Symbolism Of Birds By Aristophanes

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Aristophanes Birds: A View into Athenian Democracy The comical and satirical play by Greek playwright Aristophanes, titled Birds, provided a fanatical escape for the Athenian people during the time of the Peloponnesian War. The citizens were facing the possibility of defeat by Spartan forces, and were looking to regain morale during the war. Birds was performed for The Dionysia Festival of Athens in 414 BC , where commentators could watch with delight, and judges could vote for the best performance. Aristophanes was a comic playwright who enjoyed stirring political issues with his outrageous plot lines and sexual puns. Specifically, Birds was written to caution the Athenians of what symptoms to observe in order to diagnose a corrupt …show more content…

Specifically, “they’re going to eat it up” indicates how the birds will indulge themselves in the ideas Makemedo will present in such an appealing and tasteful way. The subsequent line is a direct address to the birds: “Gentlemen, my heart is full of sorrow for the birds.” (line 467, pg.299) which demonstrates his attempt to appeal to the emotions of the birds rather than depend upon logical reasoning. Aristophanes wanted the audience to understand the likeness between the Athenian politicians and Makemedo on the basis of their ability to appeal to the audience with ethos, or emotional connection. Makemedo claims he is sympathetic to the birds in line 467, yet in the line prior to this, he admits to Goodhope that he is just providing them with something they want to hear through a “feast of a stampeding speech”. Aristophanes reveals with this scene that corruptibility is very plausible when good rhetoric and the appeal to ethos is the sole contributor to a beginning of new social structure. Like Makemedo, Aristophanes makes a pun of the name Goodhope, the other old Athenian man. Goodhope’s name broken down means “The Son of Good Hope” (Birds: Endnotes, pg. 382). By giving him this name, Aristophanes uses symbolism to represent the innocence of the Athenian citizens who blindly followed the well-spoken aristocrats. When Makemedo proclaims to Goodhope: “Well, you bloody followed me!” (line 341, pg. 291) it demonstrates in a literal sense how the good and

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