Myth, Politics, and Drama: Elements of Plot‐Composition in the Comedy of Cratinus
Chapter 4 looks at the complex texture of Cratinus' plots and his techniques of characterization. In Dionysalexandros, Plutoi, Seriphioi, and Nemesis, mythical, topical, and drama‐derived plot elements are freely interwoven, so that Cratinus' plots often develop along several strands. The demonstration of Cratinus' multi‐layered style of composition entails challenging the modern classification of some of his mythical comedies simply as ‘political allegories’ and offering an alternative and more nuanced model of reading them. This model coheres more with other aspects of the poet and old comedy, and makes better use of the ancient critical tradition, in particular the subtle allusive technique which the author of the Dionysalexandros hypothesis describes as emphasis. Finally, this chapter (aided by Appendices 1 and 2) analyses how Cratinus' Dionysalexandros and Plutoi reflect on their immediate political context, and in particular the activity of the prominent Athenian political leader Pericles.
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