Unit One: Aristophanes
  Important dates

Unit One is devoted to Aristophanes (c. 447 - c. 383 BCE), the most famous of the old comedians, whose political satire was a scathing as anything produced in modern times. We shall read seven of the poet's eleven surviving plays in chronological order, assessing the ever-deteriorating relationship between comedy and the polis.
January 25
Introduction to CL 223
  • Course syllabus and requirements
  • Introduction to Greek drama
  • The life and times of Aristophanes
  • Introduction to The Acharnians
January 27
  The Acharnians (Lenaea 425, first place)
  • Reactions to the Acharnians
  • Performance: Dikaiopolis v. Lamachus, v. Euripides
  • Production: the Lenaea festival
  • Genre: the parts of comedy
  • Introduction to The Clouds
  Assignments for this class:
  • Aristophanes, Archarnians
February 1
  The Clouds (Dionysia 423, last place, revised after 419)
  • Reactions to The Clouds
  • The comic and the philosophical Socrates
  • Genre: the agon
  • Performance: Right v. Wrong
  • Introduction to The Wasps
  • Production: The City Dionysia, part 1
  Reading for this class:
  • Aristophanes, Clouds
  • Plato, Symposium (selections in packet)
February 3
  The Wasps (Lenaea 422, second place)
  • Production: The City Dionysia, part 2
  • Reactions to The Wasps
  • Aristophanes and props
  • Performance: The trial of Labes the dog
  • Introduction to The Birds
  Assignments for this class:
  • Aristophanes, Wasps
  • Consider the following:

    -- How would you stage the mock trial with Labes the dog?

    -- If you had to explain how the Aristophanic stage works as a series of rules ("Rule #1...Rule #2..." and so on), what sort of rules would you enumerate?
February 8
  The Birds (Dionysia 414, second place)
  Assignments for this class:
February 10
  Lysistrata (Lenaea 411)
  • Society: Anthenian women
  • Reactions to Lysistrata
  • Performance: The prologue of Lysistrata
  Assignments for this class:
February 14
  Semester project deadline
  • Task 1 (Choosing the play) ends at midnight
February 15
  The Frogs (Lenaea 405, first place)
  • Reactions to The Frogs
  • Genre: The origins of tragedy and comedy
  • Stagecraft: The Theater of Dionysus and its audience
  • Performance: The parabasis of the Frogs
  • Results of task 1 announced
  Assignments for this class:
February 17
  The Wealth (388)
  • History: The Peloponnesian War through 404
  • Reactions to The Wealth
  • The end of Athens = the end of comedy?
  • The role of the Chorus
  • Middle comedy
  Reading for this class:
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