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Aristophanes and the Cloak of Comedy"Affect, Aesthetics, and the Canon"$
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Mario Telò

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226309699

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226309729.001.0001

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Aristophanes’ Electra Complex and the Future of Comedy

Aristophanes’ Electra Complex and the Future of Comedy

(p.125) 5 Aristophanes’ Electra Complex and the Future of Comedy
Aristophanes and the Cloak of Comedy

Mario Telò

University of Chicago Press

This chapter suggests that the revised Clouds (419–417 BCE) extends the narrative of the failure of the first version in 423 by deploying against the rival Eupolis the same delegitimating strategies used in Wasps against Cratinus. The chapter starts by considering how Aristophanes appropriates Electra’s defense of paternal authority to transform the conflict of comic modes in Wasps into opposing types of filial relationship: the child committed to avenging a wronged father versus the spoiled son who brings only ruin. The chapter also draws out affinities between Eupolis and Socrates, the anti-paternal teacher.The revised Clouds seems to depict an audience that the bad son Eupolis has deprived of Aristophanes’ protective cloak—just as Socrates steals the cloak of the comic father Strepsiades. Read through the intratextuality of parabasis and plot, Strepsiades’ destruction of Socrates’ school suggests the audience’s revenge for this loss, a turning of the implied violence of vulgar comedy against its practitioners in an incendiary moment of redemptive recognition that anticipates Aristophanes’ eventual supremacy in the comic canon.

Keywords:   Clouds, Wasps, Aristophanes, Cratinus, Eupolis, Electra, Socrates, canon, audience, father

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