Differences between Greek Old and New Comedy. Greek theatre. Click anywhere inside the article to add text or insert superscripts, subscripts, and special characters.
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Athens’ defeat in the Peloponnesian War signaled the end of Old Comedy, because a sense of disillusionment with the heroes and gods who had played a prominent role in Old Comedy became marked. Middle Comedy. Greek drama. New Comedy, Greek drama from about 320 bc to the mid-3rd century bc that offers a mildly satiric view of contemporary Athenian society, especially in its familiar and domestic aspects.
Unlike Old Comedy, which parodied public figures and events, New Comedy features fictional average citizens and has no supernatural or heroic overtones. Thus, the chorus, the representative of forces larger than life, recedes in importance and becomes a small band of musicians and dancers who periodically provide light entertainment. The plays commonly deal with the conventionalized situation of thwarted lovers and contain such stock characters as the cunning slave, the wily merchant, the boastful soldier, and the cruel father. One of the lovers is usually a foundling, the discovery of whose true birth and identity makes marriage possible in the end. Menander introduced the New Comedy in his works about 320 bc and became its most famous exponent, writing in a quiet, witty style.
Greek Comedy. Greek comedy was a popular and influential form of theatre performed across ancient Greece from the 6th century BCE.
The most famous playwrights of the genre were Aristophanes and Menander and their works, and those of their contemporaries, poked fun at politicians, philosophers, and fellow artists. In addition to maintaining their comic touch, the plays also give an indirect but invaluable insight into Greek society in general and provide details on the workings of political institutions, legal systems, religious practices, education, and warfare in the Hellenic world. Uniquely, the plays also reveal to us something of the identity of the audience and show just what tickled the Greeks' sense of humour. Finally, Greek comedy and its immediate predecessor Greek tragedy would together form the foundation upon which all modern theatre is based. The Origins of Comedy Plays A Comedy Play Although innovations occurred, a comedy play followed a conventional structure. Ancient Greek Comedy. Comedy, together with tragedy was one of two principal dramatic forms of ancient Greek theater.
Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods: Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New Comedy. Old Comedy survives today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander. Middle Comedy is largely lost, i.e. preserved only in relatively short fragments in authors such as Athenaeus of Naucratis. The Old Comedy, dating from the establishment of democracy by Kleisthenes, about 510 B.C.E., arose from the obscene jests of Dionysian revelers, composed of virulent abuse and personal vilification. The satire and abuse were directed against some object of popular dislike. At Athens the comedies became an official part of the festival celebration in 486 B.C.E., and prizes were offered for the best productions. Slave wearing the short tunic, phlyax actor. Origins Old Comedy (archàia) The Frogs. Introduction to Greek and Roman Comedy, U. of Sask. Aristophanes and Greek Old Comedy, U. of Sask.