Aristophanes (c. 460–c. 380 BCE) was the most famous author of Old Comedy plays in ancient Greece, and his works are the only ones that have survived. He wrote about two hundred and fifty plays which have been preserved only in fragments. His targets were the political leaders of his time, especially those who were making decisions behind closed doors without consulting the public.
Aristophanes' humor was often cruelly satirical, but although he sometimes attacked individuals he usually focused on issues such as corruption in politics or society at large. He also used comedy to comment on contemporary events, such as wars or natural disasters. His plays made fun of everyone from politicians to actors, and although many of them were not successful at the time they were written some still play important roles in modern culture today. For example, his play The Acharnians is considered a classic of Greek comedy and is included in the standard collection of great English comedies called "The Oxford Shakespeare".
In addition to writing comedy plays, Aristophanes was also one of the first poets to use irony in his work. Irony involves expressing one's opinion about something in words or through actions while actually thinking differently. In Aristophanes' plays, this can be seen in scenes where characters believe that someone is dead even though they know that person is alive, for example.
Aristophanes (c. 450 bce—died c. 388 bce), the finest representative of ancient Greek comedy and the one whose works have been preserved in the largest amount, is the sole existing representative of the Old Comedy—that is, of the period of comedic dramaturgy (c. 565 bce to c. 450 bce) before the New Comedy was developed by Menander (c. 342 bce–c. 290 bce). Aristophanes is also regarded as one of the founders of the modern theatre.
He wrote about twenty-five plays that have survived today. They deal with issues such as politics, society, and the human condition, but always from a comic perspective. His subjects include politics, morality, and religion. He attacked every aspect of life in Athens during the time he was writing and performing his plays. His targets included politicians, generals, priests, and others. In addition, he used his scripts to comment on current events in Athens, such as wars or trials. These topical jokes were meant to encourage citizens to participate in democratic processes and hold public officials accountable for their actions.
Aristophanes' work established many now common concepts in comedy including irony, satire, and political correctness. His plays also influenced later comedians such as Plato and Aristotle. Aristophanes was the first to use props, masks, and scenes changes in his shows. His contemporaries called him the father of comedy because of this innovative approach to theater.
Aristotle c. Indeed, Aristophanes' plays provide not just a record of Greek theater, but also an essential insight into many of the political and social aspects of ancient Greece, from the practicalities of jury duty to the specifics of religious ceremonies at major festivals. His work is important in understanding not only what it was like to live during Athens's golden age, but also how people thought about themselves and their world.
Aristophanes influenced later comic poets such as Menander and Plautus and remained popular through to the fifth century AD. The Roman poet Horace called him the "father of satire". During Aristophanes' time, politics was a popular subject for comedy. His works are therefore crucial for understanding ancient Greek society and culture.
In addition to his plays, Aristotle contains much information on Aristophanes in his history of Athenian democracy, which covers many of the same topics as the plays. It has been suggested that this shows that Aristotle was well aware of all the material produced by Aristophanes and would have used him as a source had he wanted to. Although this is possible, it is more likely that they were both using sources written before them. What is certain is that neither writer sought to be original; instead they focused on recording what they saw as reality.
Aristophanes impacted Greece because of his use of humor to criticize politicians and society.