Colloqui by Arthur Schopenhauer

By Arthur Schopenhauer

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Peisthetairos in Birds even threatens to rape the goddess Iris when she crosses the frontier of Nephelococcygia to deliver Zeus’s ultimatum to the city of birds (1253–56). The contest between Right and Wrong in Clouds is decided on the basis of Right’s admission that everyone in the audience is euryproktos, “broad-assed,” the result of habitual anal intercourse (1083–1104). Much of this sounds like the reverberation of carnival laughter, but here the literary-historical dimension is as important as its anthropological substrate.

34 Aristophanes and the Carnival of Genres Nevertheless, the influence of the iambographers is palpable in Aristophanes. He alludes to their poems in his plays, quotes Archilochus at length (West 5, lines 1–3 = Peace 1298– 99, 1301), and, in their manner, dramatizes fierce quarrels between himself and his targets. Whether or not the homology between these characters and the historical individuals they are supposed to represent is exact, Aristophanes seems eager to position himself as a sort of neo-iambographer when it suits his interests to do so.

And was characterized by frequent graphic descriptions of sexuality. Aristophanes mined this tradition both directly, by quoting actual poems and mentioning authors by name, and indirectly, by using the tactics of Introduction 33 the iambographers to reduce his targets to familiar (literary and political) types. 87 Much Aristophanic obscenity has this aggressive component as well. 88 Consider a fairly representative example from Knights, an exchange of threats between the vile Paphlagon (the politician Cleon), who is the de facto ruler of the city, and his upstart challenger, a Sausage-Seller from the marketplace (364– 65): Saus.

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