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Shakespeare and Classical ComedyThe Influence of Plautus and Terence$
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Robert S. Miola

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198182696

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182696.001.0001

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New Comedic Alazoneia

New Comedic Alazoneia

Chapter:
(p.101) 4 New Comedic Alazoneia
Source:
Shakespeare and Classical Comedy
Author(s):

Robert S. Miola

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182696.003.0004

The alazon, or the boaster, one of the three main characters in Tractatus Coislinianus, also served as one of the fundamental contributions that New comedy gave to both Shakespeare and Renaissance drama. While the Greek term for such may be used to refer to a variety of personas such as an impostor and a braggart, among several others, Aristotle's definition of the alazon involves one who boasts and pretends to possess or not possess a lesser degree of the qualities that he attempts to exude. As Plato asserts how we tend to laugh at those who pretend to have something that they do not have, or to be something that they are not, we have to consider that Aristotle sought to prove that what is often portrayed as laughable may be derived from what is perceived as the ugliness of the soul or that of the body. This chapter explores how alazoneia is used to illustrate an ugliness of the soul.

Keywords:   alazon, boaster, Aristotle, Plato, ugliness, Renaissance drama, laughable, alazoneia

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