Menander's Dramatic Technique and the Law of Athens

Classical Quarterly 33 (02):412- (1983)
Abstract
‘Menander has set up a confrontation between this law [the law about epikleroi] and love… He wants the audience to regard the law as stupid and wrong… Surely one of Menander's purposes in writing this play was to make the Athenians consider seriously whether the law ought to be changed.’ Thus Professor D. M. MacDowell in the concluding paragraph of his article ‘Love versus the Law: an Essay on Menander's Aspis’. A similar view was already implicit in E. Karabelias' treatment of the play as indicative of the general attitude to this law in Athens in Menander's day: ‘A n'en point douter, l'épiclérat est ressenti, á l'epoque de Ménandre, comme une anomalie intolérable pour les mceurs de la societe athénienne à la fin du ive s.av.n.è L'épiclérat est odieux et ridicule… L'hostilité envers l'épiclérat est done un signe des temps’. And Professor E. G. Turner has written: ‘it is hard to imagine that the institution of the epiclerate emerged in good standing from this derisory treatment’
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P. G. McC Brown (1983). Menander. The Classical Review 33 (02):180-.
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