Sallie R. Goetsch, Department of Classical Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, U.S.A. e-mail: Sallie.R.Goetsch@um.cc.umich.edu
It is true that a modern audience does not automatically frame its reaction to Aristophanes within the same 'subtext' as the fifth- century Athenians did, though it is also true that the program to Hall's production mentioned the Peloponnesian War. On the other hand, the audience in London had Bosnia, the Persian Gulf, and the IRA to return to: it is not as if we live in such an era of peace and happiness that we cannot appreciate the real difficulty of the problems Athens was facing in 412. The references to Margaret Thatcher in the parabasis and the more subtle references of the costumes would have reminded anyone who had forgotten. The play's final moment was a crude and unnecessary addition. Even if Aristophanes' intent was to tell the Athenians that they were absolutely, totally doomed (and I do not believe it was), he was more subtle in his presentation. Are we truly so much more stupid than the Athenians that we can only relate to a text which has been brutalised? I think not.
Sallie R. Goetsch
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Electronic Antiquity Vol. 1 Issue 3 - August 1993 edited by Peter Toohey and Ian Worthington firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 1320-3606