The plays in this volume all contain Aristophanes' trademark bawdy comedy and dazzling verbal agility. In THE BIRDS, two frustrated Athenians join the birds to build the utopian city of 'Much Cuckoo in the Clouds'. THE KNIGHTS is a venomous satire on Cleon, a prominent Athenian demagogue, while THE ASSEMBLY WOMEN deals with the battle of the sexes as the women of Athens infiltrate the all-male Assembly in disguise. The lengthy conflict with Sparta is the subject of PEACE, inspired by the hope of a settlement in 421 BC, and WEALTH reflects on the economic catastrophe that hit Athens after the war.
A poet who hated an age of decadence, armed conflict, and departure from tradition, Aristophanes' comic genius influenced the political and social order of his own fifth-century Athens. But as Moses Hadas writes in his introduction to this volume, 'His true claim upon our attention is as the most brilliant and artistic and thoughtful wit our world has known.' Includes The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, Ecclesiazusae, The Frogs, The Knights, Lysistrata, Peace, Plutus, Thesmophoriazusae, and The Wasps.
From the Paperback edition.
Writing at a time when Athens was undergoing a crisis in its social attitudes, Aristophanes was an eloquent opponent of the demagogue and the sophist. This collection includes Lysistrata, the hilariously bawdy anti-war fantasy; The Acharnians, a plea for peace set against the background of the long war with Sparta; and The Clouds, a satire on contemporary philosophy.
The master of ancient Greek comic drama, Aristophanes combined slapstick, humour and cheerful vulgarity with acute political observations. In The Frogs, written during the Peloponnesian War, Dionysus descends to the Underworld to bring back a poet who can help Athens in its darkest hour, and stages a great debate to help him decide between the traditional wisdom of Aeschylus and the brilliant modernity of Euripides. The clash of generations and values is also the object of Aristophanes' satire in The Wasps, in which an old-fashioned father and his loose-living son come to blows and end up in court. And in The Poet and the Women, Euripides, accused of misogyny, persuades a relative to infiltrate an all-women festival to find out whether revenge is being plotted against him.
Whether his target is the war between the sexes or his fellow playwright Euripides, Aristophanes is the most important Greek comic dramatist--and one of the greatest comic playwrights of all time. His writing--at once bawdy and delicate--brilliantly fuses serious political satire with pyrotechnical bombast, establishing the tradition of comedy as high art. His messages are as timely and relevant today as they were in ancient Greece, and his plays still provoke laughter--and thought.
This volume features four celebrated masterpieces: Lysistrata, The Frogs, A Parliament of Women and Plutus (Wealth), all translated by the distinguished poet and translator Paul Roche.
From the fifth to the second century BC, innovative comedy drama flourished in Greece and Rome. This collection brings together the greatest works of Classical comedy, with two early Greek plays: Aristophanes' bold, imaginative Birds, and Menander's The Girl from Samos, which explores popular contemporary themes of mistaken identity and sexual misbehaviour; and two later Roman comic plays: Plautus' The Brothers Menaechmus - the original comedy of errors - and Terence's bawdy yet sophisticated double love-plot, The Eunuch. Together, these four plays demonstrate the development of Classical comedy, celebrating its richness, variety and extraordinary legacy to modern drama.