Aristophanes And The Definition Of Comedy English Literature Essay

July 19, 2017 English Literature

Silk ‘s book offers a new and ambitious add-on to the big principal of unfavorable judgment on Aristophanes, and the argument sing the nature of the amusing genre. His dianoetic book begins with a clear and comprehensive debut, outlying his purpose to ‘define Aristophanes ‘ literary illustriousness, ‘ and to go from the historical argument of ‘serious purpose ‘ and ‘intentionalist premises, ‘ ( 1 ) analyzing and concentrating alternatively on the aesthetic qualities of Aristophanes ‘ authorship, such as manner and linguistic communication. The book is every bit much a general treatment of the genre of comedy as it is on Aristophanes.

Silk Begins by seting ‘Old Comedy ‘ into context, explicating its construction as ‘expansive and unpredictable ‘ ( 9 ) . He examines the intent of comedy and the function Aristophanes plays within the genre, and covers a broad scope of subjects throughout the book. Possibly the most dramatic of these is his treatment of the versatility of comedy, and its symbiotic relationship to calamity.

Silk argues that Aristophanes is preoccupied with calamity, and in peculiar Euripides who is described as ‘the original author par excellence ‘ ( 48 ) . Aristophanes entreaties to the genre of calamity to give his poesy authorization. Silk challenges the position dictated by Aristotle that comedy and calamity should be regarded as natural polar antonyms. Silk strongly presents this premise as ‘pernicious, ‘ ( 55 ) as the latter is excessively frequently privileged over the former. He convincingly argues that Aristophanes ‘sees in calamity an indispensable point of mention ‘ ( 41 ) in the procedure of specifying the amusing genre. Silk ‘s treatment of calamity Begins in chapter one, where he presents a close linguistic communication analysis of three gaps of the dramas Wealth, Frogs and Archanians, with the purpose to demo that all dramas ‘have one component in common from get downing to stop: calamity ‘ ( 38 ) . He uses the subsequent chapters in which to lucubrate on Aristophanes usage of calamity, which Silk interprets, non politically, but as a claim to seriousness as an art signifier. Comic earnestness is dependent on temper, which Silk explains by usage of theoreticians, such as Kierkegaard, Freud, and Pirandello.

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Silk puts frontward a compelling statement on the issue of ‘seriousness ‘ and ‘serious comedy ‘ where he deconstructs the equivocal term ‘serious ‘ ( 301 ) . He suggests that the word is full of intensions that ought non to be associated with Aristophanes, such as ‘sober ‘ and ‘honest, ‘ and that the lone adjustment definition is ‘substantial ‘ ( 315 ) . He contends whether the dramas are politically serious or non, and criticizes theoreticians, in peculiar Heath and Henderson, for holding ‘fundamentally flawed ‘ ( 308 ) statements because they are dependent on specifying earnestness in relation to historical eventuality, but alternatively we ought to refocus on Aristophanes ‘ as a author.

Silk significantly contributes to the treatment on character and word picture. He claims a characteristic of word picture, like the secret plan, is ‘discontinuity, ‘ and has little or no concern for logical effect or a realistic handling of infinite and clip. Silk describes the characters as ‘anti-realist ‘ and ‘re-creative ‘ because they are ‘not containable within a realist apprehension of human character ‘ ( 212 ) at all. Silk attempts to clear up whether these ‘re-creative ‘ characters can be seen as persons or types, and concludes that the chief characters, who have the ‘capacity to animate themselves afresh ‘ ( 221 ) are able to transform and originate the action of the secret plan. Silk substantiates this claim with a treatment of Philocleon ‘s transcendency of the political in Wasps, and the surpassing of the bounds imposed by the deductions inherent in his name. Silk argues that critics fail to value the comedy as an art signifier because of the laterality of the realist tradition in literary theory, established by Aristotle. It is because Aristophanes is non Aristotelean that we must ‘painstakingly retrace ‘ ( 158 ) the definition of his comedy. It is through the Reconstruction of his re-creative characters, such as Philocleon, that we can get down to value the comedy as an art signifier.

Silk presents a peculiarly enlightening attack to Aristophanes ‘ poesy by discoursing it in relation to a larger literary context, and giving considerable comparing to modern minds, including Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Adorno, Shakespeare and Brecht, particularly when showing the futility and ineffectualness of the treatment on Aristophanes ‘ political earnestness. Silk maintains that critics fail in presuming that the earnestness of the dramas are dependent on the poet ‘s purpose, but the treatment of Aristophanes ‘ purpose is slightly excessively dismissed in the thick of Silk ‘s literary survey, as he wholly disregards the possibility that purpose can be outside a historical attack. However, he uses modern theories to great consequence, particularly in his treatment of Aristophanes ‘ stylistic diverseness and mobility of linguistic communication through the usage of apposition, parallel constructions and parataxis, where he elucidates the Russian formalist rule of defamiliarization. These literary-theoretical rules, of defamiliarization and destabilization, lend themselves efficaciously to excite new responses to familiar objects, and to the familiar ‘realist ‘ impressions of Aristotle that we ought to expose and to fling.

Stylistically, Silk ‘s book is hard to read, turn toing complex and abstract issues, and imparting itself to an advanced classicist with an in deepness cognition of Aristophanes and his bing unfavorable judgment, possibly with an involvement in comparative literature. His attack is much like Aristophanes ‘ ; to destabilise our premises, and to concentrate the treatment towards an ahistorical analysis of his authorship. The book is compiled and revised from ‘several antecedently published essays and articles, ‘ ( 22 ) and whilst the concluding decision discoursing ‘pathos ‘ as an aesthetic and literary quality engages with the concluding essay, but fails to supply a cohesive and satisfactory decision to the remainder of the book. Even so, each chapter separately engages with the repeating thematic issues of comedy, earnestness and Aristophanes ‘ stylistic diverseness, and there is a coincident battle between the close reading and the literary critical theory, without take awaying from the dianoetic intent of the book: to supply a new position in the treatment of genre in Aristophanic comedy.

Silk ‘s book is both sophisticated and advanced. He manages to track from a close textual survey of specific transitions of Aristophanes ‘ dramas to the larger conflicting treatment on the amusing genre. Silk has a sophisticated attack, and succeeds in defining Aristophanes ‘ literary singularity. It is good worth the investing of clip and money, and is a serious, and by this I mean ‘substantial, ‘ part to Aristophanic scholarship.


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