The so-called old comedy, of which Aristophanes is the only surviving representative, flourished at the time of the Peloponnesian War which shook Greek civilization. There is no good single modern analogue of the old comedy. It is a blend of Shakespeare's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' with Bernard Shaw. It is extravaganza combined with the dramatic criticism of ideas and set off with occasional flights of true poetry. So at least it appears in Aristophanes, who in native genius and spontaneous mastery of expression ranks with the four or five supreme poets of Greece.
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