By John Zumbrunnen
Aristophanic Comedy and the problem of Democratic Citizenship unearths in Aristophanes' comedies a fancy comedian disposition worthy for assembly the elemental problem of standard citizenship. That problem, Zumbrunnen argues, emerges from the stress among democratic impulses: a rebelliousness that resists all makes an attempt to impose any type of institutionalized rule; and a tendency towards collective motion taken via associations of well known rule. Democracy calls for that standard electorate negotiate the stress among those usually conflicting impulses. Aristophanes' comedies relaxation upon and search to instill in spectators a fancy comedian disposition that holds an easy social gathering of uprising in stress with an appreciation for the prepared collective motion essential to lead to actual swap. John Zumbrunnen is affiliate Professor of Political technology on the college of Wisconsin, Madison, and the writer of Silence and Democracy: Athenian Politics in Thucydides' heritage in addition to various articles and essays.
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Additional info for Aristophanic Comedy and the Challenge of Democratic Citizenship
As Peace reminds us, the Athenian men (and Peace really only speaks of Athenian men) see themselves as always on the move, and they understand the war as being about commotion. Here we might recall the description of the Athenians offered by Thucydides’s Corinthian envoys, as they warn the Spartans of the enemies they face: “The Athenians are addicted to innovation, and their designs are characterized by swiftness, alike in conception and execution. . They are daring beyond their judgment, and in danger they are sanguine.
Panhellenic flight in Peace is associated with the loftiness of a human seeking the gods. It moves beyond particularized identities and their embodiment in particularized human beings. Put differently, panhellenism in Peace appears as a sharing of the human: it links humans as a group of beings standing in a (tortured) relationship to the gods. Panhellenic flight in Lysistrata, though, is linked not to an appeal to the gods but to the sex strike. 34 Here panhellenism, in other words, puts at center stage the physicality of being human rather than the relationship of the human to that which is beyond human, something represented by the appearance of Reconciliation as a beautiful, naked young woman 38 Peaceful Voyages whose body is divided up by the combatants.
This line reflects the complex way in which Aristophanes has his characters address the audience: part mockery, part rank flattery (especially of the “supermen,” the judges seated in the front row). Such things at once confirm and yet playfully close the distance between audience and playwright. Again, this is familiar stuff from a variety of Aristophanic comedies. Peace stands out, though, in the extent to which it not only has the actors address the audience but also makes the spectators part of the action of the play itself.
Aristophanic Comedy and the Challenge of Democratic Citizenship by John Zumbrunnen