‘All good comedy makes people reflect on the nature of their society.’

‘All good comedy makes people reflect on the nature of their society.’

Which of the plays you have studied do you think best illustrates this statement, and why?

In your answer you must include discussion of at least one play by each of the two playwrights (Aristophanes, Plautus) (50)


Less- but still some political satire and ref to society

  1. Strepsiades says he will pay Socrates money for teaching him: Attack on Sophists and their extortionate fees and how they might exploit society.
  2. Strepsiades asks where the jurymen are on the map: mockery of Athens jury system and the prevalence of law in society.
  3. Cleon re-election attacked as well as the poor placed finish of Clouds. Questions societies decisions.


Lots of political satire and references to society

  1. Peace of Nicias 421BC: A ‘truce’: mocked by Lysistrata: what did you inscribe on the stone under the peace treaty today. Does it make audience question their leaders decisions? Maybe. Does it make them reconsider letting women into politics? Probably not.
  2. Stratyllis complains of decrees on Boeotian Eel (banned because it was a foreign, enemy good)- how men, the law makers enforce law unto women who have no position in the decision making process.
  3. Sicilian Expedition mocked- keep an eye on the generals there: Lampito
  4. Lysistrata wool working metaphor- attacks factionalism of democracy etc
  5. Lysistrata comments on how women suffer the most from war: they raise children, to then be slaughtered…and the issues of gender imbalance and how old women have no chance of marriage…but older men still do


The Brothers Menaechmus

Much less satire- maybe more related to not being deceived??

  1. Patron and Client relationships? Pg 106, Peniculus complains about past poor treatment by patron….
  2. Menaechmus about patron and client/Roman law pg 123

The Swaggering Soldier

Much less satire- maybe more related to not being deceived??

  1. Importance of sight? Being aware? Sceledrus deceived despite seeing. Shows how society can be cruel and manipulative?
  2. Attacks the exuberance and showy nature of Pyrgopolynices: perhaps showing how those that show off will be brought down in society?

Argument: Aristophanes’ plays best illustrate the statement in that they help the audience to reflect on society much more directly than Plautus’. Lysistrata and to a lesser extent, Clouds, have sundry satirical attacks on contemporary figures, foreigners and effeminates. Yet, Plautus’ plays barely, if ever, reference to contemporary political figures. At the smallest extent they cause reflection in the sense that they perhaps warn the audience not to be deceived, but in truth these plays were enjoyed for their situational comedy: mistaken identity and confusion.



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