Finally, in an attempt to end the stalemated debate, a balance is brought in and the two tragedians are told to put a few of their weightiest lines onto it, to see in whose favour the balance will tip. Aeschylus easily wins, but Dionysus is still unable to decide whom he will revive. He finally decides to take the poet who gives the best advice about how to save the city of Athens. Euripides gives cleverly worded but essentially meaningless answers while Aeschylus provides more practical advice, and Dionysus decides to take Aeschylus back instead of Euripides.
The Frogs and Other Plays by Aristophanes
Before leaving, Aeschylus proclaims that the recently deceased Sophocles should have his chair at the dinner table while he is gone, not Euripides. Certain passages in the play also seem to stir memories of the returned Athenian general Alcibiades after his earlier defection. As it happens, however, Sophocles also died during that year, and that may have forced Aristophanes to revise and adjust some details of the play which was probably already in the late stages of development , and this may well account for the mention of Sophocles late in the surviving version of the work.
Aristophanes does not scruple to attack and mock Dionysus , the guardian god of his own art and in honour of whom the play itself was exhibited, secure in the belief that the gods understood fun as well, if not better, than men. His half-brother, the hero Heracles , is likewise treated somewhat irreverently, depicted as a boorish brute. Everyone should read them. Even though they were written so long ago they are still funny. Also they a cleaver like a mixture of Jane Austen wit with Shakespeare thrown in as well.
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View 1 comment. Good book but not a quick nor easy read. I've literally stood where the ancient Greeks performed such plays and it is nice to have finally read some of them. These were part morality plays and part attacks on rivals. I should have been paying more attention to the footnotes sooner. I guess sometimes i'm an arrogant reader and think i can just read without paying attention to all the footnotes.
Or, perhaps i just like to get into the flow of the book and won't want distractions, even in the form Good book but not a quick nor easy read. Or, perhaps i just like to get into the flow of the book and won't want distractions, even in the form of footnotes. For these plays, the footnotes are critical to getting the most of the experience - unless i guess you are a world-class expert in ancient Greek personalities and language.
The Frogs, and Other Plays. Translated with an Introd. by David Barrett Summary & Study Guide
Oct 18, EsthaL rated it really liked it. Hilarious and supremely entertaining , there's never a dull moment! Frogs steals the show. Not only does it have the sassiest dialogues but the hits keep on coming one after the other. This is a must read for the ones who are familiar with Greek tragedies; and for the ones who are not. May 17, Brett Winchester rated it liked it. Great story of athenian political scope, and the double act in which the comic uses. Dec 28, Abigail Cliff rated it liked it. Amusing - must brush up on my Greek tragedy.
Read as a part of my classical studies course in secondary school. Sep 17, Steph rated it liked it. Only read Frogs. Mar 07, Tony Foxhoven rated it it was amazing. After reading all of the tragedies I wanted to continue on into the comedies. This was one of the most enjoyable I have read of the ancient writings.
Sep 27, Andrada rated it liked it Shelves: history-ancient , theatre. I decided therefore to try reading a couple of them. I rather enjoyed his work in the end. At times outrageous and bawdy, his plays have a current of underlying substance, whether as political or social commentary or literary criticism. Frogs is the best example of all these things. And it all just works brilliantly!
The other two plays by contrast are much less nuanced and engaging. I found Wasps to be rather tedious with its parodic over-the-top style that descended into downright absurdism. Women at the Thesmophoria on the other hand had most of the slapstick and crude humour, but its theme was shaky and its conclusion weak. Although I might still stay away from Clouds… Jun 03, Spencer Woollaston rated it really liked it. This was my first time reading Aristophanes, so I'm yet to read those of the surviving plays not included in this edition.
As such, at the moment I can't really comment on whether this particular edition is better than another by choice of texts.
However, I think its worth mentioning that after this, I'm definitely going to be reading the rest of Aristophanes' work, entertaining as they were. First things first, please drop the common misconception that classic texts- and especially antiquity- w This was my first time reading Aristophanes, so I'm yet to read those of the surviving plays not included in this edition. First things first, please drop the common misconception that classic texts- and especially antiquity- were all very serious, very sensible, very snobby.
No, it's just not true. The human race has always loved- to our merit or fault- penis jokes, flatulence jokes, colourful invective. Aristophanes is no exception. In Wasps, Women at the Thesmophoria, and Frogs, we get all things silly and crude.
The Frogs – Aristophanes – | Comedy Summary & Analysis | Ancient Greece – Classical Literature
If you think you're too grown-up for that sort of childish humour, I think you should grow-up out of your insecurities. Enjoy it! Penis jokes are funny, I promise If not, well, okay then. But, there is something I took away from this on the nature of comedy. Typical of Ancient Greek Drama and Comedy, mythology is incorporated within the stories through references in Wasps and Women, and with a more direct involvement in Frogs.
The effect of this on me was to create a sense of magic and escapism- perfect for comedy. The best modern example I could think of was Mighty Boosh: magic and reality are blended seamlessly together, scepticism is suspended, and the combination never feels jarring. There may be, perhaps, some ethical differences, but I think it's important not to condemn the past with our modern morality so much.
The gay jokes, for example. Women at the Thesmophoria is built on them. However, at least for me, they never felt hateful, more a playful nudge nudge wink wink he lets "himself be buggered" kind of thing. Actual quote, by the way. I also found myself quite fond of the character Agathon, the effeminate "passive" homosexual with a "slack passage Most of all, Aristophanes' work is just an interesting little document on the culture and politics of Athens.
The notes included in this edition were quite good in this regard. I love learning about ancient literature and mythology, and reading this was time well spent. Feb 04, March rated it really liked it. Translating Aristophanes into English must be the most thankless task in classical scholarship. I have read a many different translations Roche, the tryhard Fitts, the stale Dickinson of various plays of Aristophanes and none of them has managed to get a laugh out of me.
David Barrett's translations are the freshest and most engaging I have read. Half in prose and half in verse with varied metric and rhyme schemes to keep things interesting , the result is a little like a W. Gilbert libret Translating Aristophanes into English must be the most thankless task in classical scholarship. Gilbert libretto the renderings of the choral songs are very Gilbertish or Lewis Carrollish, and extremely successful spiced with fart jokes and the occasional Monty Python reference. Endnotes can gloss the topical jokes, but they don't make them funny.
I imagine the topical jokes got the biggest laughs in their day, so it is just impossible for a faithful translation to really recreate the experience for a modern reader. In performance one can substitute other topical references, but this would not help on the page since the updated references would quickly stale, compounding the problem.
It also does not help that a lot of the topical humor is of the gay-bashing or fat-shaming variety. But if much of the comedy is lost in translation, Aristophanes's whimsy and imagination survive. Apr 12, Jordan LeMasonry rated it it was amazing. Aristophanes demonstrates clear mastery of the Comedy genre with both Frogs and Women at the Thesmophoria, though I get the impression with both of these plays that he feels a little jaded by all the attention Tragedy receives over Comedy.
Nonetheless, his texts are witty and engaging to this day, and present intriguing insight into the political landscape of Ancient Greece. Frogs has Dionysus, God of revelry and wine, descending into the Underworld with the intention of reviving Euripides becaus Aristophanes demonstrates clear mastery of the Comedy genre with both Frogs and Women at the Thesmophoria, though I get the impression with both of these plays that he feels a little jaded by all the attention Tragedy receives over Comedy.
Frogs has Dionysus, God of revelry and wine, descending into the Underworld with the intention of reviving Euripides because the whole world's falling apart. Along the way, he and his slave Xanthias share much witty banter, and a lengthy agon between Aeschylus and Euripides as each attempts to convince Dionysus of their worth. Ironically - and perhaps deliberately - Dionysus does end up opting for Aeschylus; while I expect this was done humorously, it nonetheless demonstrates the competitive nature of the Dionysia, and how well each poet was received by Athens as a whole.
Women at the Thesmophoria depicts Euripides convincing his father-in-law to dress up as a woman and attend a women-only festival in order to save his good name, in a complete in contrast with Frogs. Thesmophoriazusae it's Greek transliteration also utilises Aristophanes' go-to technique of pinching classic lines from Euripides and playing them off ironically - here, Euripides pretends to be Menelaus to his father's Helen in order to break him out of foreign territory. Complex in thought, yet engagingly written, Thesmophoriazusae perhaps takes the spot as my favourite Aristophanic text, simply for its ingenuity, if not its originality.
Jan 29, aegis rated it liked it. BCE classical greece. Feb 06, Serina rated it liked it Shelves: classics , college. The end where Euripides' plays were parodied extensively was very well done. Wasps Less funny, but still a very silly portrayal of court practices in ancient Athens. Frogs My least favorite.
If I knew all of Euripides' and Aeschylus' plays, this would have been more endurable. But the Chorus just kept going Alexandre Dumas. Edmund Burke.
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Michael Newton. Du Bois. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Aristophanes: Frogs and Other Plays : A new verse translation, with introduction and notes.
Description Aristophanes is the only surviving representative of Greek Old Comedy, an exuberant form of festival drama which flourished in Athens during the fifth century BC. One of the most original playwrights in the entire Western tradition, his comedies are remarkable for their brilliant combination of fantasy and satire, their constantly inventive manipulation of language, and their use of absurd characters and plots to expose his society's institutions and values to the bracing challenge of laughter.
This vibrant collection of verse translations of Aristophanes' works combines historical accuracy with a sensitive attempt to capture the rich dramatic and literary qualities of Aristophanic comedy. The volume presents Clouds, with its famous caricature of the philosopher Socrates; Women at the Thesmophoria or Thesmophoriazusae , a work which mixes elaborate parody of tragedy with a great deal of transvestite burlesque; and Frogs, in which the dead tragedians Aeschylus and Euripides engage in a vituperative contest of 'literary criticism' of each other's plays. Featuring expansive introductions to each play and detailed explanatory notes, the volume also includes an illuminating appendix, which provides information and selected fragments from the lost plays of Aristophanes.
Other books in this series. To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf.