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Classics & Ancient History   >   Aristophanes

Comedy and Democracy

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In this course, Prof. Edith Hall (King's College, London) provides an introduction to the plays of Aristophanes, thinking in particular about the world that Aristophanes lived in and his comic output and focusing in particular on: the link between comedy and democracy, the distinctiveness of Aristophanes as compared to other comic playwrights writing at the same time, the theatrical elements of Old Comedy (music, choreography, costume, etc.), the types of comedy that one finds in the plays themselves, and - finally – the play-world of Aristophanes’ comedies.

Comedy and Democracy

Aristotle in his Poetics makes the connection between comedy and democracy, stating that the two cities that claimed to have invented the genre both did so under democratic constitutions. The greatest democracy of the Greek world was that of Athens, and it is not surprise that Aristophanes flourished in the period that Athenian democracy as at its height. But why should this be the case? In this module, we explore the links between comedy and democracy. Why did comedy and democracy make such good bed-fellows?

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hall, E. (2018, August 15). Aristophanes - Comedy and Democracy [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hall, E. "Aristophanes – Comedy and Democracy." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Prof. Edith Hall

Prof. Edith Hall

Durham University