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Gli dèi, il riso e il comico : la rappresentazione del divino nelle fonti litterarie in lingua greca

Abstract : The representation of the gods in ancient Greek literature is characterized by laughter and humour. This aspect of the description and configuration of the divine world embraces a wide chronological arc, and becomes the object of elaboration and investigation by poets, intellectuals and philosophers, over several centuries. Laughter is a fundamental and recursive component in the representation of both gods and men. It connects mortals and immortals, and at the same time it defines the perimeter of divine figures. In literary sources related to the genre of the epic, gods, like men, laugh and smile; they use irony and sarcasm, resort to humorous jokes that amuse other gods and, in some cases, the audience to whom the songs are addressed. The representation of the Olympic world in the Iliad and in the Odyssey is marked by the laughter and smile of the gods. This is the famous case of the episode of Hephaestus in Book I of the Iliad and the equally famous story of the adultery of Ares and Aphrodite in Book VIII of the Odyssey. Hephaestus, ugly and lame, improvises himself as a cupbearer, a role destined to beautiful and young immortals, and he thus triggers the laughter of the other gods. Being inadequate in relation to the assigned task, and also from an aesthetic point of view, is a mechanism of laughter that works for both gods and men, as illustrated by the case of Thersites. In the Song of Ares and Aphrodite, the gods mock the couple of lovers caught in the act of adultery and indulge in funny and licentious jokes, as if they were men. In Homer's work, the gods are represented in all their power but also with all their weaknesses: this ambivalence is at the origin of the pleasure that the ancient public felt when listening to these stories, as various sources attest. The Comedy and the satyric drama in turn exasperate the anthropomorphism of the gods; the authors exploit this paradox, reducing as much as possible the difference between men and gods. The complexity of the divine figures is thus the subject of a process of simplification and alteration that transforms the gods into true caricatures. The reduction of divine figures into stereotypical characters, characterized by several vices and weaknesses, sets the comic machine in motion. Alongside the homeric episodes and the representations of the gods on the comic scene, we must not forget, finally, the openly parodic representation of the homeric gods in the Batrachomyomachia, and Lucian's humorous criticism of the secular configuration of the divine world, built by poets and philosophers. The humorous and comic representation of the divine is the symptom of a playful dialectic between gods and men, of a joyful and amusing attitude of man towards the religious. This attitude clearly differs from the real act of derision of the divine, illustrated by certain myths and duly sanctioned. The comic, humorous and parodic forms of representation of the Olympic world therefore seem to indicate clearly a choice of articulation of the divine sphere which does not reject but considers laughter as a fundamental tool to reflect on the gods and, consequently, on their relationship with men.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 10:29:07 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:08:43 AM


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Giuliana Ricozzi. Gli dèi, il riso e il comico : la rappresentazione del divino nelle fonti litterarie in lingua greca. Literature. Université Paris sciences et lettres; Università degli studi (Pise, Italie), 2019. Italian. ⟨NNT : 2019PSLEP070⟩. ⟨tel-02637225⟩



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