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Five Plays by Aristophanes


Five Plays by Aristophanes




Aristophanes' Lysistrata is the timeless comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War by persuading the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace—a strategy that inflames the battle between the sexes.


The Frogs tells the story of the god Dionysus, who, despairing of the state of Athens' tragedians, travels to Hades to bring the Euripides back from the dead. He brings along his slave Xanthias, who is smarter and braver than Dionysus.

The Wasps ridicules one of the Athenian institutions: the law courts. A large net has been spread over a house, the entry barricaded and two slaves are sleeping in the street outside.

The two slaves wake and we learn they are keeping guard over a 'monster' who has an unusual disease: he is addicted to the law courts—indeed, he is a "trialophile."

The Clouds begins with Strepsiades complaining to the audience that he is too worried about his household debts to sleep; Strepsiades thinks up a plan to get out of debt by enrolling in Socrates’ “Thinkery,” the better to beat his creditors in court through superior arguments.

The Birds, is the comic tale in which two wily Athenians persuade the birds to build a utopian city called Necphelococcygia (which translates roughly as "Cloud Cuckoo Land"), thus blocking the Olympian gods and installing themselves as new deities.

ARISTOPHANES (c. 445-386 BC) was a satirical playwright of ancient Athens. He had his first play produced when he was twenty-one, and wrote some forty plays in all. Little is known about his personal life, but he was twice threatened with prosecution for his outspoken attacks on prominent politicians. In 405 however, his fortunes improved, and he was publicly honored for promoting Athenian unity. The five plays included herein are generally recognized as some of Aristophanes' greatest masterworks, for their imaginative plot, clever lyrics, and poetry.


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