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  1. Old Comedy and New Comedy



    Compare and contrast Old Comedy and New Comedy. Describe characteristics of each. Give examples. 



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Compare and Contrast Old Comedy versus New Comedy

Entertainment has been revolutionized through the different generations in which theatre and drama have grown with different periods. Like any other branch of drama and theatre, comedy has revolutionized, bringing about old comedy and new comedy. Although the only similarity between old and new comedies is that their purpose is that they are both humorous, the two differ in their age of introduction, narration, and the message embedded in new and old comedy types.

New comedy was introduced in Ancient Greek in the middle of the 3rd Century BC. During this period, authoritarian emperors who did not like criticism of their rule from any point ruled Ancient Greece. On the other hand, Aristophanes in Ancient Greek introduced Old Comedy in the 5th century BC. Ancient Greece was a bit free compared to when new comedy was introduced, leading to politically inspired comedy and satirical plays during this period.

Narration differs in the old and comedy with the style of instrumentation the two adopt. Although old and new comedies were made during Ancient Greek times, old comedy adopts a play-type narration with six parts. The six parts include an introduction, a chorus entry known as parodos, a contested debate, and another chorus that speaks to the audience called a parabasis while mocking and condemn politicians and prominent people in society; followed by idiotic, senseless, and laughable scenes that lead to the play’s culmination with a banquet. Of the choruses in the play, old comedies use two choruses to represent the views of women and men on a political topic. On the other hand, new comedies use a flashback to introduce the play. The flashback soon fades into irrelevance as the storyline takes up a different turn far from the initial storyline that had the flashback.

Old comedy and new comedy also vary in the message conveyed. While old comedies dealt with satirical political comedy that involved a political message, new comedies conveyed messages around family and societal issues. The political message in old comedy was addressed to the audience in part of one of the six parts of the play. On the other hand, new comedy addressed issues in society that pertain to the audience’s social life, including love, jilted relationships, and other familiar and societal issues.

Examples of old comedy include the famous play Lysistrata, The Clouds, and The Frogs. Examples of new comedy include some Shakespearean plays like Comedy of Error, and Menaechmi and Amphitruo by Plautus.




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