through some of Aristophanes’ parabases, and which seems, at least, to be speaking directly to us with the hortatory and moralizing voice of the author, has been hard for many to resist. Political extrapolation about Aristophanes’ politics has hardly disappeared, even by scholars who would claim to have
because he taunts his audiences so often with the possibility —never quite fully realized—that they are actually hearing the poet’s voice, that this is Aristophanes confiding in them about the way things are and ought to be. 3
If we think we are listening to the poet’s voice, and if that voice is
form of government, which as such entails unifying people through constraint, conformity, and the incorporation of the outside within the inside. 6 Such a contradiction is exemplified by majority rule, one of the essential principles of democratic government, which absorbs dissenting voices into a
(Let’s Do It).” 2 That audiences found it funny is well attested by the recordings that can be accessed. But what is funny about it? Why, for instance, do we laugh at the lines:
I’m on fire
I could handle half the tenors in a male voice choir.
Are we laughing because we think
word “democratic” to describe the act of giving voice to a diverse group of speakers, most of whom would never have had access to a voice in the democracy of fifth-century Athens. So, unsurprisingly, Aeschylus retorts that Euripides should die for daring to have done what he did.
obligations implied by them, to voice the expectations that go with them, to signify that one accepts those obligations and to acknowledge the other as a partner in a χάρις relationship. Within this script, the phrases χάριν ἔχειν 121 and χάριν εἰδέναι represent the introspective, or internalized, moments in
A well-established line of research, some of the most recent by Bakola, Biles, Ruffell, Telò, and—from a very different point of view—Wright, illustrates how the theme of competition, which is central to the poetics of Old Comedy, contributed to each playwright’s creation of his own “authorial voice
similar script recurs in funerary epigrams of deceased youths—albeit with a different, somewhat twisted, perspective: the epitaphs are conventionally cast in first-person perspective, formally giving voice to the deceased youth and suggesting internal focalization, but in effect voicing the parents’ grief
clustering, its position within the genre as a whole, and its near-total avoidance of political criticism of the traditional Right and its leading voices. Were comedy our only evidence, we would know nothing, for example, of the scandal of the Mysteries in 415 and the some 65 kaloi kagathoi implicated in
voice like a singed sow” (φάλλαινα πανδοκεύτρια, | ἔχουσα φωνὴν ἐµπεπρηµένης ὑός, Wasps 35–36) 27 —draws (hyperbolically) on a performance style that other sources describe as violent. 28 Another comic poet described Cleon as “biting” (Hermippus, fr. 47), as early as ca. 430. It is how Thucydides