Explain how Aristophanes is a contemporary of Sophocles, but known for comedy instead of tragedy.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that even though Aristophanes was a contemporary of Sophocles, it becomes evident through his work that he was willing to embrace the comic end of the dramatic genre.  Aristophanes understood his purpose as a playwright to be one that brings out the comic end to consciousness.  It is here in which Aristophanes' dramas are ones in which there is a comic end to them.  Unity and a sense of symmetry in its conclusion are evident.  In Lysistrata, one can see this.  The division and tragic collisions that are present at the exposition of the drama are unified.  The divisions between men and women are resolved by the end of the drama.  The men go home with the women, wars are stopped, and the antagonisms that exists between both genders are presumably put aside.  Aristophanes' comedy lies in the fact that wars can be overcome and that within the consciousness of human beings, a sense of being able to move past divisions as temporary barriers is evident.  It is to the point in which the transcendent condition in the world of Aristophanes is unity and the obstacles that prevent such realizations are temporal.  It is in this where the comedy of Aristophanes' dramas emerge and makes him a poet of the comic sensibility.