Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Philosophers are a natural object of fun and parody, and ancient Greek comedy took full advantage of the possibilities for spoofing their utopian projects, technical language, scientific pretensions, and personal behavior when they could represent it as contradicting their high moral claims. Philosophers, in turn, might be suspicious of comedy’s frivolity, and they attacked it as immoral. But there were also points of contact between the two: philosophers (above all Epicureans) endorsed pleasure, or allowed a place for caricature and fun, and characters in comedy sometimes utter philosophical propositions; besides, comedy itself has a utopian streak. Menander was thought to have studied with Aristotle’s student Theophrastus, and his subtle character sketches find a parallel in philosophical descriptions of virtuous and vicious types. The quarrel between comedy and philosophy thus has aspects of a sibling rivalry. This chapter traces this complex relationship over the evolution from Old Comedy to New.

Keywords: Philosophy, utopia, hedonism, parody, hypocrisy, Socrates, Platonism, Aristotle, Epicurus

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.