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Menander (341-290 B.C.) is considered the most important of those Greek playwrights involved in the school of New Comedy.

Only one of the more than 100 plays he is known to have written can be considered anywhere near complete and that (the Dyscolas, or Bad-tempered Man) only came to light in 1958 on an Egyptian papyrus. Fragments of other plays have been recovered since, so scholars live in hope. Those that have been found show a man skilled in the art of writing of a limited range of subjects in an unlimited number of ways. His subject was almost always love, usually unhappy love, either before or during marriage, usually involved disguise and subsequent recognition.

His genius was to make his characters believable, normal – he had the facility to describe human nature in all its diversity with humour, sympathy and wisdom. His comedy is not as outrageous as that of Aristophanes, we rarely laugh out loud; but his lack of buffoonery takes nothing away from his ability to find humour in the human condition and from the enjoyment of his comedy.


‘’”A Dictionary of Ancient Greek Civilisation”’’ Methuen and Co,. London 1970 (I think) pp291–2