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Aristophanes and Tragic Lamentation: The Case of Acharnians 1069-142 and 1174-234

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image of Mnemosyne

The influence exerted by tragedy on the comedies of Aristophanes has attracted much attention and this article examines one of its manifestations—his preoccupation with tragic lamentation. Focusing, in particular, on Acharnians 1069-142 and 1174-234, I attempt to examine how he exploits some of the basic features of tragic laments in the context of the comic plot and to discuss how this parodic juxtaposition of the polar worlds of tragedy and comedy functions within the play. A detailed consideration of parallels from tragedy suggests that Aristophanes had in mind specific tragic patterns, in the exaggeration and/or distortion of which the audience would no doubt have recognized some of the most striking characteristics of tragic lamentation.

Affiliations: 1: University of Crete, Greece


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