This document was originally published in The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization, vol. 1. ed. Alfred Bates. London: Historical Publishing Company, 1906. pp. 30-31.

The new comedy lasted throughout the reign of the Macedonian rulers, ending about 260 B.C. It may be studied to better advantage in the Latin adaptations by Plautus and Terence than in the few Greek fragments that have come down to us [1], nor did it differ essentially from the comic drama of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Congreve and Wycherley. For the first time love became the principal element in the drama, but it also was seldom an honest love. The heavy father also makes his appearance, as still we know him, and is often led into the vices and follies which he has reproved in his son. With these exceptions the characters were very much as in the middle comedy, but with the addition of the mercenary soldier newly returned from the wars, with noisy tongue, full purse and empty head. There can be little doubt that the new comedy represented faithfully the most salient features of Athenian society; but it made no attempt to improve it, presenting only in attractive colors the lax morality of the age.

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1 Since the publication of this article, the complete text of Dyskolos, a play by Menander, the leading writer of New Comedy, has been rediscovered. It is the only example of New Comedy to have survived in its entirety. A few long fragments by Menander have survived as well from such plays as The Arbitration, The Girl from Samos, The Shorn Girl, and The Hero.

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