Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

and Art. 
purpofe, it is true, was aimed at; but the general fame Was ChleflY 
implied in the violent perfonal attacks on individuals, and this became fo 
offeniive that when fnch perfons obtained greater power in Athens than 
the populace the old comedy was abolilhed. 
Ariftophanes was the greateft and moft perfeet poet Of the Old 
Comedy, and his remaining comedies are as Itrongly marked reprefenta- 
tions of the hofiility of political and focial parties in his time, as the 
caricatures of Gillray are of party in the reign of our George III., and, W6 
may add, even more minute. They range through the memorable period 
of the Peloponneiian war, and the earlier ones give us the regular annual 
feries of thefe performances, as far as Ariilophanes contributed them, during 
feveral years. The firft of them, " The Acharnians," was performed at the 
Lenaean fealt of Bacchus in the Iixth year of the Peloponnefian war, the 
year 425  when it gained the iirft prize. It is a bold attack on 
the faitions prolongation of the war through the influence of the Athenian 
demagogues. The next, " The Knights," brought. out in B.C. 424, is a 
direet attack upon Cleon, the chief of thefe demagogues, although he is 
not mentioned by name; and it is recorded that, finding nobody who had 
courage enough to make a mafk reprefenting Cleon, or to play the cha- 
ratiter, Arillophanes was obliged to perform it himfelf, and that he fmeared 
his face with lees of wine, in order to reprefent the flulhed and bloated 
countenance of the great demagogue, thus returning to the original mode 
of acting of the predeceffors of Thefpis. This, too, was the Brit of the 
comedies of Ariftophanes which he pnblifhed in his own name. "The 
Clouds," publifhed in 423, is aimed at Socrates and the philofophers. 
The fourth, " The W-afps," pnblifhed in B.c. 422, prefents a fatire on the 
litigious fpirit of the Athenians. The fifth, entitled " Peace" ("Etp11vr;), 
appeared in the year following, at the time of the peace of Nicias, and is 
another fatire on the bellicofe fpirit of the Athenian democracy. The 
next in the lift of extant plays comes after an interval of feveral years, 
having been pnblifhed in 12.0. 414, the firit year of the Sicilian war, and 
relates to an irreligions movement in Athens, which had caufed a great 
fenfation. Two Athenians are repreiented as leaving Athens, in difguit 
at the vices and follies of their fellow citizens, and feeking the kingdom 


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