Unlike predecessors such as Aristophanes, Menander's comedies tended to center on the fears and foibles of the ordinary man, his personal relationships, family life and social mishaps rather than politics and public life.
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His comedies not only provided their audience with a brief respite from reality, but also gave audiences an accurate, while not greatly detailed, picture of life.
This led an ancient critic to ask if life influenced Menander in the writing of his plays or if the case was vice versa.
Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods: Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New Comedy.
Old Comedy survives today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while Middle Comedy is largely lost, i.e.
He was one of a large number of comic poets working in Athens in the late 5th century, his most important contemporary rivals being Hermippus and Eupolis.