Athenian Old Comedy is one of the timelessly funniest and widest-ranging forms of comedy every produced. In this course we will read, perform (selections), and examine four plays by Aristophanes, the greatest of ancient comic playwrights: Frogs, Clouds, Birds, and Wasps, each named for the characters assumed by its masked chorus. Aristophanes' irreverent portrait of the philosopher Socrates in Clouds will be weighed against Plato's more flattering, and ultimately more influential version in the Apology, which we will also read. Slides will be shown to recreate the stunning visual environment of Periclean Athens which literally and figuratively formed the backdrop to the original performances of the plays. This broadly based course will encompass a little military and political history, a little art history, a little social history, a little literary criticism, and a lot of fun.
Course Code: HUM 208