Democracy In Aristophanes The Athenian

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Aristophanes was a Greek playwright living in Athens during the Peloponnesian War whose comedies typically satirized the democracy and society. He wrote the comedy “The Acharnians” to establish the problems with the democracy leading Athens. He believes a successful democracy in Athens could only be possible if the troubles damaging the democracy were fixed. For Aristophanes, democracy in Athens is possible if greed is eliminated, equality achieved, and empathy developed because these three elements constitute the backbone of a virtuous polis.
The unrepressed voice advances the common good. Ignorance decreases when participation increases. A problem for Aristophanes is the oppression of the citizens in the polis. People are penalized for speaking
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The Athenians lack a care for the common good. This problem is first recognized in the opening passage when Dikaiopolis is waiting for the Executive Committee to gather, and when they do come they fight for the best seats in the house. Later in the comedy, Dikaiopolis gets into a heated argument with the general Lamachus. Dikaiopolis rants how Lamachus was elected by only a few men who did not know what they were doing, and that he is gluttonous because he only helps Athens when he is making profit. This exemplifies how few citizens vote and therefore show little care for Athens as a whole. Aristophanes recognizes that if the goal of a polis is individualist wealth and power, a genuine democracy is …show more content…
The notion is that fixing these issues could create the ideal democracy that the polis of Athens intended to create. If it truly to be a government of and by the people, the human flaws of oppression, greed, and apathy must be addressed and reduced. Aristophanes does believe these problems can be fixed by providing examples of truth and improvement. It is important for Athens to address these issues so it can better unite as a polis during its continued fight in the Peloponnesian War and to maintain its position of power in the Greek

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