Dramatists And Drama (Blooms Literary Criticism 20th Anniversary Collection)

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It has three fundamental characteristics that remain typical of Athenian comedy in all its subsequent developments. One is that in comedy, as in satyr-drama, there may be no profound disasters though deplorable characters like sykophantai [informers] may be punished by a symbolic or even, very occasionally, an actual death. The third key characteristic of comedy, which separates it from both the other dramatic genres, is that comedy exists in present time. Old Comedy comprised several well-marked subgenres. One of the most important, though no complete example of it survives, was that of mythological burlesque.

The play produced in BC, in the first year of the Peloponnesian War was based on the legend of the Judgement of Paris, but the role of Paris was largely usurped by Dionysus. When our text of the papyrus synopsis begins, Hermes has just asked Dionysus—Paris to act as judge and is going off to summon the contestants. This, of course, threatens so to speak to prevent the Trojan War from taking place, but this mythological catastrophe is averted by Helen, who, fearing punishment for her adultery, begs to be allowed to stay, and Paris agrees to make her his wife; Dionysus he sends off to be handed over, accompanied by his ever-loyal satyrs.

The play ends there. It has ingeniously reversed the traditional assumptions of the story: Paris and the Trojans are innocent of everything except taking pity on a woman in distress. Another type of comedy, possibly stimulated by the repressive legislation of the early s, largely abandoned political topicality and concentrated on the world of the symposium and the hetaira courtesan ; one might call this the comedy of night-life. The surviving fragments of Crates include not one reference to any living contemporary, and food, drink and symposiac games are prominent themes.

A fragment of Corianno Pherecrates, fr. For the third major variety of Old Comic plot structure — the plot of predicament and rescue, found in all the surviving plays of Aristophanes — see pp. The costume of Old Comedy appears to have been based on that of ordinary life except of course for the numerous divine or fantastic characters , but most male characters had their garments cut short to reveal a large artificial phallus. Where convenient it could be concealed by outer garments of suitable length — an option of great importance in plays like Women at the Thesmophoria and The Assemblywomen, in which men disguise themselves as women or vice versa.

For other physical aspects of Old Comic production see pp. Nesselrath, author of the standard study of Middle Comedy, allows it only one generation of relative stability — before it begins to metamorphose into New Comedy. The evidence for Middle Comedy is inferior both in quantity and in quality to that for Old or New Comedy. No dramatist of this period was admitted to the canon of outstanding poets; papyrus fragments are very scanty and hard to identify; and a high proportion of ancient quotations come from a single author, Athenaeus, who has a very strong bias towards passages that bear on the world of the symposium.

Until , Greek New Comedy was known only from ancient quotations many of them ethical and sententious and from the Roman adaptations of Plautus and Terence. Of subsequent discoveries the most spectacular has been that of a codex of the third or fourth century, now in the Bodmer collection at Geneva, from which between and were published virtually the whole of The Curmudgeon and substantial parts of two other plays.

In addition there are sixty or seventy papyrus fragments whose style shows them to come from New Comedy, but whose authorship is at present unknown; most of these are likely to be by Menander also, but some may well be from plays by Philemon, Diphilus and others. The typical plot patterns, character types and formal features of New Comedy are described in Chapter 2 see pp.

At least once, possibly twice, in the s he visited Sicily at the invitation of Hieron of Syracuse, for whom he produced The Women of Aetna in honour of the new city of Aetna which Hieron had recently founded and also restaged The Persians. By this time, with the death of Phrynichus c.

Ancient sources give figures ranging from seventy to ninety for the number of plays Aeschylus composed. On the evidence available it is likely that ancient scholars knew of seventy-eight plays which they attributed to Aeschylus; two of these Prometheus Bound and Prometheus Unbound are probably to be regarded as spurious see p. Six of these seventy-six plays, plus Prometheus Bound, survive complete or nearly so; in addition there are seven plays of which there survive substantial papyrus fragments1 — namely, The Carians or Europa, The Myrmidons, Niobe, Semele or The Water-carriers, and the satyrplays The Isthmian Tourists Theoroi or Isthmiastai , The Netfishers Diktyoulkoi and Prometheus the Firekindler.

On the other hand we know that the production of which The Persians was part was comprised of four unrelated plays. All but one, Hypermestra, did so; Danaus probably attempted to punish her, but her husband, Lynceus, saved her and himself, and it was Danaus who was killed. Aphrodite proclaimed the universal power of the sexual principle, Lynceus and Hypermestra became the founders of a new royal house in Argos, and the other Danaids were found acceptable husbands.

Eumenides:5 At Delphi, Apollo promises Orestes his protection. He reveals that he possesses a secret vital to Zeus: Zeus will be overthrown if he mates with a certain female who is destined to have a son mightier than his father. There is a wide variety of structural patterns, some of them like Seven, lines —, with its seven pairs of speeches punctuated by short choral stanzas probably unique experiments. The pace of the action is usually rather slow. In the second half of Choephoroi the action increasingly accelerates as the climax approaches, and then abruptly slows as Clytaemestra for a time staves off her doom with brilliant verbal fencing.

In Eumenides a series of short scenes, full of surprises and changes of location, and including a trial-scene with some virtuoso four-sided dialogue, leads to a conclusion mainly in the old epirrhematic mode for one actor and chorus with a second chorus at the very end. In general, the central interest in Aeschylean drama is in situation and event rather than in character. On the other hand, characters who make or have previously made decisions vitally affecting the action, when alternative choices were possible, are portrayed as far as is necessary for illuminating these decisions: Eteocles is usually calm and rational but can be carried away by strong emotions such as his hatred of his brother , Agamemnon is one who values prestige above all other considerations such as the life of his daughter.

In the Oresteia several minor characters the watchman, the herald, the nurse are drawn with marked vividness, less perhaps for their own sake than to focus special attention on what they have to say. For similar reasons, Aeschylean choruses nearly always have a strong and distinctive personality. Their words are often of the utmost importance 37 THE AUTHORS in drawing attention to the deeper principles underlying events even when they do not themselves fully understand these principles or their implications and, together with their music and dance, in establishing the mood and theme of a whole play.

The women of Seven, dominated almost throughout by fear, contrast sharply with the Danaids, utterly determined in their rejection of marriage, and coercing Pelasgus by a cool threat of suicide; the Argive elders of Agamemnon, enunciators of profound moral principles yet unable to understand how these principles doom Agamemnon to death, share a trilogy with the Erinyes, hellish bloodsuckers yet also divine embodiments of these same principles. In iambic dialogue, where he had fewer models to follow, he sometimes seems stiff compared with Sophocles or Euripides, though he can also create an impression of everyday speech through informal grammar and phraseology.

He excels at devising patterns of language and imagery, elaborating them down to minute detail, and sustaining them all through a play or a trilogy. He makes extensive use of marching anapaests as preludes to and occasionally substitutes for choral odes, and also in quasi-epirrhematic alternation with lyrics. Aeschylus is consistently bold and imaginative in exploiting the visual aspects of drama. The contrast between the sumptuous dress of the Persian 6 Ionic metre is based on the unit — —. Aeschylus is well aware of, and vividly presents, the terrible suffering, often hard to justify in human terms, of which life is full; nevertheless he gives the impression of believing strongly in the ultimate justice of the gods.

In the Oresteia ethical advance on earth, as the virtuous Electra and an Orestes with no base motive succeed the myopic Agamemnon and the monstrous Clytaemestra, is presently answered by ethical advance on Olympus as the amoral gods of Agamemnon and Choephoroi turn in Eumenides into responsible and even loving protectors of deserving mortals. Something similar may well have happened in the Prometheus plays. It has recently been suggested that Athenian tragedy in general regularly shows the triumph of the collective values of the polis over the self-promoting values of the family oikos.

It takes considerable ingenuity to justify this claim in the case of Sophocles and Euripides, but it applies perfectly to Aeschylus. Originally, like Aeschylus, Sophocles acted in his own plays, but he is said to have given up doing so because he had a weak voice. Like Aeschylus and Euripides, he was invited by foreign rulers to visit their courts, but he never accepted any of these invitations.

At the Lenaea a month or two later, both Aristophanes in Frogs and Phrynichus in The Muses inserted warm compliments to him into their comedies. Jacoby et al. Ancient scholars knew of plays attributed to Sophocles, of which they judged seven or, according to another source, seventeen to be spurious. Seven plays survive details follow ; there are substantial papyrus fragments of the satyr-plays The Trackers Ichneutai and Inachus and the tragedies Eurypylus and Niobe, but neither papyri nor ancient quotations give us anything like as much material for Sophocles as they do for Euripides.

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To win back his love, she sends him a robe smeared with what she thinks is a love-charm but discovers, too late, that it is a deadly venom; she commits suicide. Antigone perhaps c. Ajax probably s or s Ajax, defeated by Odysseus in the contest for the armour of Achilles, has tried to take revenge for the slight, but has been driven mad by Athena and has tortured and killed some cattle and sheep. Returning to his senses and conscious of his deep disgrace, he commits suicide.

The present king, Oedipus, determined to uncover the truth, eventually discovers that he himself is the murderer and, moreover, that Laius was his father and the widowed queen, Iocaste, whom Oedipus had married, is his mother. Iocaste commits suicide; Oedipus blinds himself and begs, in vain, to be cast out of Thebes. Heracles, however, appears as deus ex machina and orders the pair to go to Troy where they will win glory. The Athenian king, Theseus, grants him asylum, and rescues Antigone and her sister Ismene when Creon has them seized as hostages to force Oedipus to surrender to Theban control.

Oedipus then leads the way to where, after promising to be a blessing to Athens, he mysteriously disappears as if the gods had taken him to themselves. This is the longest of all surviving Greek dramas, and the only tragedy in which a role that of Theseus has to be split up if the play is to be performed by three actors. Only one of them, Electra, proceeds in the Aeschylean manner directly to an end foreseeable in outline from the beginning — and even in Electra the dramatist teases his audience throughout with the possibility of a major change to the story see p.

The other plays fall into two groups. In the three which are probably earlier The Women of Trachis, Antigone and Ajax the focus of interest changes about two-thirds of the way through from Deianeira to Heracles; from Antigone to Creon; from the fate of Ajax to the question of his burial , and as a result all these plays have sometimes been seen as poorly constructed. The pattern, however, is so common it reappears in Euripides that Athenian audiences must have found it quite acceptable for a tragedy to be structured in this way — in other words, they were willing if necessary to revise their idea of what a play was about in the course of watching it.

Indeed, the power of the dead over the living is an idea that perpetually haunts Sophocles; it is prominent in all his surviving plays except Philoctetes. Oedipus the King and Philoctetes have to the modern mind a much tighter unity, centring throughout on the same person or persons. The sharp change of direction at about two-thirds distance is still apparent, but it is now more internal than external, as a key character comes to see the situation in a new light. Oedipus at Colonus varies the pattern in a different way. Other major characters often contrast with the hero in a range of ways.

One is often a woman e. Another may be an antagonist always male. The antagonist is never of the same mettle as the hero. Sometimes he tries to be, fails, and ends in ignominy Creon in Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus, Odysseus in Philoctetes, and — even less impressive — the Atreidae in Ajax.

The only antagonists who are sure to get the better of a Sophoclean hero are the gods. The Sophoclean hero is not necessarily the central character of a play. Like other tragic choruses, those of Sophocles are better at enunciating general principles than at perceiving their application to particular situations, and they are frequently made to sing an ode of joy or triumph just before the plot turns in a catastrophic direction e.

His lyric metres are more complex, with more variation within songs and strophes and less use of a persistent rhythm to shape a whole play or a large section of one; his later plays, like those of Euripides, make increasing use of actor lyrics. In Ajax Sophocles comes as close as possible to presenting the suicide of Ajax onstage without actually doing so, and then creates a tableau consisting of his corpse and the silent, suppliant Tecmessa and Eurysaces which forms the backdrop to the whole second half of the play. The universe that Sophocles portrays is one that has an awesome and far-reaching logic.

In general, however, and in contrast with Aeschylus, it is not a logic that is agreeable either to our morality or to that of classical Athenians. For example, as Sophocles shapes the story of Oedipus, the actions of all those involved, from Oedipus himself to the two shepherds, which between them led to the catastrophe that happens in Oedipus the King, were all reasonable in the circumstances, and many of them were thoroughly praiseworthy. Again, Philoctetes suffers ten years of agony for a minor, and apparently inadvertent, act of sacrilege; it is true that the Atreidae and Odysseus, by abandoning him on Lemnos instead of taking him home, make his sufferings even worse, but we gather that whatever had happened his wound could be healed only at Troy and only in the tenth year.

The gods, it seems, have their ways and their plans, and if human lives get in the way of these then human lives may be wrecked. The bleakness of this outlook is mitigated in three ways. Secondly, even if suffering is not always caused by wrongdoing, its major victims tend to be shown committing wrongs which for a theatre audience, if not for a philosophical observer, considerably mitigate any sense of injustice — the tyrannical behaviour of Creon and of Oedipus, the treatment by Heracles of the people of Oechalia, of Lichas, and of his wife; in Philoctetes, where the major victim is completely innocent, he is splendidly recompensed and his chief tormentor disgraced.

There are no easy answers; there never are. Aeschylus died when the radical Athenian democracy was only five or six years old. It was alleged in his lifetime that he was of lowly origin and that his mother had been a vegetable-seller, but there is evidence of his participation, when a boy, in prestigious cultic activities, and it is likely that he belonged to one of the leading families of the deme.

A revealing remark by one of his choruses Euripides, fr. His total output was reckoned by ancient scholars at ninety-two plays, of which four were judged to be of dubious authenticity they were probably in fact by Critias, for whom see pp. Ancient quotations give us substantial fragments of most of the other tragedies, and in many cases these have been supplemented by papyrus fragments either of the text or of ancient synopses.

In or , when well into his seventies, Euripides accepted an invitation to the court of Archelaus, king of Macedon — ; he wrote Archelaus in honour of his host, and The Bacchae contains passages in praise of Macedonia. The nineteen surviving plays ascribed to Euripides are summarized on the following pages. In addition there are substantial papyrus fragments of Alexander , Antiope — , Archelaus , Cresphontes ? Surviving plays Alcestis ; substitute for satyr-play; second prize Admetus has been spared from death on condition that someone else accepts it in his stead, and his wife Alcestis lays down her life for him.

Medea ; third prize Medea, indignant that Jason, whom she helped win the Golden Fleece and who is the father of her two children, is abandoning her to marry the daughter of the king of Corinth, kills his bride and her father by means of a poisoned robe, and then kills her children; she escapes in the chariot of the Sun-god her grandfather to Athens, where King Aegeus has promised to take her in. She means to escape her passion by starving herself to death, but her nurse makes an unauthorized approach to Hippolytus, who denounces Phaedra so violently that, fearing for her reputation, she hangs herself but leaves a note accusing Hippolytus of rape.

Hecuba c. The Suppliant Women Hiketides — At Eleusis, the mothers of the Seven against Thebes, together with Adrastus, king of Argos, who had led their expedition, beg Theseus to help secure for their sons the right of burial. Theseus agrees, defeats the Thebans in battle, and brings the bodies back to Eleusis where they are lamented and cremated one of the widows, Euadne, throwing herself on the pyre.

Athena as dea ex machina predicts that the sons of the Seven will one day destroy Thebes, and orders Adrastus to swear an eternal alliance between Argos and Athens. Electra ? The Madness of Heracles Herakles Mainomenos ? With Heracles in Hades on the last of his labours, his family are threatened with death by Lycus, tyrant of Thebes. At the last moment Heracles returns and kills Lycus.

Utterly broken, he determines on suicide, but his fosterfather Amphitryon and his friend Theseus persuade him to go on living, and he leaves with Theseus for Athens. Ion c. Creusa and her husband Xuthus come to consult Apollo about their childlessness; a misleading response given to Xuthus leads to a complex series of intrigues in which Creusa and Ion in turn attempt to kill each other, until the Pythia intervenes, giving Ion the cradle in which he was once abandoned. Creusa recognizes the cradle, is reunited with her son, and tells him that Apollo is his father.

Athena directs that Ion is to be taken to Athens and become its king, and ancestor of the Ionian people — but Xuthus is never to know that Ion is not his son. Iphigeneia in Tauris c. Orestes and Pylades arrive in quest of the image of Artemis Tauropolos; they are captured, but Iphigeneia spares Pylades on condition that he takes a message back to Greece for her. The message reveals her identity to Orestes, and after a joyful reunion they plan and execute a scheme to escape from the wicked King Thoas, taking the image with them to be set up at Halae in Attica.

Helen Helen has been seventeen years in Egypt, spirited there by Hermes while Greeks and Trojans fought over a phantom in her shape; the local king, Theoclymenus, is set on marrying her, but she is loyal to Menelaus. Adrastus and the Seven are about to attack Thebes. A parley between Eteocles and Polyneices, arranged by their mother Iocaste, proves a failure. Oedipus, who is still in Thebes, is expelled by the new ruler, Creon; Antigone, renouncing marriage with Haemon, departs with her father.

Orestes After killing his mother, Orestes has been outlawed by the Argives, and is lying delirious tended by Electra, awaiting trial for his life. With the help of Pylades they plot to save themselves by killing the muchhated Helen and taking Hermione hostage. The Cyclops ? Odysseus plots with the satyrs to get Polyphemus drunk and put out his eye; Silenus helps do the former, but for the latter Odysseus has to rely on his own friends offstage.

When the blinded Cyclops comes out of his cave, the satyrs make fun of him and then depart, with Odysseus, to freedom. Disguised as his own priest, he is imprisoned but miraculously escapes. Hearing reports of violent behaviour by female Bacchic devotees on Mount Cithaeron, Pentheus decides to attack them, but the disguised god persuades him instead to go and spy on them; once there, Pentheus is seized and torn to pieces by a band of bacchants led by his mother Agaue, who afterwards, restored to sanity, laments over her son in a scene now lost. Clytaemestra herself comes to Aulis, uninvited, with Iphigeneia.

Through a chance meeting with Achilles she learns she has been deceived. At this Iphigeneia resolves to accept death for the good of the Greek people, vainly begging her mother not to hate Agamemnon. The Thracian king, Rhesus, arrives to aid the Trojans, promising to destroy their enemies in a single day.

As day breaks the Trojans prepare for battle. This is the shortest surviving tragedy, and the only one whose action takes place entirely at night. As real-time experiences they can on the whole be divided into two broad categories. In some of them, the action moves inexorably towards a goal fairly clearly foreseeable from the start, and sometimes as in Hippolytus, Ion and The Bacchae announced by a divine prologue-speaker.

Plots of this type did not appeal to Aristotle, and have not appealed to many modern critics, but their frequency in Euripides suggests that his audiences are unlikely to have objected to them seriously — indeed they probably enjoyed being surprised. Despite the wide variety of their plot-patterns, Euripidean tragedies are remarkably uniform in many of their formal components.

Almost all of them contain a set-piece debate often called an agon, though with none of the formal structures of the Old Comic agon — see p. Thus, however surprising the events of a Euripidean play might be, they were presented in a formal framework that had a comforting familiarity. By the conventions of tragedy, open reference to contemporary matters was impossible; but features of contemporary social and intellectual life could be and were backdated into the heroic age.

Poetry is repeatedly referred to as the source of knowledge of divine and heroic myth. Jason and Neoptolemus grapple unsuccessfully with the problems that could arise when a man who had lived for many years in a stable relationship with a woman of inferior status decided that he must now make a proper marriage with a wife of his own rank. Contemporaries felt that whereas Aeschylus and Sophocles made their major characters seem larger than life, Euripides made his seem very much like the people they met every day.

He may not in fact have done this much more than Sophocles Philoctetes, Oedipus at Colonus or even Aeschylus The Persians , but it was emblematic of his whole approach to the tales he presented. It was apt, whether or not it was true, when an anecdote reported Sophocles as saying that he made characters such as they ought to be made, whereas Euripides made them such as they were Aristotle, Poetics b33— If anything, Euripides agrees with comedy in tending to see special virtues in classes whom myth traditionally marginalized — old men, peasants, slaves; and Athenians are nearly always favourably presented.

His presentation of women is ambivalent. Contemporaries accused him of being misogynistic, because he so often presented women committing atrocious acts such as adultery and child-murder. It is more likely, then, to be the fact that these women, like virtually all major characters in Euripides, were made eloquent advocates for the justice of their case. There is no crime so horrendous that Euripides cannot make a character speak persuasively in its defence.

In a few plays, such as The Suppliant Women and The Bacchae, their fate is closely tied up with the action, but in many they are mere spectators. The chorus remain useful, especially in the darker plays, for creating atmosphere and pathos; in The Bacchae their role is vital, representing in sight and sound the Dionysiac spirit that is the driving force of the play while its other representatives, the Theban bacchants, are away on Cithaeron. In light plays such as Helen and Iphigeneia in Tauris, the chorus have little function; their songs can be reduced in number, and occasionally have no bearing whatever on the action.

The decline of the chorus is matched by an increase in actor lyrics, comprising solos monodies , duets and actor-chorus ensembles, especially the parodos, in which an actor takes part in every surviving play from Electra to Orestes inclusive. His lyrics, both choral and solo, show an increased and increasing variety both in the range of rhythms employed and in their combination within songs, no doubt associated with contemporary innovations in musical practice.

In visual effects, Euripides excelled in the portrayal of pathos: tableaux of women and children threatened with death, or as suppliants at altars, feature repeatedly in his plays. In the darker ones he portrays a chaotic and cruel universe. Mortals may tell the gods they ought to be wise and just, but this the gods hardly ever are; the friendship of one god is no protection against the malice of another, and the schemes of gods to punish their enemies who may or may not, by human standards, be guilty of any wrong regularly involve terrible suffering for the innocent.

To trust in oneself alone is usually a sure recipe for coming to grief, as it is for Hippolytus, Heracles, Eteocles and Pentheus.


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The Argive assembly in Orestes is dramatically important, not because of anything it can do for Argos but because it has the power of life and death over Orestes and Electra. Has Euripides, then, anything to say to his audiences in their capacity as citizens? On the one hand he makes a point of appealing, whenever possible, to Athenian patriotic and cultural pride; in line with the ideology voiced in Athenian public funeral oratory, Athens is particularly celebrated e.

On the other hand, the plays encourage, almost enforce, a critical approach to almost all established values and institutions which is not the same thing as saying Euripides rejected these values and condemned these institutions ; even the glory of helping the helpless is implicitly brought into question. Athens saves the family of Heracles from Eurystheus, yet it is Eurystheus who becomes after death a hero-defender of Athens; Athens secures the burial of the Seven against Thebes and wins Argos as an eternal ally, but from what has been seen of the Argive leader Adrastus both the moral and the military value of this alliance may well seem dubious.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. But also there is an increasing revulsion from war itself, when not fought in a plainly righteous cause. This is evident as early as Andromache, and climaxes in The Trojan Women — produced at a time when the Athenians were besieging Melos having probably already resolved that should it be captured the adult male Melians would be put to death and the rest of the population enslaved and considering whether they should send an expedition to conquer Syracuse, neither the Melians nor the Syracusans having done them any harm.

In more than one passage in this play Euripides goes out of his way to include words that would strike home very directly to an audience thinking of these two campaigns — Poseidon condemning the destruction of cities, the chorus praising the valour of the people of Sicily; and in the behaviour of the Greeks throughout the action, many spectators who had themselves been members of conquering armies would have seen much 59 THE AUTHORS that was familiar to them.

Phrynichus fl. Among the numerous tragic dramatists contemporary with Sophocles and Euripides, four are outstanding — apart of course from the author of Prometheus Bound, who may have been Euphorion fl. Ion of Chios fl. Agathon fl. Critias d. The genre strikingly revived from the s onwards, when four dramatists in particular attained near-classic status, as references by Aristotle and Menander indicate. A papyrus fragment in which the climax of the Iliad is presented from the Trojan side may or may not come from his Hector. His tragedies ascribed by some to his associate Philiscus, who was certainly a dramatist in his own right promoted his principles so forthrightly that six centuries later the emperor Julian said that not even a prostitute could have surpassed their obscenity.

One of his three known plays Themistocles and possibly another The Pheraeans, which may have been about the tyrant Jason of Pherae were on historical themes. Later tragic dramatists are mostly little more than names to us, sometimes with the date of a victory or two; from the second century BC to the end of antiquity we possess just seventeen lines of tragic verse by named, datable poets. With one remarkable exception. There survive fragments, totalling lines, of a tragedy called The Exodus Exagoge by a Jew of probably Alexandria named Ezechiel.

It is based on the Septuagint version of the book of Exodus chapters 1—15 , with some expansions; the action moves freely from place to place and covers a period of many years, and God 12 Julian, Against Heraclius the Cynic 6. The Clouds, produced at the City Dionysia of , was a failure, and this setback was followed by a further clash with Cleon. By renewed threats of prosecution, perhaps for exercising citizen rights when not entitled to them, Cleon forced Aristophanes to agree to moderate his satire in future, a promise which the dramatist gleefully broke in The Wasps at the very next festival Lenaea He later revised The Clouds with a view to restaging it, but apparently was not granted a chorus; eventually the incompletely revised script went into circulation in book form alongside the original one and, unlike the original, it has survived to the present day.

He received extraordinary public honours in probably the autumn of 63 THE AUTHORS , when he was commended by the Assembly and awarded a crown of sacred olive for the political advice he had offered in the parabasis of The Frogs, and the play was ordered to be restaged; this was probably a political manoeuvre by anti-democratic intriguers, to which Aristophanes may or may not have been knowingly a party. Aristophanes probably died between and Araros and his brother Philippus both later became comic dramatists in their own right.

Ancient scholars knew of forty-four plays ascribed to Aristophanes, of which they judged four to be spurious. The total number of victories he gained is not known, but he won at least twice at the City Dionysia and at least four times at the Lenaea; an inscription also records what seems to be a victory in a local festival at Eleusis. With the help of the chorus of aristocratic young cavalrymen the plan succeeds, and Demos, magically rejuvenated by the sausage-seller, regains his political intelligence and is hailed as king of the Greeks.

Bdelycleon sets up a private court in which one of his dogs prosecutes another, and tricks his father into acquitting the accused. The birds are initially hostile to these human intruders, but Peisetaerus promises to win back for them the rulership of the universe which was theirs he says before the gods usurped it. He founds the bird-city of Cloudcuckooville, starves the gods into submission by an aerial blockade, and forces Zeus to give him not the birds! The action is entirely successful, and the men, reduced to helpless appendages of their own phalli, make peace, experience the pleasures of the symposium together, and are reunited with their wives.

Women at the Thesmophoria Thesmophoriazousai I Dionysia At the all-women festival of the Thesmophoria, the women of Athens have decided to punish Euripides for his alleged slanders against them. Euripides tries unsuccessfully to rescue him by adopting roles from various recent plays of his; eventually he succeeds by disguising himself as an old bawd, promising the women not to slander them any more, and using a dancing-girl to decoy the Scythian archer guarding the condemned man. Once this is achieved, she announces the foundation of a new society based on communism both in property and in sex.

The effects of this double revolution are explored in the second half of the play, at the end of which all depart for a mouth-watering feast. Wealth Ploutos Guided by a Delphic oracle, Chremylus, an honest man who has been poor all his life, meets the blind god of Wealth, brings him home thus becoming rich , and decides to have him cured at the temple of Asclepius 66 THE AUTHORS so that he can recognize the virtuous and live exclusively with them instead of, as hitherto, with the wicked. The goddess of Poverty denounces this as folly, but is not listened to. The healing is performed, the virtuous prosper at the expense of sykophants13 and grasping hetairai, and Hermes and even Zeus become humble followers of Wealth, the new supreme god.

In his surviving plays at least, however, Aristophanes shows a very strong liking for one particular plotpattern, a pattern, moreover, for whose previous existence there is no clear evidence. This pattern may have been invented by Aristophanes himself, or by one of his slightly senior contemporaries such as Hermippus, Eupolis or Phrynichus. It begins with a situation that is extremely unsatisfactory, sometimes in the eyes of any objective observer, sometimes only in the eyes of a particular character; the predicament always has an important bearing on political, economic, artistic or intellectual issues of public concern.

A character then devises a scheme, often with a high degree of fantasy, for putting things right and rescuing himself, or his family, or Athens, or the whole Greek world. Usually he or she14 personally attempts to implement this scheme, but sometimes another person is persuaded to do so instead. The plot can normally be divided into four parts. The consequences are usually very much to the good, not only for the hero but for a wider public as well; a frequent element in them is rejuvenation, including the restoration of sexual potency the leading male character is often presented with one or two nude females for his personal enjoyment, and in Peace and The Birds he is married to a beautiful divine or semidivine maiden.

In these two plays the ending is abrupt and austere, the chorus simply walking out with a few perfunctory words; most other Aristophanic plays end with some form of triumphal procession or revelrout, with the chorus taking a prominent part. This formal pattern is an elaboration of the basic alternation of dialogue scenes and choral interludes characteristic of all Greek drama. Politically, as already observed see p. Dover, Aristophanes: Clouds Oxford, , p.

Between the ages of eighteen and twenty he underwent the two-year course of training in civic virtue and soldiership the ephebeia which had been made compulsory in ; the philosopher Epicurus was an ephebe at the same time. In all he won eight victories, which seemed surprisingly few to later generations who regarded him as by far the greatest representative of New Comedy. Possibly he was unpopular for a time because of his friendship with Demetrius of Phalerum, who had been virtually dictator of Athens from to ; he is said to have been prosecuted, or threatened with prosecution, after Demetrius fell from power.

He is reported to have written some plays, many of which must have been produced abroad, but unlike most of his rivals he did not himself visit the courts of foreign monarchs, although there is evidence that he did receive invitations from Ptolemy I of Egypt and Demetrius Poliorcetes of Macedon. Like Euripides, he enjoyed his greatest success posthumously. Then Cleostratus unexpectedly returns alive; Chaerestratus is able to come back to life, and Cleostratus is able to give his sister to Chaereas who has long loved her.

The Curmudgeon Dyskolos Lenaea The wealthy young Sostratus, while hunting at Phyle, has fallen in love with a beautiful girl, but her father Cnemon proves to be a misanthropic curmudgeon. Cnemon is eventually dragged kicking and screaming to the betrothal feast. The Arbitration Epitrepontes Charisius has left home after learning that his wife Pamphile has given birth to, and exposed, a baby five months after their wedding.

By a series of happy accidents the baby is discovered and Charisius himself is proved to be its father. Hated Misoumenos before The soldier Thrasonides has bought as his slave a girl prisoner of war from Cyprus, Crateia, and made her his mistress, but she now hates him because, unknown to Thrasonides, she mistakenly believes he had killed her brother. Shorn Perikeiromene or ? The scene is Corinth. The soldier Polemon, who is living with a girl named Glycera, has cut off her hair in a rage after seeing her embracing her young neighbour Moschion actually her twin brother, though only she knows this.

Glycera leaves his house. Remorseful and lovesick, he asks his friend Pataecus to intercede with her. Glycera forgives Polemon and is betrothed to him; Pataecus arranges another marriage for Moschion. His adopted son Moschion has raped the daughter of his neighbour Niceratus; her baby is being cared for by Chrysis. Independently Demeas and Niceratus, just back from abroad, decide to arrange a marriage between their children.

Demeas then discovers the baby, overhears that Moschion is its father, and throws Chrysis out of his house. Moschion, to his embarrassment, is asked to intercede for Chrysis with his father, and eventually is forced to confess the truth. This reconciles Chrysis and Demeas; Niceratus is berserk with rage, but eventually calms down and agrees to the marriage. Fearing he wants to make her his mistress, Philumene takes refuge at a temple, but Stratophanes, who has just learned that he too is an Athenian citizen, readily allows her to stay there while he seeks her father.

Virtually every play contains a young man in love sometimes more than one who meets and overcomes, usually with considerable assistance from good fortune, the obstacles posed to his desires by parents, pimps, rich soldiers or other hostile agencies. Nearly always many, sometimes all, of the characters, during much of the action, are kept in 72 THE AUTHORS ignorance of vital facts, either through circumstances or through the machinations of others, and much of the action usually springs from such misapprehensions; the truth is generally known to the audience, being imparted to them if necessary by a god early in the play, and its discovery by the characters tends to be a climactic moment in the action.

Very often the truth that is discovered relates to the parentage of a child — sometimes a recently born infant, sometimes a young woman who unexpectedly proves to be of citizen status and therefore marriageable.

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Almost always the play ends with one or more betrothals, or with the reconciliation of a married couple, or with the winning of a desirable hetaira by an impecunious youth. A surprising and indeed shocking feature to modern minds is the frequency with which rape is exploited as a plotdevice. Partly this is a legacy from Euripidean tragedy and myth-based comedy see pp. Character names likewise tend to come from a limited repertoire and to be attached to particular types e.

Moschion for a young lover, Demeas or Smicrines for an old man, Daos or Getas for a male slave, Sophrone for an old nurse. Menander often surprises his audiences by making characters behave in a manner not normal for their type, but the surprise effect itself obviously depends on there being expectations as to how each character-type will normally behave.

The action within each act is not necessarily continuous; the stage may be left empty at any point before the entry of a new character or characters. The dialogue is mostly in spoken iambic trimeters; the structure of these is very flexible, and line-rhythm and sentence-rhythm are often largely independent of one another. Many plays have a formal prologue 17 This portion of Act I has been lost, but such delayed prologues are regularly used by Menander to give the audience essential information not known to the characters.

Every play, so far as we know, ends with a request for applause and a prayer for the blessing of the goddess Victory. Magnes dominated Athenian comedy in the s and s his record of eleven City Dionysia victories was never surpassed , but the artistic level of his work does not seem to have been high. The real founders of Athenian Old Comedy were Cratinus fl. Papyri preserve substantial fragments of The Wealthgods Ploutoi or ? Crates, who avoided personal and political satire, is important in the history of comedy for having pioneered types of plot that became the norm in Middle and New Comedy.

Eupolis, the third of the canonical trio of Old Comedians, won seven first prizes in at most seventeen attempts before his death on naval service c. The period of Middle Comedy see pp. It is highly probable that we possess papyrus fragments of plays by Diphilus and Philemon, but we cannot identify any.

Novelists and Novels Bloom's Literary Criticism 20th Anniversary Collection

Death of Phrynichus c. Cyclops Euripides goes to Macedonia Death of Euripides Death of Sophocles Athenian democracy overthrown restored Athens surrenders; Sparta supreme in Greece; junta of Thirty take power at Athens Thirty overthrown; Critias killed in battle; Athenian democracy restored — — ? Here we present extracts from three different records, all now fragmentary, originally inscribed for public display at Athens in the fourth and third centuries BC.

All translations are my own. In the archonship of Nicomachus. With a satyr-play: Timocles with Lycurgus. Of poe ts : Astydamas with Parthenopaeus, ac ted by Thet[talus], [Lyca]on, ac. Neoptole[mus]; [Timo]cles sec ond with Phrixus, [ac. Neoptol[emus]; [Euar]etus thi rd [with Alc]me[on], ac. Thetta[lus], [. The best preserved list, reproduced in translation on p.


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  • The names are to be read down the columns; i. Where a number is followed or preceded by — , it means that the number is or may be incompletely preserved. Where a name is not followed by a number at all, it means that the number which must once have been shown on the stone is totally lost. Frequently this includes information about the production similar to that found in the various inscriptional records.

    He was first; Phrynichus second with Muses; Plato third with Cleophon. The play was so much admired because of the parabasis in it that it was actually produced again, as Dicaearchus says.

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    These synopses, of unknown authorship, are not always accurate when they can be checked against the text; but when a synopsis survives, in whole or in part, for a play whose text is mostly lost, it can be a vital aid to attempts at reconstructing the play. Two such synopses are reproduced below. A complete synopsis of the play has been preserved by two Byzantine writers, Johannes Logothetes and Gregory of Corinth; scraps of it, in a slightly different form, also survive in two much earlier papyri.

    Proetus was the son of Abas, brother of Acrisius, and king of Tiryns; he married Stheneboea and had children by her. He, acting in accordance with what was written, ordered Bellerophon to venture against the Chimaera; Bellerophon fought and killed the beast. He then returned to Tiryns, laid blame on Proetus, and excited Stheneboea with the promise to take her off to Caria. He learned from someone of a second plot against him by Proetus, and forestalled him by departing.

    Bellerophon again returned to Proetus, and himself confessed to having done the deed; he had he said been twice plotted against and had taken appropriate revenge upon both parties — from the one, her life; for the other, his grief. See also pp. Many words in the papyrus are abbreviated; these abbreviations are not marked in the translation unless they make the sense uncertain.

    And he, on the arrival of 9 to him by Hera unshakeable despotic rulership, by Athena courage in war, and by Aphrodite supreme beauty and sexual desirability, judges the latter to be victorious. After this he sails to Sparta, abducts Helen and returns to Mount Ida. Shortly afterwards he hears that the Achaeans are ra[vag]ing the country and [seeking] Alexan[dros], so he has[tily] conceals Helen in a basket, disguises himself as a ra[m] and awaits developments.

    Alexandros arrives, discovers the two intruders, and orders both to be taken to the ships, intending to hand them over to the Achaeans. Helen is reluctant, and he takes pity on her and keeps her to have as his wife; but he sends off Dionysus to be handed over, and the satyrs accompany him, encouraging him and saying they will never forsake him. In this play Pericles is very 7 That is, the chorus of satyrs. Is not the whole army of the 11 barbarians crossing the strait of Helle back from Europe? And if that is so, he12 is leaving behind a large, chosen portion of the army, persuaded by vain hopes.

    For when they went to the land of Hellas they did not scruple to plunder the images of the gods and burn their temples: altars have vanished, and the dwellings of the gods have been overturned in chaos and uprooted from their foundations. The heaps of corpses will signify wordlessly to the eyes of men even to the third generation that one who is mortal should not pride himself to excess. For hybris has blossomed and has produced a crop of ruin, whence it is reaping a harvest full of woe. Such is the punishment of these deeds; look on it and remember Athens13 and Hellas, and let no one despise the good fortune he possesses and, through lust for more, shatter his great prosperity.

    Zeus, remember, stands over you, a punisher of over-boastful thoughts, a stern auditor. Accordingly you should warn that man14 to learn wisdom and admonish him with well-argued advice to cease offending the gods with excessive arrogance. Such words he shouts forth, the mighty Polyneices, 13 Probably an allusion to the story, told later by Herodotus 5. Such are the devices of those men out there; you will never, I tell you, have cause to criticize me for my reports; but you must decide how to captain the city.

    But it is not proper to cry or lament, lest that give birth to grief even harder to bear. For this man so well named — Polyneices,16 I mean — we shall soon know where that shield-device will end up, whether those letters worked in gold, blethering balderdash on his shield, are really going to bring him home. If Justice, the virgin daughter of Zeus, were the companion of his actions and his mind, that might have been the case; but in fact, neither when he escaped the darkness of the womb, nor when he was growing, nor when he reached adolescence, nor when his chin was gathering hair, did Justice ever set eyes on him or hold him in any honour; nor now, surely, when he does harm to his own native land, is she standing close by him, I imagine.

    Truly Justice would be utterly false to her name if she consorted with a man with so utterly audacious a mind. Trusting in this, I will go and stand against him myself: who else has a better right to do so? Ruler against ruler, brother against brother, enemy against enemy I will stand.

    Give me at once my greaves, protection against spear and stone. Which of these two is free of evil? May all be well. It begins with the dying scream of Aegisthus, and ends with Orestes and Pylades driving Clytaemestra indoors to her death. The three lines spoken by Pylades are the only words he utters in the play; it has often been said that this sudden break into speech by a character long silent has almost the effect of a divine voice. What fate has befallen the house? We will perish by deception, just as we killed by deception. Can someone give me, right away, an axe that will kill a man!

    Then you shall lie with him — in the same tomb! Respect this breast, my child, at which many times, while you were half asleep, you sucked with your gums the nurturing milk! Shall I respect my mother and not kill her? Hold anyone an enemy rather than the gods! You killed whom you ought not; now suffer what you ought not! In this speech he seems to relent; but the next time we see him he has 24 That is, his keeping of concubines both during the war Chryseis and after it Cassandra. Is this speech, then, sincere, deceptive, or both at once? For even I, who once endured such terrible trials, have had my edge softened, as iron is softened by dipping, by this woman: I pity her, to leave her a widow among enemies and our child an orphan.

    Let Night and Hades keep it safe below. They are the rulers, so of course one ought to yield to them. How then can we not learn good sense? For I have lately come to understand 27 Athena. But regarding these things, it will be well. And you, my friends, respect these wishes of mine just as she does, and if Teucer30 comes, tell him to take care of us and also be loyal to you.

    For I am going where I have to go; do what I tell you, and perhaps you will learn later that whatever my present misfortunes, I am safe. The Corinthian shepherd who had brought the abandoned baby Oedipus from Mount Cithaeron to King Polybus at Corinth is confronted with the Theban shepherd who had given the baby to him. Did you once belong to Laius?

    Did you make his acquaintance at all? What man might you be talking about? Did you ever meet him at all? Why are you asking that question? What else do you want to know? From someone else, or was it your own? I received it from someone. It was said that it would kill its parents. Why did you let it go to this old man? I took pity on it, master. I thought he would take it to another land, where he came from. And he saved it, for the greatest of catastrophes.

    For if you are the man he says you are, then, I tell you, you were born to an evil fate. It is all coming out clear! Light, may I look on you now for the last time, I that am revealed to have been born to those I should not, to have slept with those I should not, and to have slain those I should not!

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    Listening to it are the two young men who brought the urn from Phocis — one of whom is Orestes himself. How far you are, now I receive you back, from the hopes with which I sent you forth! How I wish I had departed this life before with these hands I stole you and saved you from murder and sent you to a foreign land! Then you would have been lying dead that day, and gained your allotted share of your ancestral tomb. You have passed like a whirlwind, blowing everything away. Father is gone;36 you have killed me; you are dead and gone yourself; our enemies are laughing; and our most unmotherlike mother is mad with joy, she of whom you often sent me secret word that you would be appearing to take revenge on her in person.

    All this your evil fate and mine has taken away from us, sending you to me not in your own beloved shape but as dust and a useless shadow. O pitiable corpse, alas, alas! O most dreadful journey, ah me, me, [Speaking] that you were sent on, dearest! How you have destroyed me, yes, destroyed me, my own dear brother!

    Receive me, then, into this house of yours, a nothing coming to nothing, that I may live henceforth with you in the world below. For when you were above ground, I shared the same fortune as you; and now I long to die, and not to miss sharing your tomb; because I see that the dead suffer no pain. If you were still childless, your desire for this marriage would have been forgivable. I cannot tell if you believe that the gods of that time are no longer in power or that they have now laid down new laws for mortals — because you are well aware that you have broken your oath to me!

    I will all the same, because the questions will make your disgracefulness even plainer — where should I turn now? Or to the wretched daughters of Pelias? Because this is how it is: to my kin at home I have become an enemy, and those whom I should not have harmed I have made into foes to do favours to you. That is why, in return for this, you have made me so happy in the eyes of many Greek women! Make way! Bear the light! Look, look, I honour this temple, I make it blaze with torches, Lord Hymenaeus! O Hymen, O Lord Hymenaeus! The dance is sacred!

    Lead it, Phoebus! O Hymen, O Hymen Hymenaeus! Dance, mother, lead on the dance, twirl your foot this way, that way, treading your steps with delight together with mine! Led on by Theo, Russell is drawn into Theo's great scheme - to supply Theo's especially good corn whiskey to all the after-hours joints in Harlem, with the sinister assistance of a man named Blue Haven, Meanwhile, Bobby will help reclaim Harlem from The Man by thievery, and tragedy follows.

    No names, no stamps, no labels, minor interior age toning, clean and unmarked text and illustrations. Features Amazing and Excellent Filmaking Cinematography behind-the-scenes facts and pictures from the sets used in the movie, superb cast, crew, and production information. The pictorial Illustrated 3 panel fold-out and 5 panel rear fold-outs are still present and attached..

    Unknown Binding. First Edition, Near Fine Hardcover, Very Good clear Brodart covered dust jacket, Signed by the author on the title page, signed and gift inscribed by a Coe family member on the rear of the first front freepage, the clear Brodart covered dust jacket has minor edgewear with rubbed cornertips, closed short edgetears, and a large closed upper front panel tear. Also contains a black and white reproduction of D. Kusionovich's painting "Billy the Kid" - "Created like a composite done by a police artist from descriptions of friends who remembered him.

    The authors, Stewart and Dench, were stars of the Ice Capades show and its movies in its early years. Though the "how-to" element is predominant in this book, it is a "how-to" from such an early stage in the development of both disciplines that it is fascinating in itself the fully extended overhead lift is not yet in existence, for instance. Illustrated with instructional diagrams and "action" photos of the authors, a husband-and-wife team who toured with the Ice Capades through the s and s after Stewart made a name for herself in the Winter Olympics.

    Together they helped establish and popularize the idea of Pair Skating. Return with us now to those thrilling days of Yesteryear! Sixty minute old-time radio mystery programs, complete and unedited on twenty minute cassettes. A full 30 hours of horrific fun! An excellent behind the scenes and historical biography! An easy to use Act-by-Act synopses of all the plays are given. To suggest the flavor of the original, actual quotations from the plays are woven into the narratives and the descriptions of characters listed in the dramatis personae. The introduction covers Shakepeare's life and times, sources, and other background material.

    Illustrations, maps, a selected bibliography, and two helpful genealogical charts are included. New Copy, Small neat Remainder Stock dot mark on the endpages, clean and unmarked in a new Brodart dust jacket protector, very slight shelf wear to some copies. Fun, detailed and easy to use, apply and follow.. First Edition, printing, trade paperback, Tight Copy, clear tape reinforced covers, minor edgewear, neat occasional light reference underlining and margin marks or notations.

    This practical guide eschews formulaic paradigms and leads each writer to the discovery of his or hers own approach to and style of screenwriting. Features the sometimes seedy, sometimes dark and sometimes erotic and criminal history of Hollywood's Movie Stars, Movers and Shakers, and Notable and Shady Associates.. With black and white illustrations and photographs of famous film stars, celebrities, cemetery scenes, graves, scandals, romances, and other images and Hollywood stories.

    Gray cloth hardcover with illustrated dust jacket. What makes Biblio different? Facebook Instagram Twitter. Sign In Register Help Cart. Cart items. Toggle navigation. Sondheim enlarged and updated Martin Gottfried Good. Pair skating and dancing on ice, Dench, Robert Very Good. Outlines of Shakespeare's Plays Homer A. Watt; Karl J. Holzknecht and Raymond Ross Very Good. Advanced Book Search Browse by Subject.