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Lost Dramas of Classical AthensGreek Tragic Fragments$
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Fiona McHardy, James Robson, and David Harvey

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780859897525

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859897525.001.0001

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Aristophanes on How to Write Tragedy

Aristophanes on How to Write Tragedy

What You Wear Is What You Are

(p.173) 9 Aristophanes on How to Write Tragedy
Lost Dramas of Classical Athens

James Robson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines scenes from two of Aristophanes' plays, where the tragic poets Euripides (in the Acharnians) and Agathon (in the Thesmophoriazusae) are encountered in the midst of composing their tragedies. One of the aims of the chapter is to shed some light on Aristophanes' own compositional processes as a comic writer. It is organized as follows. Sections I and II explore the way in which the composition of tragedy and the modus operandi of the two tragic poets are represented by Aristophanes. Section III places this representation within the wider context of ancient beliefs about the process of poetic composition and then assesses the extent to which Aristophanes' views of this process were either derivative or innovative. Section IV offers some concluding remarks on what the discussion can teach us about the nature of Aristophanes' own compositional technique.

Keywords:   Greek tragedies, tragic fragments, Aristophanes, Euripides, Acharnians, Agathon, Thesmophoriazusa, tragic poets, poetic composition

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