You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.


14. The Play-World of Aristophanes: "Para-Athens"

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


Aristophanes tends to set his plays in a city that is recognisable as fifth-century Athens, with many scenes taking place in real spaces in the city. At the same time, however, the characters in Aristophanes’ plays are not surprised by the surreal or fantastical. In this module, we think about the setting of Aristophanes plays as a place which is both like and unlike the historical Athens of the late fifth century – a ‘para-Athens’, if you will!


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

APA style

Hall, E. (2018, August 15). Aristophanes - The Play-World of Aristophanes: "Para-Athens" [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hall, E. "Aristophanes – The Play-World of Aristophanes: "Para-Athens"." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,

Get instant access to over 6,800 lectures