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Aristophanes: Wasps$
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Alan H. Sommerstein

Print publication date: 1983

Print ISBN-13: 9780856682124

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9780856682124.001.0001

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(p.1) Wasps
Aristophanes: Wasps

Alan H. Sommerstein

Liverpool University Press

This chapter talks about the play called Wasps, whichwas produced at the Lenaea in 422 B.C. and considered as Aristophanes' first production after the failure of Clouds at the City Dionysia in 423. It cites the ancient prose synopsis that states that Wasps won second prize, while Philonides came first with The Preview and Leucon third with Ambassadors. It also describes the domination of Cleon and of an aggressive policy as the two major swings of the political pendulum at Athens in the year and a half preceding the production of Wasps. The chapter refers to Wasps as a political satire and a comedy on the theme of the conflict of generations, in which Cleon is attacked and made to appear on stage in the degrading caricature of a dog. It talks about the line of attack inWasps that concentrated less on Cleon personally and more on his alleged domination of the law courts and its jurors.

Keywords:   Wasps, Aristophanes, political pendulum, Cleon, satire, comedy

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