Aristophanes: C. 449-c. 385 BC

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The great comic playwright, Aristophanes, belongs in a book about the philosophers of Ancient Greece for a number of reasons. When Aristophanes in a play ridicules Cleon for corruption, or Socrates for sophistry, or Euripides for absurd heroic rhetoric, or the people of Athens for their insane devotion to war, the criticism is not confined to a cult following in a specialist theatre or a pay-TV channel. For Aristophanes and his contemporaries, philosophy, literature, politics, religion, and the rest all existed together, and the practitioners of these now-separate activities lived under each others’ feet; often under each other’s skins. Almost the whole of Aristophanes’ career as a playwright coincided with the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, and this decades-long crisis is a constant counterpoint to the joy of his work. Aristophanes’ message is that we should trust the body and its natural desires for comfort, pleasure, and procreation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMeet the Philosophers of Ancient Greece
Subtitle of host publicationEverything you always Wanted to know about Ancient Greek Philosophy but didn’t know who to ask
EditorsPatricia F. O'Grady
PublisherTaylor and Francis - Balkema
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781351918411, 9781315249223
ISBN (Print)9780754651314, 9780754651321, 9780754651314
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Patricia F. O’Grady 2005.


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