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DIONYSOS' ROLES IN ARISTOPHANES' FROGS

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In Frogs Aristophanes both tests new parameters of Old Comedy and also strengthens existing ones. From the start, Dionysos is preoccupied with literary technique, style, and content. While Dionysos is a common and suitable figure in Old Comedy, the poet is not satisfied just to explore the comic possibilities of god qua comic hero/actor. Instead, Aristophanes has Dionysos exchange acting and festival roles while remaining visibly as the god Dionysos, and thereby essentially celebrate his own festival. As such, the god by playing the various roles of the participants of his festival provides unity to the seemingly disparate structure of the play. Furthermore, by bringing the patron of drama onto the stage in this comedy so concerned with literary techniques and merit, Aristophanes adds some authority to his own ideas, spoken or enacted by the god in his various roles, concerning literature.

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