Stop making sense: the politics of Aristophanic madness

Ruffell, I. A. (2018) Stop making sense: the politics of Aristophanic madness. Illinois Classical Studies, 43(2), pp. 326-350. (doi:10.5406/illiclasstud.43.2.0326)

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Abstract

This paper discusses the use of madness in Aristophanic Comedy, and in particular how it is used as a means of evaluating and interrogating political interventions. The well-known theme of madness in Aristophanes's Wasps provides the frame. Interpreting Philocleon's madness has proved problematic because the complexity of comic madness has been under-estimated. Against negative models of madness that dominate in tragedy and in political discourse, madness in comedy can be not only a means of interrogating ideological and political norms, but also a constructive and even heroic form of behavior, which draws on epic and religious associations. Bdelycleon's attempt to cure his father removes the positive substance and political value that anchors his father's insanity, which leads to the aporetic finale.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Special issue, "Morbid Laughter", edited by G. Kazantzidis and N. Tsoumpra.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ruffell, Professor Isabel
Authors: Ruffell, I. A.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Classics
Journal Name:Illinois Classical Studies
Journal Abbr.:ICS
Publisher:University of Illinois Press
ISSN:0363-1923
ISSN (Online):2328-5265
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
First Published:First published in Illinois Classical Studies 43(2):326-350
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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