Tragedy on the Comic Stage
Aristophanes' engagement with tragedy is one of the most striking features of his comedies: Euripides appears repeatedly as a character in these plays, jokes about tragedy and tragic poets abound, and parodies of tragedy frequently underlie whole scenes and even the plots of these plays. Tragedy on the Comic Stage contextualizes this engagement with tragedy within Greek comedy as a genre by examining paratragedy in the fragments of Aristophanes' contemporaries and successors in the fifth and fourth centuries. Farmer organizes these fragments under two rubrics. First, he discusses fragments that show characters discussing tragedy, use tragic poets as characters, or make reference to the dramatic festivals; these fragments, Farmer argues, develop a "culture of tragedy" within Greek comedy, a consistent set of tropes and devices that depict tragedy as part of the world inhabited by the characters of these plays. Second, he assembles fragments that show tragic parody, imitations of tragedy that render tragic language humorous or ironic by juxtaposing it with the base characters and quotidian circumstances that make up Greek comedy. Tragedy on the Comic Stage then illustrates these features of fragmentary paratragedy within three intact Aristophanic comedies: Wasps, Women at the Thesmophoria, and Wealth. These new readings of Aristophanes' plays show the value of reading Aristophanes in conjunction with the comic fragments, and insist on the subtlety and complexity of Aristophanic paratragedy.
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Acharnians actor Aeolus Aeschylus Agathon Alexis Andromeda Antiphanes argue Aristophanes Athenaeus Athenian Athens Austin and Olson Bakola Bdelycleon Bit of Paratragedy Chapter character chorus Chremylus Cinesias Coal Pan comedy comedy’s comic fragments comic poets Comic Stage contemporary context costume Cratinus criticism culture of tragedy dance depiction Dicaeopolis Dionysus discussion dithyramb Dobrov Echo Electra engagement with tragedy Eubulus Eupolis Euripidean Euripides fans festival fifth-century fourth century Frogs genre Gerytades Gnesippus Hegelochus Helen Jocasta joke Melanthius Meletus metatheatrical Mnesilochus mocked mythological Nesselrath 1990 Obsessed with Song Odysseus paratragic Pherecrates Philocleon Philoxenus Phoenician Women Phrynichus Plato play plot poetic poetry quotation reference repetition Sannyrion satyr play scene Slater Sommerstein Sophocles speaker Sthenelus Strattis suggests Teleclides Telephus Thesmo Thesmophoria tragedian tragedy’s tragic culture tragic language tragic parody tragic performance tragic poets Trygaeus underworld Wasps Wealth wine Wright Zeus ἂν γὰρ δὲ καὶ μὲν τὴν τοῖς τὸν τοῦ