of new comedy
, ca. 344-292 B.C.
, a contemporary
, who made his theatrical debut
around 324/3. Most of his work exists only in fragment
s, and much of the fun in reading his Greek
is in trying to reconstruct the text.
Though probably less succesful than other writers of the time, his work gives us our best example of the new comedy, a strong deviation from the old comedy of Aristophanes. Most of his plays involve stock characters in domestic disputes. The humour is often subtle and refined, with none of the crass, blatant slapstick of his predecessors; a prime example is his Dyskolus ('the grouch'), in which a foppish young city boy tries to win the heart of the daughter of an antisocial old farmer. He tries to convince the man that he's not so bad after all by taking to farmwork, digging ditches in a great scene wherein he bitches about his poor back and blistered hands in perfect metre; he wins the girl by saving her father when he falls down a well. The language of the plays is artificial and metrical (iambic trimeter), but reflects more of the spoken word than most others before him.
He had a strong influence on the Roman comedy of Plautus and Terence.
His plays: Aspis (The Shield), Dyskolus (The Grouch), Epitrepontes (The Plaintiffs), Heros (The Hero), Theophorumene (The Possessed), Carchedonius (The Carthaginian), Citharista (The Showgirl), Colax (The Sycophant), Koneiazomenai (The Poisoned(?)), Misoumenos (The Man She Hated), Perikeromene (The Girl Who Shaved Her Head), Samia (The Girl from Samos), Sicyonius (The Sicilian), and Phasma (The Vision)