Frogs and Wasps by Aristophanes

1238 Words Feb 17th, 2018 5 Pages
The Athenian audience would expect to be thrust into a world of humour in the City Dionysia, somewhere parallel to their own (e.g. the Athenian jury in the ‘Wasps’, and the failings of the government in ‘Frogs’). It is vital, then, that Aristophanes conveys his political and social views through slapstick, farce, and caricature to interest the audience. This is an important component in both plays as the audience is able to simultaneously accept his diplomatic views whilst being entertained. After all his main point for producing his plays were to produce something with a “little fable, with a moral”.

The ‘Wasps’ is an absurd play, and in most of the parts, we see a lot of satiric, scatological parody in a viciously Anti-Cleon portrayal of the judicial system. Aristophanes intent is didactic (lesson-like) as he teaches his political view that Cleon’s aggression towards Sparta would lead to war. Comedy was key to the portrayal of his political message about the judicial system as it was a very serious idea; therefore it is a key component in ‘lightening up’ his difficult-to-swallow ideas. The comedy is initiated with three simultaneous attacks at Cleonymus. Firstly, the simple effect of a pun is used, as the word aspis has the double meaning of a snake as well as a…

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