The Grouch or Dyskolos

Menander (c.342–c.292 BC), translated by Theodoridis, George (

, translated by Theodoridis, George (contributor-contact-email)
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Menander’s comedy Dyskolos, or The Grouch, is the only one of his plays, and indeed from all of Ancient Greek New Comedy, that has survived in a near-complete form. The play was first staged in 316 BC at the Lenaian festival in Athens, winning Menander the first prize. Rediscovered in Egypt in 1952 and published in 1958, the manuscript forms part of the Bodmer and Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The plot revolves around Sostratos, a wealthy young man, who falls in love with a villager, the daughter of the ill-tempered Knemon. Sostratos earns Knemon’s permission for marriage by rescuing him from a well with the help of Knemon’s stepson, Gorgias. He also arranges his sister’s betrothal to Gorgias. Menander’s play influenced Molière’s The Misanthrope (1666). Notably, Menander’s slave characters are portrayed as smart, autonomous agents influencing, but not altering, other characters’ storylines. Dyskolos explores and critiques the social hierarchy of its era, presenting diverse viewpoints through its characters.

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Theodoridis, George

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