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
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:
2. Form – same structure
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)
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
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