The therapeutic value of laughter is a commonplace of psychology; it is recognized that one of the functions of comedy is to exorcize our fears by causing us to laugh at them. This is one possible meaning of Aristotle's generalization, with ‘many more than one facet’, that comedy represented people as ‘inferior’ to ‘men as they are now’ (Poetics 1448a 18). So, in comedy, we should not expect to find realistic portrayals of people as they actually are, but rather stereotypes, embodying the fears and anxieties, the mild, underlying paranoia about what might happen, of the audience for whom the author is writing. Aristophanes was writing for an Athenian male audience, and he had to strike a chord in them, if his plays were to be successful and win prizes. What, on the evidence of Aristophanes’ plays, were Athenian men worried about?