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1. Comedy and Democracy
About this Lecture
Aristotle in his Poetics makes the connection between comedy and democracy, stating that the two cities that claimed to have invented the genre both did so under democratic constitutions. The greatest democracy of the Greek world was that of Athens, and it is not surprise that Aristophanes flourished in the period that Athenian democracy as at its height. But why should this be the case? In this module, we explore the links between comedy and democracy. Why did comedy and democracy make such good bed-fellows?
In this course, Prof. Edith Hall (King's College, London) provides an introduction to the plays of Aristophanes, thinking in particular about the world that Aristophanes lived in and his comic output and focusing in particular on: the link between comedy and democracy, the distinctiveness of Aristophanes as compared to other comic playwrights writing at the same time, the theatrical elements of Old Comedy (music, choreography, costume, etc.), the types of comedy that one finds in the plays themselves, and - finally – the play-world of Aristophanes’ comedies.
Since being awarded the Hellenic Foundation Prize for her Oxford doctorate (1988), Edith has held posts at Cambridge, Oxford, Durham and London Universities. She has published twenty books. She is Co-Founder and Consultant Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek & Roman Drama at Oxford and Chairman of the Gilbert Murray Trust. She has won funding for research from the AHRB, the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, the British Academy, the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, and has just been awarded a Humboldt Research Prize. She appears regularly on BBC Radio, and has acted as consultant to professional productions of ancient drama at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, Northern Broadsides, Theaterkombinat and other professional companies.
Cite this Lecture
Hall, E. (2018, August 15). Aristophanes - Comedy and Democracy [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/aristophanes-introduction/comedy-and-democracy
Hall, E. "Aristophanes – Comedy and Democracy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/aristophanes-introduction/comedy-and-democracy