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παράβασις). A characteristic, though not indispensable, part of the chorus in the Old Attic comedy. About the middle of the piece, when the action of the play had been developed up to a certain point, the chorus, which had up to this time turned towards the actors on the stage, now turned to the audience. This stepping forward towards the audience is itself also termed parabasis. In this position they made an appeal to the public on behalf of the poet, who could thus give expression to his personal views and wishes, and offer advice, as well as explain the purport of his play, etc. This address stood wholly outside the action of the play. When the parabasis was complete, which was seldom the case, it consisted of seven parts, partly spoken by the leader of the chorus, partly sung by the chorus. One of these parts was called the parabasis in a narrower sense, and consisted chiefly of anapaestic tetrameters. One feature of the parabasis was the introduction of lines relating to topics of the day, which Professor Mahaffy has compared with the “topical songs” of the modern burlesque. See Müller, Hist. of the Lit. of Ancient Greece, Eng. trans. i. p. 401, and Professor Brander Matthews in Classical Studies in Honour of Henry Drisler, pp. 177-178 (N. Y. 1894).

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