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The Language of Greek Comedy$
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Andreas Willi

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245475.001.0001

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Figures of Speech in Aristophanes

Figures of Speech in Aristophanes

(p.99) 5 Figures of Speech in Aristophanes
The Language of Greek Comedy

Simon R. Slings

Oxford University Press

This chapter illustrates some of the problems that arise when we try to separate literary and non-literary language. It argues that a figure of speech such as chiasmus (and similarly anaphora) is a natural (or universal) means to package complex information. As long as it fulfils this primary aim, a chiasmus is therefore not a literary embellishment. If, on the other hand, the information complexity is minor so that the chiasmus is functionally ‘unnecessary’, the addressee will perceive it as a literary figure. Most of the Aristophanic examples of chiasmus and anaphora are not ‘justified’ by an excessive information complexity, leading to the conclusion that Aristophanes' style is in this respect more literate than oral.

Keywords:   figures of speech, Aristophanes, chiasmus, literary language, non-literary language, anaphora

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