The significance of the parody of hymnic prayer in Aristoph. Pl. 124-211 has been only partially appreciated by modern scholars. The presence of sollemn religious formulas must be regarded as a structural element of the scene, whose comic effect is based on the application of the hymnic attitude to a situation that paradoxically reverses the relationship between man and god usually found in hymns and prayers. Plutus proves to be utterly inadequate to his role, and the traditional aretalogy becomes a comic attempt to persuade a hesitant god that he is really in possession of a great power. Thus, the very god who is praised is described as surprised to discover his own δύναμις; on the other hand Chremylus promises what in prayers is usually asked to gods, i.e. the intervention of ξύμμαχοι. A close scrutiny of the dialogue allowes to detect other relevant unnoticed hymnic echoes and shows that Aristophanes’ Gebetsparodie has been influenced by some provocative utterances of Hecuba in Euripides’ Trojan Women. A short Appendix tries to rescue the transmitted text of Pl. 130.
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