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Greek set book (A)


Module description

In this module we discuss fifth- and fourth-century BC Athenian comedy in its cultural and political context. The focus will be on Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusai and Menander's Samia, two works which foreground the complex, evolving role of women in Athenian democratic society, and associated tensions and debates. The classes and coursework involve close analysis of the two texts from a linguistic, literary, historical and cultural point of view. You will be expected to prepare portions of the text in advance and then discuss the major issues emerging in class.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • trace the development from Old to New Comedy, with their distinctive styles of drama and social commentary
  • understand the roles of theatrical performances in Athenian civic life
  • study dramatic composition, content and character development
  • analyse comedic reflections on current events, politics and culture, especially the complexities and contradictions of democratic society and gender relations.