Aristophanes and the Comic Hero by Cedric H. Whitman PDF

By Cedric H. Whitman

ISBN-10: 0674045009

ISBN-13: 9780674045002

As a rule one is chary of claiming one of these factor a few serious paintings, despite the fact that extraordinary the writer; the extra one appears to be like down the lengthy point of view of literary reviews, the extra one feels how a lot of what we're prone to consider because the shattering discovery of our personal new release is absolutely the typical perception of the a long time, otherwise phrased to slot the style. yet Professor Whitman deals anything unattempted, as far as i do know, from antiquity to the current day, and that's an entire and systematic research of Aristophanes, no longer as a resource for past due fifth-century heritage and antiquities, nor as a record within the background of drama, nor as a natural spring of Attic vocabulary and syntax, yet as a poet; a comic book poet.

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Of ancient Greek popular songs and entertainments little enough survives, but even that little bears out their kinship with comedy. In the next chapter we shall observe certain literary forebears of the comic hero, which seem to be at least as important for comedy's artistic development as its cultic origins, whatever they may have been. But certain fragments of a less literary nature, such as children's songs, drinking songs, and riddles, also played a part in the luxuriant growth of comedy. T h e parody of a famous riddle in the Wasps is well known.

His heroism may differ in content or in kind, but not in essential shape. As a kind of Everyman, he uses the grand style in his own right; it is appropriate to his nature, for the grand style is wayward, and seems to invent its own rules as it goes. So too, the comic hero himself is wayward, and abides by no rules except his own, his heroism consisting largely in his infallible skill in turning everything to his own advantage, often by a mere trick of language. H e is a great talker. Dicaeopolis' rags and rhetoric, borrowed from Euripides and the Sophists, Agoracritus' ferocious boastings, and the deft word play by which Peithetaerus wins over the birds are tokens of the comic hero's will and ability to use all 25 ARISTOPHANES AND T H E C O M I C HERO things to his end.

Deviltry for its own sake, or rather, deviltry with an eye to ultimate mastery, could 3ι ARISTOPHANES AND THE COMIC HERO scarcely find a better paradigm than the story of how Hermes, the very day he was born, leaped out of his cradle and stole the cows of his illustrious brother Apollo. H e was, so to speak, to the manner born: Then she [Maia] bore a child of many devices, crafty-minded, Robber, and rustler of cattle, conductor of dreams, Watcher by night and lurker by gates, who was presently destined To show forth wonderful deeds among the immortal gods.

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Aristophanes and the Comic Hero by Cedric H. Whitman


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