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Overview.
 

Menander

 

The comedians of ancient Athens and Rome were poets of elegance, anger, obscenity, and morality.

     Despite these often contradictory messages, their plays have stood the test of time.

     In this course we shall survey the works of Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus and Terence.  We shall approach the plays from different perspectives and contexts — historical, cultural, theatrical — in order to understand how they function as play as well as artifacts of individual artists and their societies.

     In addition, we shall augment our survey with the testimonies of a tragedian, Euripides, some of whose plays walk the line between comedy and tragedy.


Objectives.
 

The specific goals for this course are as follows:

  • to understand the content, form, scope and structure of ancient comedy;
  • to approach comedy as a vehicle for both narrative and social commentary;
  • to discern how comedy differs from other genres; and
  • to compare the sensibilities of ancient and modern audiences.

     Furthermore, students will draw upon universal skills of critical reading and thinking, and will communicate these skills in class, in performance, and in written exercises.

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© 2002 Skidmore College Classics Department