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3. The Theatre of Aristophanes

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About this Lecture


As one of the pre-eminent playwrights in Classical Athens, Aristophanes would have made full use of the elements of theatre when producing his shows – and ancient sources speak of the music, dancing and costumes of ancient productions. In this module, we think more about what it was like to be a spectator at one of Aristophanes’ comedies, and how this differed from simply reading his plays in a book.


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 Theatre of Aristophanes [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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