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Tragedy on the Comic Stage$
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Matthew C. Farmer

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190492076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190492076.001.0001

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The Man Is Obsessed with Song

The Man Is Obsessed with Song

A Contest of Genres in Wasps

(p.117) 3 The Man Is Obsessed with Song
Tragedy on the Comic Stage

Matthew C. Farmer

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a reading of Aristophanes’ Wasps focused on its engagement with tragedy. Philocleon, the chapter argues, is an unstable fan of tragedy whose instability leads him to act like a tragic character when events in his life turn against him. His son Bdelycleon responds to these tragic outbursts by staging a set of metatheatrical plays-within-the-play. This dynamic allows Aristophanes to claim metatheater as the territory of comedy; the play also sets the stage for later depictions of the insanity of fandom.

Keywords:   Aristophanes, Wasps, paratragedy, parody, fandom, Cratinus, metatheater

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