When Gods Don't Appear: Divine Absence and Human Agency in Aristophanes
Surprisingly few gods appear in the eleven surviving comedies of Aristophanes. This article examines what roles the gods do play when they are present. It further argues that humans with divine attributes often appear in lieu of the gods themselves. These humans together with the handful of gods who are present fall into the broad functional categories of helpers and opponents of the comic protagonist. Thee gods' absence is to be attributed to an Aristophanic conception of human agency, namely that humans in comedy, especially when compared to tragedy, have extraordinary control of their lives. A god's presence would be too great a threat to comic inventiveness.
Given, John. (January 2009). When Gods Don't Appear: Divine Absence and Human Agency in Aristophanes. Classical World, 102(2), 107- 127. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10342/1073
Given, John. "When Gods Don't Appear: Divine Absence and Human Agency in Aristophanes". Classical World. 102:2. (107-127), January 2009. April 22, 2019. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/1073.
Given, John, "When Gods Don't Appear: Divine Absence and Human Agency in Aristophanes," Classical World 102, no. 2 (January 2009), http://hdl.handle.net/10342/1073 (accessed April 22, 2019).
Given, John. When Gods Don't Appear: Divine Absence and Human Agency in Aristophanes. Classical World. January 2009; 102(2): 107-127. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/1073. Accessed April 22, 2019.
East Carolina University