Five times in the extant comedies of Aristophanes, the members of the chorus remove part or all of their costumes. In this chapter, I seek to provide a new, unifying explanation for the practice of choral stripping: I argue that Aristophanes inherits a pre-comic tradition of choral disrobing, but that he uses moments of choral costume change for specific dramatic purposes within each of his plays. The theatrical audience’s knowledge of the comic tradition of choral disrobing allows Aristophanes to build suspense, to play with audience expectations, and to fulfill or deny the tradition as he sees fit.

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