Essay on Old Greek Comedy
Sample Term Paper on Old Greek Comedy
Apart from just being a means of recreation, comedy has been an essential and effective tool for the common people to criticize the oppressive and tyrannical policies and in exposing the corruption of the elite class. Comedy is a way of indirect and light criticism. Stage comedy is said to be developed from the era of the Greeks.
The era of ancient Greek comedy, also known as the ‘Old Comedy’ dates back to the 5th century B.C. Comedy had got its deep roots in the Greek from the culture, where a three-day comedy competition used to take place in the city of Dionysia and the Lenaea.
The old Greek comedy history is characterized by its significant features. They used comedy as a tool to mock corrupt politicians. Through comedy, the Greek philosophers were criticized. The verbal abuse was also used openly and freely. The comedy plays also gave a detailed insight into Greek society. The plays also briefly depicted the political and legal system of the society.
The old Greek comedy plays also provided brief information about the religious rituals. The old comedy plays were the highly mimetic plays featuring the exaggeration of facts, going far away from realities. The old comedians also enjoy complete freedom of expression. The use of costumes was introduced, in order to give good and further detailed symbolic representations of the characters. The Athenian characters used to wear much brighter dresses whereas the Non-Athenian characters used to wear a bit unusual characters. The comedians were also characterized by wearing light and flat platform shoes.
There are many reasons owing to which the high and rich legacy of the old Greek comedy had to face a decline. There is a deep link between the decline of the old comedy and the loss of freedom in Athens. The sudden absence of mimicry resulted in the decline of the old comedy too. The old comedians lost their freedom to criticize the religious scholars. The inability of expressing disapproval of the oppressive policies of the corrupt institutions also caused the death of the old comedy. The absence of the chorus i.e. the group of individuals wearing the same costume and voicing together was a work also found in the new comedy, which caused a decline to the rich old comedy. Various historical evidence state that a law was passed against the comedians as they were ill-using their rights and privilege to speak. In this way, the era of old comedy had to face an unfortunate decline.