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La comédie d'Aristophane et son public

Le « chamanisme » et la comédie ancienne. Recours générique à un atavisme et guérison

(avec une application à l’exemple de la Paix d’Aristophane)
Anton Bierl


In this contribution Old Comedy is surprisingly associated with the shamanistic complex, or respectively, with the pattern of the goes or magos who existed in archaic and early classical Greece. After a brief review of the history of research concerning Greek 'shamanism' in Classics the author explicitely dismisses essentialist speculations on origins, but uses the religious phenomenon in the sense of a mental and theatrical device of phantasy. The performative potential of the goes is able to convey the sudden fall, constitutive of the genre, into grotesque-atavistic spaces and modes of playing on the comic stage. In particular, the themes of healing and of journeys to Hades or heaven, which up until now have hardly received due treatment, as well as the ambiguous and excessive comic hero and the alogical-nonnaturalistic poetics of Old Comedy can be elucidated on the foil of a shamanic goes. In popular plays of the marketplace such a theater of buffoons and quack-doctors remains actual through the history. At the end, the theoretical approach is put into practice by taking Aristophanes' Peace as an example. The relatively simple plot where the comic hero rides to heaven in order to find some sort of therapy for the city is enriched with a new all-encompassing meaning beyond the strictly political.

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Full text

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Electronic reference

Anton Bierl, « Le « chamanisme » et la comédie ancienne. Recours générique à un atavisme et guérison », Methodos [Online], 7 | 2007, Online since 05 July 2007, connection on 23 August 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/methodos.625

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About the author

Anton Bierl

Professeur à l’Université de Bâ

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Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la revue Methodos sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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