CLSC 311

Ancient Comedy

This class surveys the surviving plays of Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, and Terence. The class discusses the structural features of Old Comedy (such as the chorus and the parabasis), the canonical definitions of Old, Middle, and New comedy, as well as the revolution of style and taste that differentiates Menander from Aristophanes. In the mythic world of tragedy, mortal trespass results in tragic consequences. In comedy, on the other hand, the mortal realm ' flawed, confused, and rudely physical ' arrives at the curtain both victorious and fecund. The class looks at the ways in which comedy transgresses social norms and the role of the carnivalesque in ancient culture. Students need not know Greek or Latin but must be willing to perform in front of their classmates.