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Analytic review - Essay Example

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The political ideology of ancient Athens is explored through sexual fantasies which, as Wohl believes, underlie it. By reading the texts of the ancient historian…
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Analytic review

Download file to see previous pages... Both Thesydides and Aristophanes treat Cleon with clear despise. At the same time, their texts offer sufficient evidence that the political relationship between the Athenian political leaders and the demos was erotically colored. It is eroticism that serves the background of both Pericles and Cleon’s political activity as opposites. In this case, Cleon has been historically perceived as a mere parody of Pericles. He seems to have embodied all features that are not characteristic of Pericles as depicted by Aristophanes. At the same time, this vision helps to reveal much about Pericles. Dr Wohl relies on reading their politics not just through the specific features exhibited by Cleon and Pericles, but through understanding the essence of the eroticism inherent in political visions of the demos and its leaders. This leads to emergence of an elaborate political erotica. Within the limited societal model represented by Athens, the politician and the orator at once gets the support of the demos through violent eros. His open mouth epitomizes his desire to make his listeners open their orifices, too. So they gape at him. Erotically, this pederastic relationship puts the orator in a position of eromenos. This is how Cleon is viewed by Thusydides. Pericles, on his part, is believed not to descend to using the violent eros with fellatio and other sexual practices due to his authority. He sublimates the sexual desire into his authority. Yet, the demos retains his sexual desire which is repressed. The difference is Cleon acknowledges the desire and builds his erotic relationship with the demos on this, while Pericles does not, although he also acts in the same paradigm. In the last section of the chapter, Cleon’s political style is analyzed in terms of his rhetorical eros and then compared with that of Plutarch’s Pericles. For Cleon, this rhetorical eros is the essence of democracy, when the orator pleases the demos by the effeminizing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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