Download PDF by Cedric H. Whitman: Aristophanes and the Comic Hero

By Cedric H. Whitman

ISBN-10: 0674045009

ISBN-13: 9780674045002

Generally one is chary of claiming this kind of factor a few severe paintings, notwithstanding wonderful the writer; the extra one seems to be down the lengthy viewpoint of literary experiences, the extra one feels how a lot of what we're prone to think about because the shattering discovery of our personal new release is de facto the typical perception of the a while, another way phrased to slot the style. yet Professor Whitman deals anything unattempted, as far as i do know, from antiquity to the current day, and that's a whole and systematic research of Aristophanes, no longer as a resource for overdue fifth-century heritage and antiquities, nor as a rfile within the heritage of drama, nor as a natural spring of Attic vocabulary and syntax, yet as a poet; a comic book poet.

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Example text

H e was, so to speak, to the manner born: Then she [Maia] bore a child of many devices, crafty-minded, Robber, and rustler of cattle, conductor of dreams, Watcher by night and lurker by gates, who was presently destined To show forth wonderful deeds among the immortal gods. " 22 He sees it already as that which it will presently become, somewhat as the Aristophanean hero, once the great conception has formed in his mind, transforms everything he encounters. " And now the real foneria begins. At sunset he starts for Pieria, where Apollo pastured his cattle, selects fifty, and drives them oif backwards, so that their hoofprints will appear to be going the other way, while on his own feet he ties some newly invented sandals of wicker work, designed to obscure his tracks.

His royal progress varies to a degree according to the terms of the plot, but it is regularly a victory of shameless cunning and self-assertion over lesser and more stupid forms of much the same thing, of a Great and Representative Impostor over more partial and limited ones. It will be relevant to scan briefly some of the models to which Aristophanes might have looked in shaping his comic protagonist. The spirit of consummate, individual, and perhaps rascally cleverness is traceable in much early literature, often combined with the loftier traditions of the heroes and the gods.

And though, one might say, a pure consistency is perhaps the surest road to excess, the excess which an Aristophanean hero pursues cannot be one-sided, doctrinaire, or philosophical. Aristophanes has been called anti-philosophic, but he is more supraphilosophic. He is seeking to include·, his ubiquitous negativities aim, indeed, at reducing to absurdity the phenomena of life, but not so much in themselves, as in the broad light of an experience which includes and transcends them. 5 For Old Comedy is a heroic form.

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Aristophanes and the Comic Hero by Cedric H. Whitman


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