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Reference: Ciesko, Martin, (2004). Menander and the expectations of his audience. DPhil. University of Oxford.Citable link to this page:


Menander and the expectations of his audience

Abstract: How can a dramatist writing in a highly conventional genre 'imitate life'? Idevelop various aspects of the hypothesis that the stereotypes of New Comedy were putto a varied dramatic use through being questioned, reacted against, or commented upon- always in ways that eventually upheld them in such an intricate and polyphonousprocess that spectators' demand for novelty was fully satisfied. The thesis contains fourlarger sections; each is in a different way a commentary on the extant plays and theirconventions.Ch. I. 'Techniques of foreshadowing and character presentation inMenander's Aspis in the light of Greek dramatic traditions' In a runningcommentary on the chosen play I explore the problems of the spectators' expectations ofwhat a newly staged play should be like, as they are shaped by the familiarity with thegeneric rules. The question of genre and its boundaries is particularly pronounced in thisplay since it chose Tragedy to carry its comic meaning.Ch. II. 'Conventions in the theatre of life: Menander's Stagecraft' and Ch. III.'The Oikos as a Dramatic Space' Even in the conventionally fixed stage spaceMenander could recreate miniatures symbolic of real life experiences. Through exquisiteplotting, he could allow his spectators an insight into the deep recesses of the house andthe minds of its inhabitants. I show how fixed and unchanging setting becomes adynamic force in moving Menander's plots ahead.Ch. IV. 'Familiar games and the poet's voice in self-advertisement.' How can aNew Comedy playwright advertise and 'sell' to his audience a play if he works in agenre that does not destroy its Fiktion der Handlung? This highly conventional genrecan, I claim, through both embracing and problematising its very conventionalityexpress itself with irony and subtlety that is at least as effective as open self-praise bypoets in comic genres that allow it.

Type of Award:DPhil Level of Award:Doctoral Awarding Institution: University of Oxford Notes:The digital copy of this thesis has been made available thanks to the generosity of Dr Leonard Polonsky


P.G. McC. BrownMore by this contributor


 Bibliographic Details

Issue Date: 2004Identifiers

Urn: uuid:ae81b7d0-87da-4e3e-bd00-3b49743a82c1

Source identifier: 602336412 Item Description

Type: Thesis;

Language: eng Subjects: Criticism and interpretation Greek drama History and criticism Tiny URL: td:602336412


Autor: Ciesko, Martin - institutionUniversity of Oxford facultyHumanities Division oxfordCollegeKeble College - - - - Contributors P.G.



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