Talking about laughter in Aristophanes
This chapter catalogues and analyses the vocabulary (nine verbs, and the nouns and adjectives derived from them) used by Aristophanes to describe laughter (or rather to gelān, which covered both laughing and smiling). Almost all of these lexical items, except gelān itself, are specifically associated with one of three categories of laughter: derisive laughter at the expense of someone who has been put to shame; laughter deliberately induced by a person whose interest is served by it (most often a comic dramatist!); and the spontaneous laughter of victimless pleasure (symposium, festival, consensual sex, reunion, escape from suffering or danger). Successful comic heroes are those who create conditions in which laughter of the third category can flourish.
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