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2. The Distinctiveness of Aristophanes

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About this Lecture


Because the plays of Aristophanes are the only ones that survive in full from the late fifth and early fourth centuries, it is easy to forget that Aristophanes wrote at a time when there was intense competition between comic playwrights. In this module, we focus on what it was that was distinctive about Aristophanic comedy, as compared to the kind of comedy his contemporaries were writing.


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.


Edith Hall is Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University. Her research focuses on ancient Greek literature and cultural history. Some of her major publications include Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy (OUP, 1989), Greek Tragedy: Suffering Under the Sun (OUP, 2010), Introducing the Ancient Greeks: From Bronze Age Seafarers to Navigators of the Western Mind (Norton, 2014), and Aristotle's Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life (Penguin, 2020).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hall, E. (2018, August 15). Aristophanes - The Distinctiveness of Aristophanes [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hall, E. "Aristophanes – The Distinctiveness of Aristophanes." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,