Thesis Director: Dr. Shannon N. Byrne; Thesis Reader: Dr. Niamh O'Leary; Thesis Reader: Mr. Jay Arns; HAB Course Director: Dr. Shannon Hogue
When Dionysius the tyrant wished to be educated on the polity of Athens, Plato was said to have sent him the poetry of Aristophanes. It was through the works of Aristophanes that foreigners could learn how Athens functioned. The works of Aristophanes span 37 years, and won him multiple awards in this time. If Dionysius wished to learn about modern day America, then I think it would be best to give him the corpus of South Park. Over the course of two decades, this series has aired 267 episodes and has been consistently renewed. Though South Park does not capture the intricacies of what happens in America, it captures the general sentiment surrounding these events. What it captures, is the zeitgeist of America, the spirit of the times. Just as Aristophanes captured the polity of Athens, so too did he capture its zeitgeist. When compared, these zeitgeists show many similarities, such as the pervading sense of apathy and unhappiness inundated with brief bursts of hope.
Neyer, James F., "America and Athens as Seen Through South Park and Aristophanes" (2016). Honors Bachelor of Arts. 15.
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