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Lysistrata/The Acharnians/The Clouds de…
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Lysistrata/The Acharnians/The Clouds (edição: 1974)

de Aristophanes (Autor)

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The Acharnians/The Clouds/Lysistrata 'We women have the salvation of Greece in our hands' Writing at a time of political and social crisis in Athens, the ancient Greek comic playwright Aristophanes was an eloquent, yet bawdy, challenger to the demagogue and the sophist. In Lysistrata and The Acharnians, two pleas for an end to the long war between Athens and Sparta, a band of women on a sex strike and a lone peasant respectively defeat the political establishment. The darker comedy of The Clouds satirizes Athenian philosophers, Socrates in particular, and reflects the uncertainties of a generation in which all traditional religious and ethical beliefs were being challenged. Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Alan H. Sommerstein… (mais)
Membro:dalton42
Título:Lysistrata/The Acharnians/The Clouds
Autores:Aristophanes (Autor)
Informação:Penguin Classics (1995), Edition: Reprint, 256 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
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3 Plays: Acharnians / Clouds / Lysistrata de Aristophanes

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"Oh, I liked that one – a gecko shitting in Socrates' face!" (pg. 80)

Comedy is always the hardest thing to translate. Even in one society, tastes are subjective, whereas translating into another language inevitably loses something, not least in wordplay, and translating across time – in this case more than 2,000 years – seems a thankless task. With that in mind, it is surprising just how much of Alan Sommerstein's translation of Aristophanes' Ancient Greek plays actually works.

Each of the plays has a good premise: 'The Acharnians' sees a man fed up with his country's politicking decide to make his own private peace with the state's enemies; 'The Clouds' sees a man try to appropriate the 'sophist' arguments of Socrates to try to argue his way out of a debt; and 'Lysistrata' sees the womenfolk of Athens go on a sex strike to force their men to make peace with Sparta. Though much of the flavour is lost, the plays are surprisingly easy to engage with (so long as you keep the restless flicking back and forth to the endnotes to a minimum).

I also found that my prior understanding of the plays was wrong: 'Lysistrata' is often mischaracterised as a feminist, or proto-feminist, play, and to a lesser extent 'The Acharnians' and 'The Clouds' have been labelled pacifistic and atheistic, respectively. In my reading of the plays, I found these labels (not ones supported by Sommerstein, it should be said) to be dishonest, or at least over-eager. In particular, 'Lysistrata' has pretty standard gender roles, and delights only in subverting them for comedic effect. In fact, one of the funniest scenes suggests the women are finding the sex ban as frustrating as the men; the play suggests the battle between the sexes is fundamentally ridiculous and we're all driven by human urges. In fact, when we discard some of the lofty academic analyses of these plays, we realise they are instead just a great example of how, even though comedic tastes change, one of the fundamental purposes of comedy – to provoke, to satirise – endures.

Certainly, the sober textual analysis of Aristophanes – I mean, this is a Penguin Classics edition, for Pete's sake – is unintentionally hilarious when you realise that the humour here is very much scatological and sexual. Dick, shit and fart jokes abound, and the plays are filled with bawdy sexual innuendo. And this is not like Shakespeare, who alongside his astute dramatic plotting and fine use of language also had innuendo designed to appeal to those in the cheaper seats. No – it seems the route to prize-winning, pride-of-place satirical discourse in classical Athens was blunt, full-on ribaldry about arseholes and big red rods that would be considered cheap even for a modern straight-to-video comedy starring Z-list comedians. It's actually fascinating to learn that this ancient society – which we associate with sober politics, philosophy and classical art – could be as base, superficial and easy to please as we are today, the same feeling you get whenever some archaeologist unearths some graffiti of a bell-end at Pompeii. Reading Aristophanes, the two-thousand-year gap of history narrows to zero. ( )
  Mike_F | Nov 20, 2020 |
The Acharnians

No idea what I was expecting from my first venture into Classical Greek comedy, but it wasn't the crude, lewd, verbal and physical humour coupled with puns and political and personal satire that I got! The Introduction and notes were extremely useful for setting the historical and cultural scene, explaining how the Comedy of the day worked and elucidating obscure references and jokes. This made me wonder how well it would go on the modern stage, where one would surely expect most of the audience to be oblivious to everything explained in the apparatus. A lot of the humour would translate and the general message of peace vs. war might come through, but all the cultural and historical references would be lost, I think.

Tremendous fun from the page, though.

The Clouds

This time Aristophanes turns his satirical wit on the Sophists, as exemplified by none other than Socrates himself! The new education, based on - sophistry! - and the lack of belief in the traditional pantheon of gods are the prime targets.

It turns out that the surviving text is an unfinished revision of the play. This may be a factor in why I didn't like it as much as The Archarnians, or it might be that it's simply because I have a lot of sympathy for the Sophists' viewpoint on several matters. Either way, I didn't think it was as funny...

Lysistrata

For me the least funny but most interesting of the three plays in this volume. It's full of the same sexual humour as the others and equally preposterous. It's examination of sexual politics is more interesting than its plea for peace with Sparta (perhaps partly because the latter is treated more thoroughly in The Archanians, anyway). It seems that many things have not changes in nearly 2,500 years... One of them appears to be that perceived hairlessness (of women's bodies) was considered more attractive, then as now. I've often wondered if that has been a pan-cultural, pan-historical trend and, if so, whether it is a deep-rooted instinct that has led to evolution away from other, full-on furry, primate species? Odd thing to end up thinking about because of an old Greek drama, but there you go!
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
The more things change the more they stay the same, people laughed at the same things in Ancient Greece as we do. ( )
  charlie68 | Jul 1, 2020 |
"Clouds" is an underrated play; "Lysistrata" is overrated. Excellent notes in this translation. ( )
  seshenibi | May 3, 2020 |
Peace is a major theme of two of these plays. The Acharnians focuses on arguments against war among the men, while Lysistrata is a bawdy and demented fest of diatribes between women and men. When the women, led by the titular character, withhold their sex in their demand for peace the men seem to be at a significant disadvantage.

The Acharnians is set during the Peloponnesian War during the sixth year of conflict between Athens and Sparta. In Aristophanes play the protagonist is a farmer named Dikaiopolis who has suffered as the war has progressed. The Athenian military faces pressure to escalate the conflict for revenge against Sparta, while Dikaiopolis wishes to negotiate peace for his family alone. Throughout the play, Dikaipolis must use his wit to thwart his militaristic opponents. Democracy is presented as a vehicle for militarism and it allows many of the Athenian politicians to rally supporters under the guise of cooperation. A buffoonish and arrogant general, Lamachus, is held up as an example of the militaristic attitude that Greek democracy often produced.

The play is filled with outrageous puns and wonderful wit that skewers the military and the Athenian aristocracy as peace is sought. There is even a brief section that pokes fun at the then successful tragic dramatist Euripides. However, this play is definitely one about the men who are in charge whether in Athens or Sparta; thus it is easy to contrast it with the approach taken in Lysistrata.

The name Lysistrata can be loosely translated as "she who disbands armies". That is behind both her mission and her leadership of the women of Athens who she encourages to withhold their sex from the men until peace can be brokered with Sparta. The play was produced more than a decade after The Acharnians and Athens had suffered a major blow when defeated in Syracuse with the loss of her navy. While they were recovering from that disaster the war continued with no end in sight (did I mention that these plays address very contemporary issues for those of us living in twenty-first century America?).

The play is famous for the roles given to women, particularly noteworthy since there is no evidence for women attending Athenian theater, and since it entailed the somewhat comic difficulty of having men, already in their phallic-oriented costumes, play the roles of the women. It is much more bawdy and extreme in its humor than The Archanians with the focus on the "battle of the sexes" centered at the Acropolis as a means used by the women, led by Lysistrata, to bring the men to their senses. The humor is magnified in the opening sections as the men who oppose them are old and perhaps a bit senile since the young men are all at war.
The pride of the old men is deeply wounded when Lysistrata declares that the women have assumed all civil authority and will henceforth provide for the safety and welfare of Athens. The magistrate cannot believe his ears when he hears Lysistrata say that the women have grown impatient with the incompetence of their husbands in matters that concern the commonweal. For rebuking the women, the magistrate receives potfuls of water poured on his head. When the ineffectual old men declare that they will never submit, the women answer that the old men are worthless and that all they have been able to do is legislate the city into trouble.

The women do have difficulties maintaining order within their ranks, but that just adds to the comedy. The result of this and further comic moments, including a riot surrounding the birth of a baby to one of the women, is a delight that transcends the centuries and overcomes many of the difficulties of translation. This has become my favorite play by Aristophanes. ( )
  jwhenderson | Sep 24, 2019 |
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Sommerstein, Alan H.Tradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The Acharnians/The Clouds/Lysistrata 'We women have the salvation of Greece in our hands' Writing at a time of political and social crisis in Athens, the ancient Greek comic playwright Aristophanes was an eloquent, yet bawdy, challenger to the demagogue and the sophist. In Lysistrata and The Acharnians, two pleas for an end to the long war between Athens and Sparta, a band of women on a sex strike and a lone peasant respectively defeat the political establishment. The darker comedy of The Clouds satirizes Athenian philosophers, Socrates in particular, and reflects the uncertainties of a generation in which all traditional religious and ethical beliefs were being challenged. Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Alan H. Sommerstein

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