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1 REVISION. 2 1)When was the Wasps produced and for which festival? In 422 winter Lenaia (so not so many-out-of-towners) – a lull in the war with Sparta.

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Presentation on theme: "1 REVISION. 2 1)When was the Wasps produced and for which festival? In 422 winter Lenaia (so not so many-out-of-towners) – a lull in the war with Sparta."— Presentation transcript:


2 2 1)When was the Wasps produced and for which festival? In 422 winter Lenaia (so not so many-out-of-towners) – a lull in the war with Sparta 2) Wasps is subtitled a sick city. What exactly is the sickness accordig to Aristophanes? The way the legal system (the heart of the democracy) is abused by demagogues (Cleon) by manipulatng jurors. THE COURTS 3) How did Athenian courts differ from ours? No police, legal action up to the individual, laws were old and not consistent. Very big, old juries (501, 1001, 2001), no judge, no lawyers, no legal advice to jury, jury manipuated by pleas for mercy etc. 4) What is the relation between sophist teachers, and the courts? Many acted as speech writers (no lawyers) PROCEDURE IN COURT 5) How long did cases take, and how was the time limit measured. Cases took 1 day, time limit on prosecutor and defenders speeches 6) What were the 2 parts of a trial that jurors voted on? The case – pebble vote, the punishment – a scratch on a wax tablet 7) what were the punishments? A fine, loss of citizenship, property, exile, death (poison, cudgelling, starving board). Seldom a long imprisonment. 8) A main theme in Wasps is the generation gap personified by Philocleon and Bdelycleon. Which character represents the old guard and which does Aristophanes favour in the end? Philocleon, He wins in the end – though rid of his attachment to the Demagogues (Cleon)

3 3 1)Philocleon looks back to golden days of Athens when ‘men were men’ the “marathon men” victors over the Persians, valuing strength, truth, honesty. How does he describe the younger generation? “ringlets, fashions, and pederastic passions of the mamby pamby youngsters of today” 2) In the Prologue we learn that the cities golden-age values have been perverted by demagogues and war mongers and its guardians manipulated by them. Where do the Wasps fit in this setting? Wasps = jurymen=guardians of the democracy. 3) Sosias and Xanthius are the charcters we meet first. What are they doing? Guarding the house to prevent Philocleon from going to court. 4) Sosias dreams (pg 41) about a flock of sheep in their little cloaks meeting at the Pnyx harranged by a rapacious looking monster who stinks like a tanners yard and divides up the body politic. Explain the reference to the Pnyx. (M) The place where the Athenian assembly met 5) How does Aristophanes criticize the Athenian citizens in this image? (M) Sheep = Athenians being led blindly by demagogues (Cleon). The cloaks mark them as jurymen. They don’t think for themselves as they should in a democracy. 6) How is Cleon portrayed in the prologue? Provide quotes for evidence. (M) He “harangues” = bully. “rapacious” = dangerous, “stinks” = common, “divids the body politic”= he’s corrupt

4 4 7) Find examples from the prologue to show that Philocleon is a trialophile. (A) Dreams of the water clock, sleeps clutching voting pebbles, queues up early at the court, has a beach of voting pebbles at his house, Bdelycleon takes him to Asclepius for a cure. 8) Explain the parody relating to a well known Homeric story of Odysseus (no-man) and his men escaping from the Cyclops cave under sheep. (M) Philocleon tries to escape under a donkey’s belly, and saying he is “no-man” from Ithica. 9) Find 5 clear indications from the prologue that Athens at war is in many ways a “sick” society. (M) Net over stage-house (skene) = Athens besieged within its walls, Sosias’ dream = city where democracy has broken down, Cleons Cronies are like ravens eating the dead on the battlefield, points out many “sick” Athenians in the audience (alcoholics, stranger lovers etc), Philocleon has incurable monomania, master in the house is Bdelycleon, the son (upturned convention).

5 5 Wasps Prologue and parodos. 1)After the Prologue, what happens in old Attic comedy, and what is it called? Entry of the chorus the Parodos. 2-4) Find 3 places in the prologue and the parodos where Philocleon is referred to in ‘animal’ terms. (A) A “monster” in the hunting net, hops “like a jackdaw” over the wall, scurries around like a “rat”, a “mouse” under the eaves, a “pet-juryman”, thinks he’s a “sparrow” 5-7) From the prologue and the parodos list at least 3 indications of Philocleon’s apparent desire to do harm. (A) “always scratches the long line on the tablet”, sings about “doing harm” in court, likes to sentence “6 of the best”, a “savage hearted wasp” like the rest, boasts about punishing a slave. 8) Why does the Chorus enter dressed as wasps? to emphasise they are vicious, they move in swarms, sting others and get away free. 9) A chorus of boys accompanies them. Why? emphasises the generation gap, and the old mens’ feebleness

6 6 1) What happens in the events following the parodos? Philocleon sings a parody of a tragic song about longing to get to court & makes a series of comic attempts to escape 2) The next part of the comedy is known as the contest. Whats its Greek term? Agon 3) What does Philocleon want to show on his side of the argument (try for 5 things)? a)He has great power, b) The rich and powerful want to be his friends, c) He enjoys the courts entertainment, d) No- one questions his decisions, and e) Cleon takes care of him 4) Bdelycleon tries to convince the Chorus its all an illusion conjured by the politicians – and Philocleon finally sees it too. His argument has 2 parts. What are they? The national economy is 10x greater than they are paid, and it comes form the work they did as soldiers for Athens in their youth – so they are beig duped 5) Episodes illustrating the Agon: Bdelycleon sets up a parody trial at home to cure his father, based on trial of Laches (who had commanded the Athenians in Sicilian expedition in 426, and was proscuted for its failure by Cleon), What is this known as? The trial of the dogs 6) How does this trial end? Philocleon collapses with shock when tricked into acquitting the defendant 7) what serious points are made in this parody trial? Corruption of Athenian courts and unfairness of jurors votes. Jurors sympathy manipulated by defendants Witnesses necessary to substantiate testimony of main trial player, Orator’s tricks used to justify poor excuses, or argue irrelevant excuses.

7 7 1) The next part is the parabasis. What is this? Where the playwright, through the chorus speaks directly to the audience. 2) Using metaphor, satire, parody, Aristophanes attacks who? Cleon “the greatest monster in the land” also know as Kuon “the dog” 3) He also attacks Athenians’ for rejecting his last-years play. What play was this? Clouds 4) He also reflects on what? Athen’s sad decline in moral values from when the Wasps were the young heroes of Marathon and Salamis. 5) Episodes after the parabasis Bdelycleon vainly tries to socialise and update his father with better clothes and manners. What is the main comedic effect used here? Father/son role reversal and Philocleon taking the piss out of Bdelycleon’s attempts 6) At the symposium (dinner party) Aristophanes has Philocleon show an earthy vitality, rather than the highly cultured manners his son wants. What is Aristophanes’ point He is using this vitality to show up the gutless manners of polite society that enables the demagogues. His cure is complete – but can Athens find her respect for olden values to be similarly cured?

8 8 2 nd Parabasis (pp 87-91) An amusing interlude satirising well known Athenians of the day. Exodus (pp 91-94) The actors and chorus leave the stage singing and dancing

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