Athenian Drama in Its Political Context

Rhodes P. J.

One recent trend in the study of Athenian drama is to focus on its civic dimension, both as regards the setting in which the plays were performed and as regards the issues with which some of the plays are concerned. This development is to be welcomed, though it should not exclude other approaches to Athenian drama. Frequently, however, the civic approach is used to link both the setting of the performances and the issues explored in the plays specifically with the Athenian democracy. This paper argues that it is better to see a more general link with the Greek polis, while acknowledging that the Athenian setting was a particular version of the Greek polis setting and that sometimes (not necessarily always) there might be a particular Athenian slant on the issues explored.