What Are The Most Effective Aspects Of
Aristophanes & # 8217 ; Comic Technique In: Essay, Research Paper
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Aristophanes & # 8217 ; play & # 8220 ; Qesmoforiazogsai & # 8221 ; ( & # 8221 ; The Poet and the Women & # 8221 ; ) is an first-class comedy. Standing the trial of clip and the frequently diminishing procedure of interlingual rendition into English it remains diverting today merely as it undoubtedly was to its original Athenian audience. It is a well-controlled comedy with a fluent secret plan, striking duologue and intelligent word picture. But above all it passes the cardinal trial of its genre in that it is amusing. Aristophanes employs a rich and diverse array of amusing techniques and devices to forestall the drama from of all time traveling stale ; some are satirical ; some are obscene ; some are ocular, for it is of import to retrieve that & # 8220 ; The Poet and the Women & # 8221 ; is a drama and hence meant for public presentation to a unrecorded audience. & # 8220 ; The Poet and the Women & # 8221 ; , to utilize a modern term, is basically a state of affairs comedy. Much of the temper comes from the unbelievable and eccentric state of affairss into which the supporters are delivered. Making an amusive state of affairs, out of which comes the other temper, provides the anchor for the comedy. It is indispensable that the most amusive events occur to the most humourous character and the Old Man & # 8217 ; s ( 1 ) response and reaction to the quandary in which he finds himself is the pillar of the comedy. The comedy of Aristophanes is on several degrees. Of the higher, more rational techniques that he employs is the lampoon of Euripides. The dramatist efforts to conceive of how the great contrived devices of Euripides & # 8217 ; tragic heroes would work in another context. Of class the state of affairss Aristophanes creates for his & # 8216 ; heroes & # 8217 ; are every bit contrived but for amusing consequence. The peculiar scenes which Aristophanes lampoons add to the temper content. That Helen, the most beautiful person of the ancient universe, should be mimicked by the Old Man, slackly disguised as an old adult female, is pathetic and hence amusing. That Euripides is non recognised when he appears as Meneleus by the really people who have been cabaling against him adds further to the amusement. The hopelessness of their futile efforts to utilize this dramatic device to liberate the Old Man is revealed in the duologue. It is clear from the beginning that they are non gulling anyone. Third WOMAN: You mustn & # 8217 ; t believe a word he says: I tell you he & # 8217 ; s speaking bunk. This is the Thesmophorion- you are in Athens EURIPIDES: Is Proteus now at place or is he out? Third WOMAN: You must be enduring from mal de mer. I keep stating you, Proteus is dead. ( page131 ) ( 2 ) Of class it is merely as amusing when they do gull person, the Scythian, with the lampoon of the Echo scene in the now lost Euripides drama Andromeda. Again the Old Man is cast as a maiden, wholly incongruous with his ain character or the presented himself as at the assembly. Still the program ends in failure because the Scythian utilizations brute force as his defense mechanism against Euripides & # 8217 ; hocus-pocuss. The lampoons of Euripides dramas are basically the raison vitamin D & # 8217 ; etre of the drama. We should retrieve that they would be more amusing to the original Athenian audience than to the modern twenty-four hours reader since the comedy was merely performed after the trilogy of calamities so the audience would be instantly familiar with the state of affairss upon which the burlesques are based. Two of the dramas Aristophanes lampoons, Andromeda and Helen, were merely produced at the Dionysia the old twelvemonth, 412 BC, so the plot lines would be comparatively fresh in the audience & # 8217 ; s heads. The first lampoon of a drama, & # 8221 ; Telephus & # 8221 ; , in The Poet and the Women is one of the funniest scenes in the drama when the Old Man snatches the & # 8216 ; babe & # 8217 ; which turns out to be a tegument of vino. This is amusing because although it is the Old Man who creates the lampoon by prehending the package it is the adult females who maintain the absurdity by claiming that it is a babe. Even when the poke is stabbed they continue the pretension: First Woman: My kid, my kid! Quick Manya, the bowl- at least I & # 8217 ; ll catch my babe & # 8217 ; s blood. ( page125 ) The lampoons are without uncertainty one of the most effectual amusing techniques used in the drama by Aristophanes. But there are others besides which contribute to the overall amusing consequence of the drama. Another facet which relates closely to the state of affairs comedy subject is the impression of temper being derived from another individual & # 8217 ; s bad luck. The scenes in which the Old Man and Euripides appear are tantamount to 1s which were tragic for characters in other dramas. But by doing the state of affairs pathetic, puting a amusing character in the quandary and by composing into the secret plan some thought that the characters have brought this bad luck upon themselves creates a amusing state of affairs. ( & # 8221 ; Well this is a all right muss I & # 8217 ; ve got myself into & # 8221 ; . : Old Man page122 ) . For the Old Man the catalogue of misfortune gets worse, get downing with a singeing, being caught out and tied up and guarded over by a Scythian hood. Given that comedy relies upon the bizarre and the unusual, the reversal of traditional functions gives broad range for amusing effects. The most obvious illustration of this is the Old Man who dresses up as a adult female in order to mask himself at the Thesmophoria. However there are other illustrations such as Agathon who cross frocks in order to & # 8220 ; unify his whole personality into what he is depicting & # 8221 ; . ( page105 ) The effeminate Cleisthenes is besides a amusing character because he is accepted into the adult females & # 8217 ; s assembly where work forces are purely out and has, hence, in a sense, taken on the function of an honorary adult female. Further to this is the stance of the adult females themselves following a place of high quality which belies their existent position in Athenian society. Aristophanes mocks them for believing they can organize an assembly every bit efficient as the work forces. As the audience would hold consisted largely of work forces this would no doubt hold been a popular capable affair for a comedy. There are besides function reversals in the gap scenes as the Old Man and Euripides meet Agathon & # 8217 ; s retainer. The servant refers to the Old Man as an & # 8220 ; ill bred provincial & # 8221 ; and says that he must hold been & # 8220 ; a really ill-mannered small male child & # 8221 ; . ( page102 ) There is sarcasm in the fact that one in servitude should notice on the genteelness of a citizen and it is likely for amusing consequence that the servant references Euripides & # 8217 ; comrade in such a derogative manner. The function reversals are hence one of the comedian techniques which Aristophanes uses most efficaciously in the drama. The usage of traditional stereotypes is a common amusing technique in order to assist the audience to associate to the comedy and Aristophanes besides uses it to great consequence. Euripides, the celebrated pla
ywright, is portrayed as aloof, superior and rational: Euripides: You can’t speak about hearing things that you are traveling to see……… . …….Oh, I can learn you any figure of things like that. ( page100 ) The Old Man is the archetypical ‘dirty old man’ : vulgar, impolite and ever with something to state: Servant: …….he casteth it – OLD Man: And stuffeth it up his buttocks. ( page102 ) The Scythian Guard is besides a stereotype. The Scythians, who came from the part North of the Black Sea, were traditionally known for being wild, artless and tough. In the Penguin Classics English interlingual rendition by David Barrett the Scythian is portrayed as Italianesque, talking broken English. Barrett does non explicate why he uses this word picture and I am non convinced that it conveys the stereotype every bit good as the original may hold done. But clearly the most important stereotype is that of the adult females. Aristophanes portrays adult females as pranksters, fornicators and rummies. The Old Man is used as the vehicle to assail them for this in his reference to the assembly: “Why choice on Euripides” he asks, “he’s done nil worse than we have” . ( page116 ) Women’s love of drink is referred a figure of times, one time with the ‘baby’ snaping lampoon and once more when the Old Man is quizzed about assembly process: First WOMAN: Now tell me: what holy ceremonial came foremost? OLD Man: Why, we drank. FIRST WOMAN: Right and what did we make after that? OLD Man: We drank some more. FIRST WOMAN: Someone’s been stating you! ( page120 ) Aristophanes portraiture of adult females, to an audience of largely Athenian work forces would no uncertainty be extremely diverting. The chorus speaks up in defense mechanism of the adult females and claims that they are better than work forces in that all the felons and such are work forces, and makes the point that work forces still crave after adult females, and still get married in malice of the mistakes which they are claimed to hold. However even this is likely meant to be dry or amusing in some manner, and even if it is non it would likely be viewed that manner however by the modern-day audience. Apart from simply the secret plan and the characters there was a great trade of range for amusing technique in ocular effects. Although phase waies would non hold appeared in the original manuscript and would hold been left for the squad of performing artists to invent, there is a great trade written into the text which would hold prompted amusing phase waies. I have already discussed the cross dressing but this would non hold had the maximal ocular amusing consequence as it might hold today since there were no adult females histrions and so even the female parts were played by work forces. However the usage of obscene devices such as the Phallus was common in Grecian comedy and would about surely been used for the singeing scene and the “shuttle across the Ithsmus” ( page121 ) scene. This is a really low, monstrous signifier of comedy which has ever been effectual in this genre. Further range for ocular temper comes in the scene which parodies Andromeda ; Euripides is portraying Perseus who has winged sandals. Hence there is a demand for him to wing. Here the histrions would utilize a Crane like device to swing them onto the phase. Given that this is a lampoon and a amusing scene, the velocity could be adjusted, as Barrett’s phase waies suggest for maximal amusing consequence. Hence we can see that although Aristophanes did non invent the phase waies himself, he did ever bear in head the ocular consequence of the drama and wrote into the text considerable proviso for ocular comedy. There is really small topical or political sarcasm in the drama due to the restraints of the capable affair although there is a little sum in the Chorus’ defense mechanism of the female gender: “Have you heard of a adult female who’d bargain from the State to the melody of a million or so, / And drive it off in a beating great camion, like one politician I know? ” ( page128 ) .There is besides usage of considerable insinuation such as when the retainer says to the Old Man “You must hold been a really ill-mannered small boy- when you were a small boy” ( page102 ) .There are satirical mentions to fabulous characters such as when Agathon negotiations about his entire committedness to character authorship and the Old Man replies “what an draining clip you must hold when you are composing about Phaedra” ( page105 ) . There are besides, of class, the low, obscene duologues, largely from the Old Man: Old Man: Oh, what a lover! -up against the bay tree, with my other arm around the statue of Apollo…….. [ of the babe ] ……the image of his Dad, even down to his cherished small wiggle waggle- the really same crick about half manner along. ( page116 ) These are some of the less utmost illustrations which show that Aristophanes is non for the easy offended. All of the facets mentioned above are used intermittently adding to the lampoon, the imitations, the phantasy, the function reversals and the state of affairs comedy to supply the drama with a diverse scope of amusing techniques. Right at the terminal of the drama comes the amusing turn as Euripides is forced to utilize simple capitulation when all his programs have failed. Surprisingly the adult females so assist him by throwing the Scythian off their trail. This diverting turn ends the drama as it started, with a gag. Humour is a subjective construct and it is hard to state which facets of Aristophanes’ amusing technique are most effectual in this drama beyond stating that, owing to the broad diverseness of temper, there is something for everybody to laugh at. In decision, nevertheless, whilst we can look up to Aristophanes for his literary ability, for the characters he has created, for the amusing state of affairss he has portrayed, and for the astringent lampoons he has effected, the facets of comedy which normally get the biggest laughs, and which in The Poet and the Women have best stood the trial of clip, are the lowest facets, the grotesque, the obscene and the slapstick. These are the facets which leave the strongest feeling holding read the drama, and I imagine, with all the ocular effects which I have mentioned, the feeling would be every bit strong after watching a public presentation of the drama. That the chief character, the Old Man, who is invariably in the action, is so dependent on these signifiers of comedy, underlines their importance as a amusing technique. END NOTES 1. Due to some academic difference as to whether Euripides’ aged relation should be called “Mnesilochus” I have referred to this character as “Old Man” throughout. 2. All page mentions are from the undermentioned interlingual rendition of “The Poet and the Women” . Aristophanes ; THE WASPS ; THE POET AND THE WOMEN ; THE FROGS ; translated by David Barrett ; ( Penguin Classics 1964 ) .