e. k. moodie: kenyon talk, 2/11/11

of 39/39
‘Breaking the Fourth Wall in Ancient Comedy: New Insights from the Social Sciences’ Department of Classics Kenyon College February 11, 2011

Post on 24-Jun-2015

193 views

Category:

Education

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • 1. Breaking the Fourth Wall in Ancient Comedy: New Insights from the Social Sciences Department of Classics Kenyon College February 11, 2011

2. Welcome to Roman comedy

  • Ill make it so that you know at the right time. I dont want to repeat myself againthats the way plays get too long. Pseudolus the slave,Ps . 387-8
  • I suspect that you all think that I promised such great deeds so that I might entertain you while I act out this play, and that I am not about to do what I said I would. Pseudolus,Ps . 562-5

3. where the fourth wall can be quite permeable

  • For it is proper for anyone who walks out on stage to present some new invention in a new wayIt pleases me to withdraw inside here for a short time, while I marshall the tricks in my heartthe piper will entertain you all in the meantime out here. Pseudolus,Ps.568-73a

4. and some of the characters seem to know

  • This play is being acted out for the sake of these spectatorsthose whove been here already know. Ill tell you later. Pseudolus,Ps.720-1
  • Trifles of the theaterwords which are usually said to the pimp in comedies! Ballio the pimp,Ps.1081
  • But lookdoes this costume suit me well enough? Simia the slave,Ps.935

5. exactly what theyre doing!

  • Now Ive decided to lay a trap for Pseudolus in a different way than happens in other comedies, where they are besieged with whips and goads. Simo the old man,Ps.1239-45

6. An Overview

  • Background on Roman comedy
    • Plautus + his performance context
    • Terminology + previous interpretations
  • What I do: focus on the status of the characters
    • Methodology: new system of classification
    • Examples from PlautusPseudolus
  • Contributions from the social sciences
    • Scott, Janeway
    • Sidanius + Pratto, Goodwin + Fiske
  • What does this tell us about comedy, ancient and modern?

7. The Major Comic Poets

  • Aristophanes: Athens, ca. 447-ca. 386-80 BCE
    • Greek Old Comedy
    • 11 surviving comedies, plus fragments
  • Menander: Athens, 342-291 BCE
    • Greek New Comedy
    • 1 surviving full comedy, plus many fragments (some long, some short)
  • Plautus: Rome, 254-184 BCE
    • 20 surviving comedies, plus fragments
  • Terence: Rome, fl .166-60 BCE
    • 6 surviving comedies (all he wrote)

8. An Overview

  • Background on Roman comedy
    • Plautus + his performance context
    • Terminology + previous interpretations
  • What I do: focus on the status of the characters
    • Methodology: new system of classification
    • Examples from PlautusPseudolus
  • Contributions from the social sciences
    • Scott, Janeway
    • Sidanius + Pratto, Goodwin + Fiske
  • What does this tell us about comedy, ancient and modern?

9. Stock Characters of Roman Comedy

  • Deities
  • Old men (harsh or gentle)
  • Soldiers
  • Pimps
  • Young men (usually in love)
  • Parasites (flattering moochers)
  • Wives (usually controlling)
  • Maidens
  • Madams
  • Cooks
  • Male slaves (clever, obedient, or running!)
  • Prostitutes (wicked or good-hearted)
  • Female slaves

10. SW Corner of the Palatine Hill, Rome (from Goldberg 1998) 11. Temple of Magna Mater, Palatine Hill, Rome (from Goldberg 1998) 12. Mosaic depicting comic actor playing slave role, 1 stc. CENational Archaeological Museum, Naples 13. Mosaic depicting comic masks of the 2 ndc. CECapitoline Museum, Rome 14. Comic costuming, as imagined in a 12 th -century manuscript found in Tours 15. What I Do

  • Focus on the status of the characters
    • Methodology: new system of classification for metatheatrical and pretense-rupturing moments
    • Examples from PlautusPseudolus

16. Categories of Pretense Disruption

  • 1) direct address of the audience;
  • 2) awareness of the audience or of being an actor in a play;
  • 3) reference to the theater in general;
  • 4) semi-theatrical language;
  • 5) reference to costumes and costuming;
  • 6) a play-within-a-play deception (and rehearsals for it);
  • 7) paratragedy and implicit reference to theatrical convention;
  • 8) language of deception;
  • 9) disruption of the pretense of a Roman comedys Greek setting.

17. Stock Characters (High to Low)

  • Deities
  • Old men
  • Soldiers
  • Pimps
  • Young men
  • Parasites
  • Wives
  • Maidens
  • Madams
  • Cooks
  • Male slaves
  • Prostitutes
  • Female slaves

18. Characters in PlautusPseudolus

  • Pseudolus(191 BCE):
  • ?PROLOGUE SPEAKER
  • PSEUDOLUS, SLAVE
  • ?CALIDORUS, young man
  • BALLIO, pimp
  • SIMO, old man
  • ?CALLIPHO, old man
  • HARPAX, soldiers slave
  • CHARINUS, young man
  • WHIP-MEN
  • PROSTITUTES, including PHOENICIUM
  • SLAVE BOY
  • COOK
  • ?SIMIA, sycophanta (trickster)
  • Key to Dramatis Personae
  • (speaking parts only, names and roles as listed inOCTindices)
  • Name: character has 1 or more overtly pretense-disrupting remarks.
  • Name:character is the most dominant pretense-disrupting character in the comedy.
  • ?Name: characters only potentially pretense-disrupting remarks do not break the fourth wall overtly.

19. Category 1: Audience Address (1)

  • Pseudolus: Now, so nobody denies that this was said to them, I say to everyone, to the youths at the public meeting, to all the people, I declare to all my friends and acquaintances, that they should be wary of me for the length of this day, that they should not trust me. (125-8)
  • Pseudolus: Where are they, where are the men hiding who are are full-grown and who find love from a pimp? (203)

20. Category 1: Audience Address (2)

  • Pseudolus: I suspect that you all(vos)think that I promised such great deeds so that I might entertain you while I act out this story ( hanc fabulam transigam ) ,and that I am not about to do what I said I would. I wont change your mind. And certainly, so far as I know, I know nothing about how Id do it, except that it will be done. For it is proper for anyone who walks out on stage ( in scaenam ) to present some new invention in a new way; but if he cant do this, let him yield his position to one who can. It pleases me to withdraw inside here for a short time, while I marshall the tricks ( sycophantias ) in my heart. Ill come out, I wont make you(vobis)waitthe piper(tibicen)will entertain you all in the meantime out here. (562-73a)

21. Category 1:Audience Address (3)

  • Pseudolus: For earlier I did prepare my resources in my heart, my double and triple tricks(dolos),my treacheries (relying on the virtue of my ancestorsI should say on my own diligence and deceitful badness), so that I conquer easily, so that I easily despoil my enemies with my treachery.Now in a charming manner I shall utterly destroy this common enemy of mine and yours(vostrorum),Ballio: now pay attention(date operam)! (579-85)
  • Pseudolus: Shh!Be quiet, be quiet! ( tace! tace! ) This man is mine, unless all gods and men desert me. (600-600a)

22. Category 1:Audience Address (4)

  • (Simo: Why not invite the spectators as well?) Pseudolus: By Herculesthey dont usually invite me, nor do I invite them! But if you all wish(voltis)to applaud and approve this troupe(gregem)and this play (f abulam ), I will invite you all(vos)tomorrow. (1331-4)
  • Ballio: Pseudolus held a capital trial for me in the Centuriate AssemblyNow dont you all expect ( expectetis ) me to return home by this road; the matter is over and done with. Ive decided to follow by this back-street. (1234-5)

23. Category 2:Audience Awareness

  • Pseudolus: Ill make it so that you know at the right time.I dont want to repeat myself againthats the way plays(fabulae)get too long. (387-8)
  • Pseudolus: This play is being acted for the sake of these spectators(spectatorum ) :those whove been here know what happened.Ill tell you later. (720-1)
  • Simo: Now Ive decided to lay a trap ( insidias ) for Pseudolus in a different way than happens in other comedies ( in aliis comoediis ), where they are besieged with whips and goadsThat mortal is too clever ( doctus ), too crafty, too wicked ( malus ); Pseudolus surpassed that Trojan trick ( dolum ) and Ulysses. Now I will go inside, bring out the silver, and prepare a trap ( insidias ) for Pseudolus. (1239-45)

24. Category 3: Explicitly Theatrical Language

  • Charinus: How pompously theatrical ( ut paratragoedat ) that scoundrel sounds ! (707)
  • Ballio: Trifles of the theater(theatri) words which are usually(solent)said to the pimp(lenoni)in comedies(in comoediis)!(1081)

25. Category 4:Semi-theatrical Language

  • Auctor : creator/author
  • Fabula : story/play
  • Ludus : game/show
  • Pars : part/role
  • Poeta : poet/playwright
  • Simulare : imitate/pretend
  • Spectare : watch/spectate
  • Sycophanta : informer/trickster

26. Category 4:Semi-theatrical Language, Poets and Plays

  • Pseudolus: But just like a poet(quasi poeta),when he takes up tablets for himself, seeks whats nowhere on earth, nevertheless he finds/invents(reperit)it, and makes whats a lie similar to the truth. Now I become a poet(poeta):nevertheless I shall invent(inveniam)20minaethat are now nowhere on earth. (401-5)
  • Pseudolus: When I dress up(exornavero)the man, I want him to become a fake slave of that soldier. He will carry this token to the pimp with fiveminaeof silver, then he will take the woman away from the pimp: voil , thats the whole play ( omnem fabulam ) for you! (751-4)

27. Category 4: Semi-theatrical language, Games

  • Simo:Now declare your games ( ludos ). (546)
  • Callipho: It is a pleasure to watch your games ( ludos ), Pseudolus. (552)
  • Pseudolus: You tear me to pieces at my own game ( ludo ) very well, Charinus! (743)
  • Pseudolus: the tragic end to my game ( ludo ). (1278a)

28. Category 4: Semi-theatrical Language, Acting

  • Phoenicium: Now I shall test you, how much you love, how much you are pretending ( simulas ). (73)
  • Ballio: Honest singer-actors ( cantores )! (366)
  • Ballio: Theres no profit for pretenders ( sycophantis ) here today. (1197)
  • Ballio: This boy is an unadulterated pretender ( sycophanta ). (1200)
  • Ballio: This pretender(sycophanta)doesnt rely on nonsense: he is well rehearsed ( meditatus ). By Pollux that scoundrel Pseudolus, how learnedly(docte)he composed the trick ( dolum )! Just as much silver as the soldier owed he gave to this man and dressed him up(exornavit)so he might take away the woman. (1204-7)

29. Pretense Disruption in Plautus 30. Contributions from the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Social anthropology
    • Scott
    • Janeway
  • Social psychology
    • Sidanius + Pratto
    • Goodwin + Fiske

31. Social Anthropologists

  • James C. Scott
  • Weapons of the Weak
    • Malaysian peasants
  • Domination and the Arts of Resistance
    • Slaves
    • Serfs
    • Members of lower castes
    • Prisoners
  • Elizabeth Janeway
  • Powers of the Weak
    • Women
    • Slaves
    • Subjects of autocratic regimes

32. Weapons of the Weak

  • Most forms of this struggle [between peasantry and elite] stop well short of outright collective defiance. Here I have in mind the ordinary weapons of relatively powerless groups: foot dragging, dissimulation, desertion, false compliance, pilfering, feigned ignorance, slander, arson, sabotage, and so forth. (Scott,Weapons , p. 29)

33. Powers of the Weak

  • Practices of disobedience/subversion:
    • Refusal to participate in the system.
    • Withdrawal of attention from the powerful.
    • Disbelief in the reasoning of the powerful.
  • Acceptance of own vulnerability.
    • No paralyzing shame because of low status or weakness.

34. Indirect Resistance amongst Roman Slaves

  • Phaedrus
    • Fable (disguised speech)
  • Columella
    • Negligent feeding of livestock, plowing, crop tending, threshing
    • Renting out the masters property for personal gain
    • Pilfering (seed before sowing, grain after threshing)

35. Social Psychologists

  • Goodwin & Fiske
    • Low-status people have a better understanding of whats actually happening than high-status people do.
  • Sidanius & Pratto
    • Social Dominance Theory
    • Low-status people are more likely to reject hierarchy-justifying myths.

36. What does this tell us about comedy, ancient and modern?

  • Low-status pretense disruption is pervasive in ancient comedy.
  • Is it subversive?
  • So why was it staged?
  • What were these pretense-rupturing moments meant to do?
  • Clever slave bronze incense burner, Roman, ca. 1-50 CEGetty Villa, Malibu

37. Selected Bibliography

  • Daube, David.Civil Disobedience in Antiquity.Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 1972.
  • Dobrov, Gregory.Figures of Play: Greek Drama and Metafictional Poetics.Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001.
  • Dover, Kenneth James.Aristophanic Comedy.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1972.
  • Duncan, Anne.Performance and Identity in the Classical World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.
  • Fitzgerald, William.Slavery and the Roman Literary Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2000.
  • Green, J.R.Theatre in Ancient Greek Society.London: Routledge, 1994.
  • Gutzwiller, Kathryn. The Tragic Mask of Comedy: Metatheatricality in Menander.ClAnt 9.1 (2000): 102-37.
  • Hall, Edith.The Theatrical Cast of Athens. Oxford, Oxford UP, 2006.

38.

  • Hornby, Richard.Drama, Metadrama and Perception . Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 1986.
  • Hubbard, Thomas K.The Mask of Comedy: Aristophanes and the Intertextual Parabasis.Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1991.
  • Janeway, Elizabeth.Powers of the Weak.New York: Knopf, 1980.
  • Lape. Susan.Reproducing Athens.Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2004.
  • Marshall, C.W.The Stagecraft and Performance of Roman Comedy.Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006.
  • McCarthy, Kathleen.Slaves, Masters, and the Art of Authority in Plautine Comedy.Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2000.
  • Moore, Timothy.The Theater of Plautus: Playing to the Audience.Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.
  • Muecke, Frances. Playing with the Play: Theatrical Self-consciousness in Aristophanes.Antichthon11 (1977): 52-67.
  • Muecke, Frances. Plautus and the Theater of Disguise.Classical Antiquity 5 (1986): 216-229.

39.

  • Platter, Charles.Aristophanes and the Carnival of Genres.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 2007.
  • Rosenmeyer, Thomas G. Metatheater: An Essay on Overload.Arion10.2 (2002): 87-111.
  • Scott, James C.Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance.New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1985.
  • Scott, James C.Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts.New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 1990.
  • Slater, Niall.Plautus in Performance: The Theatre of the Mind.Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1985.
  • Slater, Niall.Spectator Politics: Metatheatre and Performance in Aristophanes.Philadelphia, PA: UPenn Press, 2002.
  • Stallybrass, Peter and Allon White.The Politics and Poetics of Transgression.Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1986.
  • Whitman, Cedric H.Aristophanes and the Comic Hero. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1964.
  • Wilson, Peter, and Oliver Taplin. The Aetiology of Tragedy in theOresteia. PCPhS39 (1993): 169-80.