Aristophanes ' Views On Democracy

1949 Words8 Pages
Jennifer Bostwick September 20, 2017 Western Civilization Section 011 Flawed, but Functional: Aristophanes Views on Democracy Aristophanes wrote The Acharnians at a time where the world he saw around him was changing. Athens had been at war for six years with no end in sight, the leader who started the war has been killed by a plague, and just three years prior Athens almost voted to kill off one of its allies for trying to leave the Delian League. He was seeing a whole new side of Athens. A side in which the concept of an independent polis has been lost and Athens is at war with its former allies. These are the things that inspire Aristophanes’ Greek comedy to be born. He uses the theater to address the questions he has about what is…show more content…
This radically affects how the people are voting in the ekklesia because they cannot properly vote if they have been fed lies and no longer know what is true. As the story continues Aristophanes continues to show the audience these problems and introduces them to one more big problem. When the audience is introduced to Lamachus they are also introduced to how money is playing a huge role in governmental decisions . People will do more if they are being paid and that has clearly become a huge part of why people are partaking in their governmental duties. After identifying all these problems Aristophanes has caused the audience is to begin to questioning if Athenian Democracy could ever really work, just as he was feeling when he was inspired to write the novel. Aristophanes gives his opinion on the answer towards the end of the book when his main character runs his own Polis. He uses Dikiaopolis to show the audience what Athens’s needs in order to save the democracy they used to find great pride in being a part of. The ekklesia scene at the beginning of the play is very important to understanding why Aristophanes thinks the democracy is failing, but could be fixed. The distress Dikaioplois shows in the scene is a clear indication that the lack of participation among the Athenian citizens is something that Aristophanes thinks is a huge factor in why the democracy is failing.
Open Document