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Politics and Anti-Realism in Athenian Old ComedyThe Art of the Impossible$
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Ian Ruffell

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587216

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587216.001.0001

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The Role of The Audience: Ideology, Identity,and Intensity

The Role of The Audience: Ideology, Identity,and Intensity

(p.261) 7 The Role of The Audience: Ideology, Identity,and Intensity
Politics and Anti-Realism in Athenian Old Comedy

I. A. Ruffell

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops the study of comic self-reference by looking at direct and indirect address and manipulation of the audience. Arguing that the audience's role is a construct of the fiction, audience address and related, but less explicit, devices consolidate the audience as the male citizen body of Athens and construct a coherent audience position with which audience members can identify. Such explicit and implicit intervention extends the social and inclusive dimension of laughter. Identification of individuals and groups within the audience is limited and further consolidates group identity, while Dionysiac and festive dimensions of the impossible worlds of comedy, such as Akharnians, Frogs, and Eupolis' Poleis also serve to intensify the political atmosphere of the plays.

Keywords:   audience address, metatheatre, self-reference, abuse, collectivity, fictional audience, Dionysos, festival, Akharnians, Frogs, Poleis

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