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Greek drama from c. 320 BC to the mid-3rd century BC that offers a mildly satiric view of contemporary Athenian society. Unlike Old Comedy, which parodies public figures and events (seeAristophanes), New Comedy features fictional average citizens in domestic life. The chorus, the representative of forces larger than life, is reduced to a small band of musicians and dancers. Plays usually involve the conventionalized situation of thwarted lovers and contain stock characters. Menander introduced the New Comedy and became its most famous exponent; Plautus and Terence translated its plays for the Roman stage. Elements of New Comedy influenced European drama down to the 18th century.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on New Comedy, visit Britannica.com.
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