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An Obscure Comedy
by Alex Andy Phuong

Aristophanes is a playwright who is very skilled at comedy.  Some of his plays, like Lysistrata, explore what it means to be human through plots filled with humorous elements.  The Acharnians might not be as well-known as some of the famous tragedies of playwrights like Euripides, but this play essentially satirizes tragedy by including Euripides himself as a character.  Essentially, The Acharnians is a drama that is not as well-known as Aristophanes other plays, like Clouds or Lysistrata, but still captures the essence of the historical period in which it was written by interweaving current events at that time into the plot of the play.

In this play, the plot centers upon an old farmer named Dikaiopolis, who appears at the beginning of the play by sitting on the Pnyx.  He grew tired about the sheer length of the Peloponnesian War, and he also wants to go back home to the village where he originally resides.  He also thinks that the people at Athens had spent too much time arguing about the war itself, and he yearns for the end of this war so that he can find peace at last.

The play is much more than simply a humorous production because it attempts to provide social commentary on the people that were alive during the life of Aristophanes.  In a way, Aristophanes employs humor to show how even sometimes the great tragedians are not that dignified because of the simple fact that famous playwrights are just as human as everyone else.  The protagonist is a farmer, and so were many others from that historical era.  In the end, this play is an example of farce because of its absurdity during a historical period filled with tension, such as the warfare that happened between different types of people.  Nevertheless, differing individuals are all just as human as the people that were fighting against one another.