.
In our time we are used to the idea that Thucydides expected readers to sympathize with the Melians, but actually there is nothing in the text to refute the claim of Perry 1937, 427, that "in the Melian Dialogue . . . the folly of the Melians rather than the cruelty of the Athenians is the chief subject of contemplation," nor is there any more reason to take Peisetairos' reference as sinister humor than there is to frown at the starving Megarian jokes in Acharnians.
20.
See Meiggs 1972, 392-96.
21.
See Nilsson 1948, 77-78.
22.
Dunbar 1995, 12-15. The idea (already ancient: Hofmann 1976, 79-90) that Birds is a parody particularly of the myth of the Gigantomachy, with the birds equaling the impious Giants (e.g. Zannini Quirini 1987, 47-87), is too narrow a straitjacket for the play; in addition, the birds resemble the Titans more than the Giants, and the myth's major motif--the battle itself--has no analogue in the play, where the gods are diplomatically outmaneuvered. For a balanced review of the mythical sources, see Dunbar 1995, 7-9.
23.
As for example Hubbard 1991, 158-92, and above.
24.
Athenian irreligiosity versus Peloponnesian piety is one of the major contrasts in Thucydides.

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