The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama

By Gregory W. Dobrov | Go to book overview

JEFFREY HENDERSON
Mass versus Elite and the Comic Heroism of Peisetairos

Peisetairos, the hero of Birds, in some important respects differs typologically from Aristophanes' other five hero(in)es. 1 This essay assesses these differences and their possible significance for the interpretation of the play as a whole. In studying how the comic hero is institutionally and socially determined I respond to the utopian analyses in the first section--especially those of Romer and Hubbard--while placing emphasis on a new feature of the genre, namely how comedy exploits fissures in the social fabric to generate its meaning.

Evaluation of Peisetairos' heroism is complicated by the play's remote setting far from Athens and far from anywhere, and by its hero's detachment from topical concerns. Every play of Aristophanes subordinates topical reality to comic fantasy to some extent, so that any interpretation of its satirical thrust involves determining the extent of that subordination, mainly by applying external controls. The interpretation of Birds has been unusually difficult because of the unusual autonomy of its fantasy. 2 Unlike the other extant plays, Birds contains no debate on any current question of public interest; recommends no reform of current political habits; and advocates no particular policy decisions. The poet forgoes his customary appearance in the parabatic anapaests, and the hero takes great pains to make his bird polis as distant and as distinct from Athens or any other actual polis as can be. Its name will not be Sparta but the fantastic Nephelokokkugia (814-20); its citadel god will not be Athena but a fighting cock (826-36); its prayers will not include the Khians

-135-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 356

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.