Aristotle defined comedy as an imitation of men worse than the average where tragedy was an imitation of men better than the average. However, the characters portrayed in comedies were not worse than average in every way, only insofar as they are Ridiculous, which is a species of the Ugly. The Ridiculous may be defined as a mistake or deformity not productive of pain or harm to others; the mask, for instance, that excites laughter is something ugly and distorted without causing pain. It is in this sense that Dante used the term in the title of his poem, La Commedia. As time progressed, the word came more and more to be associated with any sort of performance intended to cause laughter. Aristotle's Poetics was translated into Arabic in the medieval Islamic world , where it was elaborated upon by Arabic writers and Islamic philosophers , such as Abu Bischr, and his pupils Al-Farabi , Avicenna , and Averroes.
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Comedy - Wikipedia
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Periods[ edit ] The Alexandrine grammarians , and most likely Aristophanes of Byzantium in particular, seem to have been the first to divide Greek comedy into what became the canonical three periods: These divisions appear to be largely arbitrary, and ancient comedy almost certainly developed constantly over the years. Born in BC, his works, with their pungent political satire and abundance of sexual and scatological innuendo, effectively define the genre today. Aristophanes lampooned the most important personalities and institutions of his day, as can be seen, for example, in his buffoonish portrayal of Socrates in The Clouds , and in his racy anti-war farce Lysistrata. He was one of a large number[ clarification needed ] of comic poets working in Athens in the late 5th century, his most important contemporary rivals being Hermippus and Eupolis.