Menander, New Comedy and the Visual (Cambridge Classical - download pdf or read online

By Antonis K. Petrides

This publication argues that New Comedy has a much richer functionality texture than has formerly been regarded. providing shut readings of the entire significant performs of Menander, it exhibits how intertextuality - the sustained discussion of latest Comedy functionality with the various ideological, philosophical, literary and theatrical discourses of up to date polis tradition - is essential in growing semantic intensity and hence offsetting the effect that the plots are simplistic love tales without political or ideological resonances. It additionally explores how the visible element of the performs ('opsis') is simply as very important as any verbal technique of signification - a phenomenon termed 'intervisuality', interpreting particularly intensity the ways that the masks can infuse quite a few structures of reference into the play. mask just like the panchrēstos neaniskos (the 'all-perfect youth'), for instance, at the moment are filled with that means; therefore, with their ideologically marked physiognomies, they are often robust instigators of literary and cultural allusion.

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Example text

36 Menander and the expansion of reality total self-reliance, historically corresponded not to Diogenes, but to another famous autark, the sophist Hippias (or, at least, his Platonic persona). In Plato’s Hippias Minor (368a8–369a2), the sophist gloats that he has become self-sufficient by maximising his capacity to meet an ever-increasing amount of needs without recourse to external backing: he has learned every skill and craft, and can perform every conceivable task. The sophistic idea of autarky elevates the individual above the communal and puts strain on the foundations of classical society itself.

Chairestratos deems his assertion miaron chrēma (‘a despicable affair’, Asp. 314), and Smikrines himself miarōtatos (‘most despicable’, Asp. 313). 28 Smikrines’ demand is a violation of 26 27 28 Karabelias (1970); Turner (1979); MacDowell (1982); P. Brown (1983). Compare Sostratos’ surprised cry in Dysk. 543–5: ἥκω δ’ ἐνθάδε, | διὰ τί μὲν οὐκ ἔχω λέγειν μὰ τοὺς θεούς, | ἕλκ]ει δέ μ’ αὐτόματον τὸ πρᾶγμ’ εἰς τὸν τόπον (‘I have come here, but honest to God, I cannot say why; it is as if an automatic attraction hauls me to this place’).

Ah, it’s obnoxious Smikrines, who has come for his dowry and his daughter’ (τίς ἔσθ’ ὁ κόπτων τὴν θύραν; ὤ, Σμικρίνης | ὁ χαλεπός, ἐπὶ τὴν προῖκα καὶ την θυγατέρα | ἥκων). Further down Onesimos calls him a λογιστικὸς ἀνήρ (‘a calculating man’). Smikrines’ tirade against Charisios is now more complete thanks to the publication of new fragments by Römer (2012a, 2012b). 37 . . 38 She will defame you. She will demand that everything be held in common and that she have an equal share,39 obviously she will live a cosy life of no trouble.

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