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MYTHOLOGICAL MONSTERS IN ARISTOPHANES’ BIRDS

Vyara Kalfina

Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski”

Abstract: If we think of depictions of monstrosity in ancient literature, the comedy would not be the first genre to come to our mind. This does not mean that the comedy does not depict mythological monstrous creatures, usually hybrid monsters. However, unlike the other genres and dramatic uses of such mythological figures the comedy does not aim to provoke fear by describing them – it usually presents monstrosity in a grotesque way. The mythological monsters in Aristophanes are not frightful, their monstrous nature is tamed and ‘normalized’ to the level of everyday experience. The current analysis focuses on the monstrous (in terms of usual mythological strategies of depiction) characteristics of king Tereus and his companions in the comedy Birds. It analyses the dwelling of Tereus, his depiction and the subtle references to ancient Thracian religious concepts related to his biographical survival after metamorphosis.

Keywords: Monsters, Aristophanes’ Comedy Birds, Tereus, Prokne, Ancient Thracian Religious Concepts