New Comedy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
comedy of manners

In Ancient Greek Comedy, the period of the New Comedy lasted throughout the reign of the Macedonian rulers, ending about 260 BC.

Substantial fragments of New Comedy have survived, but no complete plays. The most substantially preserved text is the Dyskolos ("Difficult Man, Grouch") by Menander, discovered on a papyrus in 1958. The so-called "Cairo Codex" (found in 1907) also preserves long sections of plays as Epitrepontes ("Men at Arbitration"), The Girl from Samos, and Perikeiromene ("The Girl who had her Hair Shorn"). Much of the rest of our knowledge of New Comedy is derived from the Latin adaptations by Plautus and Terence.

For the first time, love became a principal element in the drama. The New Comedy relied on stock characters, such as the senex iratus, or "angry old man", the domineering parent who tries to thwart his son or daughter from achieving wedded happiness, and who is often led into the same vices and follies for which he has reproved his children, and the bragging soldier, newly returned from war with a noisy tongue, a full purse, and an empty head. The new comedy depicted Athenian society and the social morality of the period, presenting it in attractive colors but making no attempt to criticize or improve it.

The New Comedy influenced much of Western European literature, in particular the comic drama of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Congreve, and Wycherley.

Much of contemporary romantic and situational comedy descends from the New Comedy sensibility, in particular generational comedies such as All in the Family and Meet the Parents.

List of plays and writers




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "New Comedy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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