Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The oversubtle maxim chasers: Aristophanes, Euripides, and their Reciprocal Pursuit of Poetic Identity
by Zuckerberg, Donna G., Ph.D., Princeton University, 2014, 308; 3627347
Abstract (Summary)

In this dissertation, I explore the intertextual dialogue between two fifth century Attic playwrights, the comedian Aristophanes and the tragedian Euripides, and the influence that each had on the development of the other's characteristic style, or 'brand' (χαρακτηρ). Scholarship on the two playwrights has tended to focus almost exclusively on the transgression of generic boundaries. But studies of paratragedy and parody in Aristophanic comedy and comic elements in late Euripidean tragedy fail to take into consideration the fact that in addition to appropriating material widely across genres, Aristophanes and Euripides also seem to have shared a specific mutual interest in each other's work. I propose a refinement to the traditional model and argue that the two playwrights mutually drew inspiration from each other's differing interpretations of similar themes and motifs.

Over the period of two decades, the comedian and the tragedian gradually expanded a common repertoire from which they responsively developed variations on the same themes. Each sequence of variations on a theme begins with an Aristophanic running gag mocking a recurring tendency in Euripides' tragedies. Euripides tended to respond to Aristophanes' variations on his themes by embracing and continuing to employ the tropes that Aristophanes had singled out as being characteristically Euripidean. My study focuses primarily on Aristophanes' Acharnians and Thesmophoriazusae and Euripides' Helen and Bacchae. I argue that this exploration of shared thematic material was for both Aristophanes and Euripides an endeavor that was especially productive of their unique brands.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ford, Andrew
Commitee: Foley, Helene, Holmes, Brooke
School: Princeton University
Department: Classics
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Classical studies, Classical Studies, Theater History
Keywords: Aristophanes, Classics, Euripides, Greece, Greek comedy, Greek tragedy
Publication Number: 3627347
ISBN: 978-1-321-02513-2
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