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In writing this book on the plays of New Comedy the author's aim is to fill a gap in the existing literature by concentrating on what one might look for in watching and reading these plays and why such an exercise might be pleasurable. The social comedy of Menander, Plautus and Terence provided a style of comic drama which was to prove the root of all subsequent western comedy. Dr Hunter gives a literary account of this drama, placing it in its ancient context and then ranging over a number of specific topics and themes: the dramatic craft of the poets, their exploration of how to give variety to stereotyped plots and characters, the presentation of women, the use of language and themes from tragedy, the place of moralising and philosophy. All Greek and Latin is translated.
1. Introduction; 2. The form of new comedy: the comic prologue: the five-act structure: rhythmical structures: some comic techniques; 3. Plots and motifs: the stereotyping of comedy; 4. Themes and conflicts: men and women: fathers and sons: town and country: 5. Comedy and tragedy; 6. The didactic element: moralising in comedy: comedy and philosophy.