By Richard L. Hunter
In penning this booklet at the performs of recent Comedy the author's objective is to fill a spot within the present literature via focusing on what one may search for in looking at and studying those performs and why such an workout may be enjoyable. The social comedy of Menander, Plautus and Terence supplied a mode of comedian drama which was once to turn out the basis of all next western comedy. Dr Hunter supplies a literary account of this drama, putting it in its historic context after which ranging over a couple of particular themes and topics: the dramatic craft of the poets, their exploration of the way to provide type to stereotyped plots and characters, the presentation of ladies, using language and topics from tragedy, where of moralising and philosophy. All Greek and Latin is translated.
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Extra resources for The New Comedy of Greece and Rome
The world of the plays is basically Greek - the cities where the plays are set are Greek, the characters have (often exaggeratedly) Greek names, their dress is essentially Greek, the Romans are barbari, the world of the characters is full of Greek mythology. It is clearly part of the fun that the foolish characters we are watching belong to another society and this otherness is exaggerated in these obvious ways. Into this world, however, Plautus places significant Roman elements. These range from simple Graeco-Latin puns (cf.
Such characters appear throughout the history of ancient comedy: in Aristophanes, one of the pair of slaves with which Knights, Wasps and Peace open does not reappear, and the use of a protatic slave recurs in the Epidicus and Mostellaria of Plautus and the Phormio of Terence. The soldier's parasite, Artotrogus ('Bread-nibbler'), does not reappear after the opening scene of the Miles Gloriosus, and with this parasite may be compared the absurd Chaireas who enters with Sostratos in Menander's Dyscolos but soon finds a reason for tactical retreat in the face of the threat from Cnemon (vv.
The two The form of New Comedy passages which are most often adduced in this context provide no real precedent for Terentian practice. The speaker of a fragment of Antiphanes' Poiesis (fr. 191) complains ironically (cf. below p. 21 In tone and style, however, this passage is far removed from the Terentian prologues and has nothing to say about Antiphanes' rivals. The second passage is an unfortunately fragmentary divine prologue, possibly delivered by Dionysus (Adesp. 252 Austin). The speaker lays stress upon his identity as a god, presumably to contrast himself with the abstract divinities that very frequently delivered the prologues of New Comedy, and he attacks the long-windedness of prologising gods,22 an attack which is nicely ironic when set against his own prolixity.