1. Parody Where a serious story / myth / character is ‘taken off’, or made fun of. Aristophanes particularly loved to parody the tragic poets that he shared the stage with. Eg. The Odysseus Parody in the Prologue of Wasps
Philocleon as ‘tragic hero’ from the Parodos through to the Agon :
- tragic singing
- attempt to stab himself
2. Satire Where humour is used to provide a political or social message. Aristophanes used satire to point out to Athenians where he thought their values were wrong, or where politicians like Cleon were leading them astray. Eg. Xanthias and Sosias’ Dreams at the beginning of the Prologue
2. Satire Where humour is used to make a political or social point. Aristophanes used satire to point out to Athenians where he thought their values were wrong, or where politicians like Cleon were leading them astray.
Mocking drunkeness, gambling and homosexuality when the slaves try to get the crowd to guess what the problem is with Procleon.
The chorus appear as Wasps – jurors are nasty old men.
The Mock Battle – satirises Athens’ paranoia through the chorus’ reaction to Anticleon
The same episode satirises the older and younger generations (see notes on Old vs. Young)
Procleon’s speech in the Agon – points out corruption of jurymen
3. Situational Comedy / Farce Aristophanes uses ridiculous situations to poke fun at society. In the first part of the Wasps, this is through the ridiculous scenario of an old man addicted to jury duty. 4. Slapstick This is Aristophanes most basic form of humour. It is straight physical comedy. Eg. Procleon’s attempts to escape and the Mock Battle between the chorus and Anticleon and the slaves. Right : Still from a production of The Knights
5. Scatological and Sexual Humour The theatre provided an escape from the conventions of society, including politeness and appropriateness. Aristophanes played up to this by including all sorts of sexual innuendo (suggestive play on words) and coarse language and actions.
6. Verbal Humour This is the most common form of humour in Aristophanes’ plays. Puns / plays on words are scattered throughout the text. Eg. “Ship of state … Get launched” - Prologue
7. Bathos Bathos is when a scene or speech has a sudden change of mood from serious to silly. In Aristophanes, bathos was frequently also satirical, or scatological. 1. “Blow on me with thy breathe divine… Examples – finish these quotes (all by Procleon): 2. “And now lend your aid divine… 3. “Speed, speed my soul! … and serve with vinegar and brine.” … and I’ll promise not to piddle in the reeds around your shrine.” … Where is my soul?”