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Second Brief Analytical Essay

790 words - 4 pages

Second Brief Analytical Paper
The Peloponnesian War raged for six years and Athenians already suffered starvation and plague before the Athenian playwright Aristophanes attempted to call for peace through his satirical play The Acharnians. Aristophanes’ work demonstrates the trials and changes Athens was experiencing during the Peloponnesian War, and through the medium of satire, Aristophanes is able to express his own opinions on the war. The play also reveals the very public dispute between Aristophanes and Cleon, the leader of the pro-war faction in Athens, who is mentioned by name in the play. Through this satirical ‘peace play’ Aristophanes considers the political and social changes ...view middle of the document...

.. tell them about the gold, and make it loud and clear.” (Line 103) Although through comedic means, Aristophanes illustrates the political mood of many common Athenians during the war. The government officials of the time, such as the Ambassadors, were seen as manipulative and privileged compared to the lower working class, like Dikaiopolis’s character.
Social changes were also taking place in Athens during the Peloponnesian War and are addressed in The Acharnians. All of these changes effected the population, but especially the rural people. During the Peloponnesian War, all of the Athenians that lived outside of the walls of Athens were relocated inside the city. This made for an uneasy transition from rural to urban life. The chorus of the Acharnian old men comment on the problems of city life as they complain about the marketplace, “He need never fight to buy things in the public Market Square, Nor get his cloak all dirty jostling with the shoppers there... and whose life you’d think had all been spent in the seas of human waste from the way that he smells in the market.” (Lines 842-852) These lines from the chorus suggest that the influx of rural people contributed to terrible overpopulation and subsequent filth of the city. Because of these sub-par conditions in the city, there is a present desire in the play for a return to the rural lifestyle. For example, the main character in The...

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