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Satyric PlayThe Evolution of Greek Comedy and Satyr Drama$
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Carl Shaw

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199950942

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199950942.001.0001

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Comedy and Satyr Drama in Plato and Aristotle

Comedy and Satyr Drama in Plato and Aristotle

Chapter:
Chapter 1 (p.13) Comedy and Satyr Drama in Plato and Aristotle
Source:
Satyric Play
Author(s):

Carl A. Shaw

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199950942.003.0002

Plato and Aristotle overtly maintain a dyadic theory of drama, but the first chapter shows that they represent satyric play as a third theatrical genre with significant connections to comedy. In the conclusion of the Symposium, Plato’s Socrates remarks that the same dramatist can skillfully write both comedy and tragedy. Plato proves this by establishing the dialogue itself as a mixed (“high” and “low” / “tragic” and “comic”) satyr play of sorts. He connects the Symposium’s Erotic and Dionysiac themes to the similarly romantic, “middlebrow” performance of satyr play, even depicting Socrates as a satyric and Erotic figure. Aristotle also undermines his strict theatrical binary in the Poetics when he briefly mentions “satyric” performance. Not only does he subvert his theory that a poet’s nature must match his genre, but he also describes the satyric ethos in language very similar to the description of Middle Comedy offered in his Nicomachean Ethics.

Keywords:   Plato, Symposium, Aristotle, Poetics, Genre

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