Menandrean Characters in Context: Menander’s Characters in the fourth century BC and their reception in Modern Greek Theatre.

Stavroula Kiritsi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The thesis explores the way in which character is represented in Menander’s comedies and in the revival, translation, and reception of Menandrean comedy in the modern Greek theatre. Although modern translators and directors may have sought to reproduce the ancient dramas faithfully, they inevitably reshaped and reinterpreted them to conform to audience expectations and the new cultural context. Comparing aspects of character in the ancient and modern plays sheds light on both traditions. In assessing how character was conceived in the Hellenistic period, I make use of ethical works by Aristotle and other philosophers, which provide an appropriate vocabulary for identifying the assumptions of Menander and his audience. For the modern adaptations, I have made extensive use of a variety of archival materials as well as interviews with artists engaged at every stage of the production.
The thesis comprises an Introduction, two Parts (I-II), and Conclusion.
Part I examines Menandrean characters in the context of the Hellenistic Greek audience and society, with special reference to Aristotle’s and Theophrastus’ accounts of character and emotion.
In the first chapter of Part II I survey the ‘loss and survival’ of Menander from antiquity and Hellenistic times, through Byzantium and the post-Byzantine period, to nineteenth-century Greece. Along the way I discuss references to Menander in the commentaries on comedy of Konstantinos Oikonomos (1816); a comedy from the 15th century by Dimitrios Moschos written in Renaissance Italy (the first modern Greek instance of the reception of Menander); the theatrical play Agora by Demetrios Paparigopoulos (1871), the second known adaptation of Menander’s plays in modern Greek; and the first ever Greek production of Menander’s Epitrepontes in 1908.
The rest part of Part II examines the reception of Menandrean characters in the modern Greek theatre. In particular, I examine the construction of characters in two more recent Greek productions of Epitrepontes (1959 and 1980) and in two productions of Dyskolos (1960 and 1985).
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Sheppard, Anne, Supervisor
Award date1 Feb 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 27 Jun 2017


  • Menander's characters

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