Men or Animals? Metamorphoses and Regressions of Comic Attic Choruses: the Case of Aristophanes's Wealth
This article starts from a reconsideration of the different theories that, since the last decades of the nineteenth century onwards, have discussed the issue of origins of the animal choruses disseminated in the comic Attic production of the fifth and fourth century BC. Nonetheless, it refrains from advancing solutions to a question which is destined to remain open, as well as from scrutinizing the more significant peculiarities of the choruses from the surviving and fragmentary plays by Aristophanes and other comedians of archaia and mese. It focuses instead on a particular case, the parodos of Wealth (Plutus), the last surviving comedy by Aristophanes, where a human chorus of old farmers temporarily regresses to a grotesquely wild animal state: a phenomenon which carries interesting implications for the metamorphic potentialities shown by an Attic comic chorus in an age of transition from archaia to mese.
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