Aristophanes, son of Philippus, of the deme Kydathenaion, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive complete; these provide the most valuable examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy and are used to define it, along with fragments from dozens of lost plays by Aristophanes and his contemporaries. Known as "The Father of Comedy" and "the Prince of Ancient Comedy", Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author, his powers of ridicule were acknowledged by influential contemporaries. Aristophanes' second play, The Babylonians, was denounced by Cleon as a slander against the Athenian polis, it is possible that the case was argued in court, but details of the trial are not recorded and Aristophanes caricatured Cleon mercilessly in his subsequent plays The Knights, the first of many plays that he directed himself. "In my opinion," he says through that play's Chorus, "the author-director of comedies has the hardest job of all."
Less is known about Aristophanes than about his plays. In fact, his plays are the main source of information about his life, it was conventional in Old Comedy for the Chorus to speak on behalf of the author during an address called the'parabasis' and thus some biographical facts can be found there. However, these facts relate entirely to his career as a dramatist and the plays contain few clear and unambiguous clues about his personal beliefs or his private life, he was a comic poet in an age when it was conventional for a poet to assume the role of'teacher', though this referred to his training of the Chorus in rehearsal, it covered his relationship with the audience as a commentator on significant issues. Aristophanes claimed to be writing for a clever and discerning audience, yet he declared that'other times' would judge the audience according to its reception of his plays, he sometimes boasts of his originality as a dramatist yet his plays espouse opposition to radical new influences in Athenian society.
He caricatured leading figures in the arts, in politics, in philosophy/religion. Such caricatures seem to imply that Aristophanes was an old-fashioned conservative, yet that view of him leads to contradictions, it has been argued that Aristophanes produced plays to entertain the audience and to win prestigious competitions. His plays were written for production at the great dramatic festivals of Athens, the Lenaia and City Dionysia, where they were judged and awarded prizes in competition with the works of other comic dramatists. An elaborate series of lotteries, designed to prevent prejudice and corruption, reduced the voting judges at the City Dionysia to just five; these judges reflected the mood of the audiences yet there is much uncertainty about the composition of those audiences. The theatres were huge, with seating for at least 10,000 at the Theatre of Dionysus; the day's program at the City Dionysia for example was crowded, with three tragedies and a'satyr' play ahead of a comedy, but it is possible that many of the poorer citizens occupied the festival holiday with other pursuits.
The conservative views expressed in the plays might therefore reflect the attitudes of the dominant group in an unrepresentative audience. The production process might have influenced the views expressed in the plays. Throughout most of Aristophanes' career, the Chorus was essential to a play's success and it was recruited and funded by a choregus, a wealthy citizen appointed to the task by one of the archons. A choregus could regard his personal expenditure on the Chorus as a civic duty and a public honour, but Aristophanes showed in The Knights that wealthy citizens might regard civic responsibilities as punishment imposed on them by demagogues and populists like Cleon, thus the political conservatism of the plays may reflect the views of the wealthiest section of Athenian society, on whose generosity all dramatists depended for putting on their plays. When Aristophanes' first play The Banqueters was produced, Athens was an ambitious, imperial power and the Peloponnesian War was only in its fourth year.
His plays express pride in the achievement of the older generation yet they are not jingoistic, they are staunchly opposed to the war with Sparta. The plays are scathing in criticism of war profiteers, among whom populists such as Cleon figure prominently. By the time his last play was produced Athens had been defeated in war, its empire had been dismantled and it had undergone a transformation from being the political to the intellectual centre of Greece. Aristophanes was part of this transformation and he shared in the intellectual fashions of the period—the structure of his plays evolves from Old Comedy until, in his last surviving play, Wealth II, it more resembles New Comedy; however it is uncertain whether he led or responded to changes in audience expectations. Aristophanes won second prize at the City Dionysia in 427 BC with his first play The Banqueters, he won first prize there with The Babylonians. It was usual for foreign d
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records, its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Armenian, Coptic and many other writing systems; the Greek language holds an important place in the history of Christianity. Greek is the language in which many of the foundational texts in science astronomy and logic and Western philosophy, such as the Platonic dialogues and the works of Aristotle, are composed. Together with the Latin texts and traditions of the Roman world, the study of the Greek texts and society of antiquity constitutes the discipline of Classics. During antiquity, Greek was a spoken lingua franca in the Mediterranean world, West Asia and many places beyond.
It would become the official parlance of the Byzantine Empire and develop into Medieval Greek. In its modern form, Greek is the official language in two countries and Cyprus, a recognised minority language in seven other countries, is one of the 24 official languages of the European Union; the language is spoken by at least 13.2 million people today in Greece, Italy, Albania and the Greek diaspora. Greek roots are used to coin new words for other languages. Greek has been spoken in the Balkan peninsula since around the 3rd millennium BC, or earlier; the earliest written evidence is a Linear B clay tablet found in Messenia that dates to between 1450 and 1350 BC, making Greek the world's oldest recorded living language. Among the Indo-European languages, its date of earliest written attestation is matched only by the now-extinct Anatolian languages; the Greek language is conventionally divided into the following periods: Proto-Greek: the unrecorded but assumed last ancestor of all known varieties of Greek.
The unity of Proto-Greek would have ended as Hellenic migrants entered the Greek peninsula sometime in the Neolithic era or the Bronze Age. Mycenaean Greek: the language of the Mycenaean civilisation, it is recorded in the Linear B script on tablets dating from the 15th century BC onwards. Ancient Greek: in its various dialects, the language of the Archaic and Classical periods of the ancient Greek civilisation, it was known throughout the Roman Empire. Ancient Greek fell into disuse in western Europe in the Middle Ages, but remained in use in the Byzantine world and was reintroduced to the rest of Europe with the Fall of Constantinople and Greek migration to western Europe. Koine Greek: The fusion of Ionian with Attic, the dialect of Athens, began the process that resulted in the creation of the first common Greek dialect, which became a lingua franca across the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East. Koine Greek can be traced within the armies and conquered territories of Alexander the Great and after the Hellenistic colonization of the known world, it was spoken from Egypt to the fringes of India.
After the Roman conquest of Greece, an unofficial bilingualism of Greek and Latin was established in the city of Rome and Koine Greek became a first or second language in the Roman Empire. The origin of Christianity can be traced through Koine Greek, because the Apostles used this form of the language to spread Christianity, it is known as Hellenistic Greek, New Testament Greek, sometimes Biblical Greek because it was the original language of the New Testament and the Old Testament was translated into the same language via the Septuagint. Medieval Greek known as Byzantine Greek: the continuation of Koine Greek, up to the demise of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century. Medieval Greek is a cover phrase for a whole continuum of different speech and writing styles, ranging from vernacular continuations of spoken Koine that were approaching Modern Greek in many respects, to learned forms imitating classical Attic. Much of the written Greek, used as the official language of the Byzantine Empire was an eclectic middle-ground variety based on the tradition of written Koine.
Modern Greek: Stemming from Medieval Greek, Modern Greek usages can be traced in the Byzantine period, as early as the 11th century. It is the language used by the modern Greeks, apart from Standard Modern Greek, there are several dialects of it. In the modern era, the Greek language entered a state of diglossia: the coexistence of vernacular and archaizing written forms of the language. What came to be known as the Greek language question was a polarization between two competing varieties of Modern Greek: Dimotiki, the vernacular form of Modern Greek proper, Katharevousa, meaning'purified', a compromise between Dimotiki and Ancient Greek, developed in the early 19th century and was used for literary and official purposes in the newly formed Greek state. In 1976, Dimotiki was declared the official language of Greece, having incorporated features of Katharevousa and giving birth to Standard Modern Greek, used today for all official purposes and in education; the historical unity and continuing identity between the various stages of the Greek language is emphasised.
Although Greek h
The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer; the avant-garde pushes the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo in the cultural realm. The avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement and still continue to do so, tracing a history from Dada through the Situationists to postmodern artists such as the Language poets around 1981; the avant-garde promotes radical social reforms. It was this meaning, evoked by the Saint Simonian Olinde Rodrigues in his essay "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel", which contains the first recorded use of "avant-garde" in its now customary sense: there, Rodrigues calls on artists to "serve as avant-garde", insisting that "the power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way" to social and economic reform.
Several writers have attempted to map the parameters of avant-garde activity. The Italian essayist Renato Poggioli provides one of the earliest analyses of vanguardism as a cultural phenomenon in his 1962 book Teoria dell'arte d'avanguardia. Surveying the historical, social and philosophical aspects of vanguardism, Poggioli reaches beyond individual instances of art and music to show that vanguardists may share certain ideals or values which manifest themselves in the non-conformist lifestyles they adopt: He sees vanguard culture as a variety or subcategory of Bohemianism. Other authors have attempted both to extend Poggioli's study; the German literary critic Peter Bürger's Theory of the Avant-Garde looks at the Establishment's embrace of critical works of art and suggests that in complicity with capitalism, "art as an institution neutralizes the political content of the individual work". Bürger's essay greatly influenced the work of contemporary American art-historians such as the German Benjamin H. D. Buchloh.
Buchloh, in the collection of essays Neo-avantgarde and Culture Industry critically argues for a dialectical approach to these positions. Subsequent criticism theorized the limitations of these approaches, noting their circumscribed areas of analysis, including Eurocentric and genre-specific definitions; the concept of avant-garde refers to artists, writers and thinkers whose work is opposed to mainstream cultural values and has a trenchant social or political edge. Many writers and theorists made assertions about vanguard culture during the formative years of modernism, although the initial definitive statement on the avant-garde was the essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch by New York art critic Clement Greenberg, published in Partisan Review in 1939. Greenberg argued that vanguard culture has been opposed to "high" or "mainstream" culture, that it has rejected the artificially synthesized mass culture, produced by industrialization; each of these media is a direct product of Capitalism—they are all now substantial industries—and as such they are driven by the same profit-fixated motives of other sectors of manufacturing, not the ideals of true art.
For Greenberg, these forms were therefore kitsch: phony, faked or mechanical culture, which pretended to be more than they were by using formal devices stolen from vanguard culture. For instance, during the 1930s the advertising industry was quick to take visual mannerisms from surrealism, but this does not mean that 1930s advertising photographs are surreal. Various members of the Frankfurt School argued similar views: thus Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer in their essay The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass-Deception, Walter Benjamin in his influential "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction". Where Greenberg used the German word kitsch to describe the antithesis of avant-garde culture, members of the Frankfurt School coined the term "mass culture" to indicate that this bogus culture is being manufactured by a newly emerged culture industry, they pointed out that the rise of this industry meant that artistic excellence was displaced by sales figures as a measure of worth: a novel, for example, was judged meritorious on whether it became a best-seller, music succumbed to ratings charts and to the blunt commercial logic of the Gold disc.
In this way the autonomous artistic merit so dear to the vanguardist was abandoned and sales became the measure, justification, of everything. Consumer culture now ruled; the avant-garde's co-option by the global capitalist market, by neoliberal economies, by what Guy Debord called The Society of the Spectacle, have made contemporary critics speculate on the possibility of a meaningful avant-garde today. Paul Mann's Theory-Death of the Avant-Garde demonstrates how the avant-garde is embedded within institutional structures today, a thought pursued by Richard Schechner in his analyses of avant-garde performance. Despite the central arguments of Greenberg and others, various sectors of the mainstream culture industry have co-opted and misapplied the term "avant-garde" since the 1960s, chiefly as a marketing tool to publicise popular music and commercial
The Birds (play)
The Birds is a comedy by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed in 414 BC at the City Dionysia, it has been acclaimed by modern critics as a realized fantasy remarkable for its mimicry of birds and for the gaiety of its songs. Unlike the author's other early plays, it includes no direct mention of the Peloponnesian War and there are few references to Athenian politics, yet it was staged not long after the commencement of the Sicilian Expedition, an ambitious military campaign that increased Athenian commitment to the war effort. In spite of that, the play has many indirect references to Athenian social life, it is the longest of Aristophanes' surviving plays and yet it is a conventional example of Old Comedy. The play begins with two middle-aged men stumbling across a hillside wilderness, guided by a pet crow and a pet jackdaw. One of them advises the audience that they are fed up with life in Athens, where people do nothing all day but argue over laws, they are looking for Tereus, a king, once metamorphosed into the Hoopoe, for they believe he might help them find a better life somewhere else.
Just a large and fearsome bird emerges from a camouflaged bower, demanding to know what they are up to and accusing them of being bird-catchers. He turns out to be the Hoopoe's servant, they appease him and he returns indoors to fetch his master. Moments the Hoopoe himself appears—a not convincing bird who attributes his lack of feathers to a severe case of moulting, he is happy to discuss their plight with them and meanwhile one of them has a brilliant idea—the birds, he says, should stop flying about like idiots and instead should build themselves a great city in the sky, since this would not only allow them to lord it over men, it would enable them to blockade the Olympian gods in the same way that the Athenians had starved the island of Melos into submission. The Hoopoe likes the idea and he agrees to help implement it, provided of course that the two Athenians can first convince all the other birds, he calls to his wife, the Nightingale, bids her to begin her celestial music. The notes of an unseen flute swell through the theatre and meanwhile the Hoopoe provides the lyrics, summoning the birds of the world from their different habitats—birds of the fields, mountain birds and birds of the trees, birds of the waterways and seas.
These soon begin to appear and each of them is identified by name on arrival. Four of them dance together. On discovering the presence of men, the newly arrived birds fly into a fit of alarm and outrage, for mankind has long been their enemy. A skirmish follows, during which the Athenians defend themselves with kitchen utensils they find outside the Hoopoe's bower, until the Hoopoe at last manages to persuade the Chorus to give his human guests a fair hearing; the cleverer of the two Athenians, the author of the brilliant idea delivers a formal speech, advising the birds that they were the original gods and urging them to regain their lost powers and privileges from the johnny-come-lately Olympians. The birds are won over and urge the Athenians to lead them in their war against the usurping gods; the clever one introduces himself as Pisthetaerus and his companion is introduced as Euelpides. They retire to the Hoopoe's bower to chew on a magical root. Meanwhile, the Nightingale emerges from her hiding place and reveals herself as an enchantingly feminine figure.
She presides over the Chorus of birds while they address the audience in a conventional parabasis: Hear us, you who are no more than leaves always falling, you mortals benighted by nature, You enfeebled and powerless creatures of earth always haunting a world of mere shadows, Entities without wings, insubstantial as dreams, you ephemeral things, you human beings: Turn your minds to our words, our etherial words, for the words of the birds last forever! The Chorus delivers a brief account of the genealogy of the gods, claiming that the birds are children of Eros and grandchildren of Night and Erebus, thus establishing their claim to divinity ahead of the Olympians, it cites some of the benefits the audience derives from birds and it invites the audience to join them since birds manage to do things mere men are afraid to do. Pisthetaerus and Euelpides emerge from the Hoopoe's bower laughing at each other's unconvincing resemblance to a bird. After discussion, they name the city-in-the-sky Nubicuculia, or "cloud-cuckoo-land", Pisthetaerus begins to take charge of things, ordering his friend to oversee the building of the city walls while he organizes and leads a religious service in honour of birds as the new gods.
During this service, he is pestered by a variety of unwelcome visitors including a young versifier out to hire himself to the new city as its official poet, an oracle-monger with prophecies for sale, a famous geometer, offering a set of town-plans, an imperial inspector from Athens with an eye for a quick profit, a statute-seller trying to peddle a set of laws written for a remote, barely-heard-of town called Olophyx. Pisthetaerus chases off all these intruders and retires indoors to finish the religious service; the birds of the Chorus step forward for another parabasis. They promulgate laws forbidding crimes against their kind and they end by advising the festival judges to award them first place or risk getting defecated on. Pisthetaerus returns to the stage moments before a messenger arri
A Streetcar Named Desire
A Streetcar Named Desire is a play written by Tennessee Williams that opened on Broadway on December 3, 1947. The play dramatises the life of Blanche DuBois, a southern belle who, after encountering a series of personal losses, leaves her aristocratic background seeking refuge with her sister and brother-in-law in a dilapidated New Orleans tenement. A Streetcar Named Desire is Williams' most popular play, is considered among the finest plays of the 20th century, is considered by many to be Williams' greatest work, it still ranks among his most performed plays, has inspired many adaptations in other forms, notably producing a critically acclaimed film, released in 1951. After the loss of her family home, Belle Reve, to creditors, Blanche DuBois travels from the small town of Laurel, Mississippi, to the New Orleans French Quarter to live with her younger, married sister and brother-in-law, Stanley Kowalski. Blanche is in her thirties and, with no money, has nowhere else to go. Blanche tells Stella that she has taken a leave of absence from her English-teaching position because of her nerves.
Blanche laments the shabbiness of her sister's two-room flat. She finds Stanley loud and rough referring to him as "common". Stanley, in return, does not dislikes her presence. Stanley questions Blanche about her earlier marriage. Blanche had married when she was young, but her husband died, leaving her widowed and alone; the memory of her dead husband causes Blanche some obvious distress. Stanley, worried that he has been cheated out of an inheritance, demands to know what happened to Belle Reve, once a large plantation and the DuBois family home. Blanche hands over all the documents pertaining to Belle Reve. While looking at the papers, Stanley notices a bundle of letters that Blanche proclaims are personal love letters from her dead husband. For a moment, Stanley seems caught off guard over her proclaimed feelings. Afterwards, he informs Blanche; this can be seen as the start of Blanche's mental upheaval. The night after Blanche's arrival, during one of Stanley's poker parties, Blanche meets Mitch, one of Stanley's poker player buddies.
His courteous manner sets him apart from the other men. Their chat becomes flirtatious and friendly, Blanche charms him. Becoming upset over multiple interruptions, Stanley explodes in a drunken rage and strikes Stella. Blanche and Stella take refuge with Eunice; when Stanley recovers, he cries out from the courtyard below for Stella to come back by calling her name until she comes down and allows herself to be carried off to bed. After Stella returns to Stanley and Mitch sit at the bottom of the steps in the courtyard, where Mitch apologizes for Stanley's coarse behavior. Blanche is bewildered; the next morning, Blanche rushes to Stella and describes Stanley as a subhuman animal, though Stella assures Blanche that she and Stanley are fine. Stanley keeps silent; when Stanley comes in, Stella hugs and kisses him, letting Blanche know that her low opinion of Stanley does not matter. As the weeks pass, the friction between Blanche and Stanley continues to grow. Blanche has hope in Mitch, tells Stella that she wants to go away with him and not be anyone's problem.
During a meeting between the two, Blanche confesses to Mitch that once she was married to a young man, Allan Grey, whom she discovered in a sexual encounter with an older man. Grey committed suicide when Blanche told him she was disgusted with him; the story touches Mitch. It seems certain. On, Stanley repeats gossip to Stella that he has gathered on Blanche, telling her that Blanche was fired from her teaching job for involvement with an under-aged student and that she lived at a hotel known for prostitution. Stella erupts in anger over Stanley's cruelty after he states that he has told Mitch about the rumors, but the fight is cut short as she goes into labor and is sent to the hospital; as Blanche waits at home alone, Mitch arrives and confronts Blanche with the stories that Stanley has told him. At first she denies everything, but confesses that the stories are true, she pleads for forgiveness, but an angry and humiliated Mitch refuses her the chance at an honorable relationship and attempts to sexually assault her instead.
In response, Blanche screams "fire", he runs away in fright. Hours before Stella has the baby and Blanche are left alone in the apartment. Blanche has descended into a fantasy that an old suitor of hers is coming to provide financial support and take her away from New Orleans. Stanley goes along with the act before angrily scorning Blanche's lies and behavior, advances toward her. Stanley rapes Blanche, imminently resulting in her psychotic crisis. Weeks at another poker game at the Kowalski apartment and her neighbor, are packing Blanche's belongings. Blanche is to be committed to a mental hospital. Although Blanche has told Stella about Stanley's assault, Stella cannot bring herself to believe her sister's story; when a doctor and a matron arrive to take Blanche to the hospital, she resists them and collapses on the floor in confusion. Mitch, present at the poker game, breaks down in tears; when the doctor helps Blanche up, she goes willingly with him, saying: "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
The play ends with Stanley continuing