I would be curious to know more about how this scene is, by genre, specifically a comic performance: The mini-drama with the Scythian archer in Thesmo.
At least the audience is entertained. The training for the symposium helps draw Philocleon out of his tragic obsession. I worry that the lack of paratragedy is evidence from silence, and that Philocleon is so volatile that he could reverse course, but by the time of the finale Philocleon is certainly performing a trugic dance, not a tragic one. Farmer points out on several occasions in this book that comedy can consume tragedy, and come out on top, which is what happens in the finale of Wasps. Chapter 4 is devoted to Thesmo.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
The tragic playwrights Euripides and Agathon are both brought on stage as characters. Telephus, Palamedes, Helen , and Andromeda. For Farmer what is significant is that Mnesilochus, who plays parts in these parodic episodes, meets with failure: Mnesilochus is unable to win over the chorus or to succeed at escaping. In essence Euripides has become a comic playwright, which bears on a related problem that Farmer addresses.
Yet a little later, flipping the argument on its head, he says that Phrynichus wrote beautiful tragedies because he was already beautiful. Farmer agrees with G. Paduano that the two theories can be reciprocal.
In the case of Euripides, however, nature evidently evolves. A small but attractive insight is the recognition of the anomalous position of Echo, the character from Andromeda who appears at Thesmo. She is not simply a character in Thesmo. We are treated here to a curiously literal inter-generic visitation. After the generous treatment given to Wasps and Thesmo.
All three are thin and hungry and were regarded by Aristophanes as failures. Fragments point to an underworld discussion about the qualities and advantages of the different genres.
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Farmer suggests that Aristophanes, by using the mediocre Sannyrion to represent comedy, positions himself in a sublimely superior position outside the boundaries of the genres. The Parodos — parodies the Cyclops of Philoxenus, a dithyramb that had evidently borrowed elements of drama, including entrances, exits, and the use of an actor. Carion briefly takes the part of Polyphemus, and tries to get the chorus to play the parts of sheep, but the members of the chorus refuse to follow the script and decide to play Odysseus and his comrades.
In the Agon — Poverty argues that she is better for mankind than Wealth, which can make men fat. Farmer believes this is a contest between the genres: Poverty is identified as a tragic Fury —24 and invoking fat men would recall the padding on the costumes of comic actors. In the end Chremylus wins with comic techniques: The clues are few, but this is an intriguing way of reading the scene. The line is used as an example of Euripidean logic-chopping, though Farmer reminds us that in the original context Hippolytus does in fact keep his oath.
Euripides' Escape-Tragedies: A Study of Helen, Andromeda, and Iphigenia among the Taurians
This parody may be unfair to Euripides but is hugely effective as comedy. Three fishers went sailing away to the West, Away to the West as the sun went down; Each thought on the woman who loved him the best, And the children stood watching them out of the town; For men must work, and women must weep, And there's little to earn, and many to keep, Though the harbour bar be moaning. Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower, And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down; They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower.
And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
But men must work, and women must weep, Though storms be sudden, and waters deep, And the harbour bar be moaning. Three corpses lay out on the shining sands In the morning gleam as the tide went down, And the women are weeping and wringing their hands For those who will never come home to the town; For men must work, and women must weep, And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep; And good-bye to the bar and it Read more Read less. To get the free app, enter mobile phone number. See all free Kindle reading apps.
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