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Aristophanes- The Clouds.docx

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University of Washington
CLAS 430

 Contemporary satire: Monty Python, *Steven Cobbarr*  Pokes fun @ current events for instructional purposes. How to do satire:  Set up a target  Exaggerate or distort characteristics  Attack (insults, physical humor, sophisticated attacks on the target’s language/beliefs/actions a. Appeal to all people. Some jokes are funny to everyone, some elude to pop culture (a certain sector) highbrow books/politics to appeal to the higher culture.  Plays performed twice a year at the festival (City Dionysis) 6 days long in spring AND festival (Lenaia) 4 days long in winter.  Plays performed in competition with each other. Typically 5 plays, 3 best plays given 1 , 2 , 3 rd place.  Chose 1 name from each urn (1 for each tribe)  10,000 people in the audience (may be exaggerated) male citizens who could afford to pay price of admission.  People came with expectations based on other plays they’ve seen. Conventions of Athenian Comedy: 1. Religion 2. Form – same structure  Prologos (prologue)  Parados (entrance song)  Main character seeks help for trouble  Agon (competition or dispute) leading up to a debate,  Parabasis (song delivered by the Chorus alone, may have more than one)  Play ends with exodus (concluding scene of the play featuring a celebration or festivity) 3. Music & Dancing 4. Obscenity (i.e. costumes, dialogue) 5. Personal ridicule (sometimes actors depict famous people or jokes are made at the expense of famous people) The Clouds  Performed at City Dionysia in 423 BCE  Stepsiades and Pheidippides in bed. Pheidippides likes spending money on horses, Stepsiades worried about debt. If he does not pay his debt soon, his creditors will take him to court. Plan is to take to High Brow Hall (school) where Socrates is a teacher.  Pheidipides says no. Stepsiades goes to school, committed to go to school. Socrates introduces him to the gods. Socrates tries to teach Stepsiades  Debate takes place between True Logic VS False Logic (personified logic by actor) true logic favors old fashioned education (boys learned to be strong, respected parents) false logic disputes true logics arguments employing mythological logic as fast. True logic backs down to false logic.  “The Old and the New Day” = last day of the month. On this day of the month, creditors allowed to initiate persecution to debtors. Pheidipides decides to take the name of the day literally. Uses false logic – how can any day but old and new? 2 creditors back down.  Chorus issues warning that Stepsiades will soon regret teaching his son false logic. S & P debate over old VS new (Euripides) poetry. P starts beating up his father and argues using false logic that beating his father up is actually acceptable. S appeals to custom and law, P responds by advocating rule of nature rather than the rule of law. S is unable to win argument with son. S blames clouds for the trouble BUT chorus blames him for neglecting the gods and using dishones
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