This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of the nature of the relationship between classic Athenian drama and Athenian social reality. It argues that the problem with almost all the metaphors used to describe the classical Athenian world-stage relationship is that the relationship that they have posited between the fictions represented on stage, and the world inhabited by its spectators, is fundamentally binary — one reflects the other, etc. But the relationship was never so straightforward: many of the spectators had once performed in dramatic choruses themselves, and may often have been watching their own sons and grandsons participating. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.
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