Who Is Aristophanes (Aristophanes)?November 30, 2020
Aristophanes (Aristophanes) is a thinker and comedy writer who lived between 456 BC and 386 BC. Most of his comedies deal with the social, literary and philosophical life of Athens. The Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta (431-404 BC) also occupies an important place among his writings. Aristophanes, who opposed the war, has always criticized the pro-war Athenian rulers, from Pericles to Cleophon.
The only source of limited information about his life is his games. Although there are those who claim to be an Athenian descended from the Pandionis tribe, the actual birthplace is not known exactly. The reason for the accusation of the Athenians for not being Athenian may be his or his father Philippos’ property on the island of Aigina. Only 11 of the approximately 40 plays he wrote have survived until today. It is known that his first comedy Daitaleis, dated 427 BC, which did not survive, was a satire on the educational and moral theories of the time.
Aristophanes is the only surviving representative of the Old Comedy. He produced his works at the end of this period of comic dramaturgy, where choir, mime and burleskin retained their importance. His last play, which does not include a choir, is known as the only surviving example of the Middle Comedy, which took a short time and left its place to New Comedy before the 4th century BC. The preservation of the importance of Aristophanes’ works today, the creativity in his dialogues, the satire element that is generally used fairly and in moderation, the brilliance of his parodies in which he mocked Euripides in particular, and the liveliness of the choral songs are attributed to them. Another feature that ensures the validity of his works is that he deals with universal themes such as peace and women’s rights.
Aristophanes, considered the greatest writer of ancient comedy, was born in Aegina. His father’s name is Philippos. Although there is no certain information about his youth, it is known that his first play, “The Feast of the Sages”, which has not survived, was played in 427 BC. Thus, it can be said that the period of Aristophanes ‘playwright corresponds to the period after Pericles’ death (429 BC). The author has reached the heyday of Athenian democracy.
The self-seeking and hypocritical behavior of those who took over after Pericles ‘death is often featured in Aristophanes’ comedies. Especially those who served as war makers during the Peloponnesian War are ridiculed in Aristophanes’ comedy works called “The Peace Trilogy”. This trilogy consists of the plays of the author “Lysistrata” or “Women’s War” (411 BC), “Peace” (421 BC), “The Kömürcüler” (425 BC).
Aristophanes was a writer who adhered to tradition and reacted to every innovation. He was conservative in his thoughts. He did not like the innovations in literature and art. According to him, the best tragedian writer is Aiskhylos. However , he would not keep Euripides , who was new in every way , and made fun of him in his comedies. The attitude of the author was the same towards the Sophists and naturally towards Socrates ; Because in Aristophanes’ eyes they were dangerous revolutionaries, thinkers who broke traditions and did not count customs. Despite all this, he entrusts women with the peace-building task he hopes will take place in the play “Lysistrata”, written in 411 BC. This is an important step in Athenian society, where women are not even considered citizens.
The second play of Aristophanes, which has not survived, is “The Babylonians” (426 BC). This play is a work that stoned Athens’ domestic and foreign policy. The game was played at Dionysos festivals and 3 times during the Lenaia festival. Aristophanes gave his works at the end of the dramatic period when the choir and mime retained their importance. His last play (“Plutos”), which does not include a choir, is known as the only surviving example of the Middle Comedy, which was short-lived and was replaced by New Comedy before the 4th century BC.
The fact that Aristophanes’ works maintain their importance today can be attributed to the creativity in his dialogues, the satire element that is generally used in place and in moderation. In addition to the brilliance of his parodies and the vitality of his choral songs, which he mocked Euripides in particular, his handling of universal themes such as peace, male-female relations and satire to power are other qualities that ensure the validity of his works. More than anything else, it deals with the theme of love between men and women. Money and dignity are sufficient conditions for a happy ending in their games.