“It’s this that grieves us most of all, to see men who have never served or held either lance or oar in defense of their country, enriching themselves at our expense without ever raising a blister on their hands.”
Aristophanes' The Wasps is a timeless comedy, combining witty satire and raucous slapstick to delightful effect. Modern critics have acclaimed it as a perfectly realized fantasy, remarkable for its wit.
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."
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 in the 420s for his outspoken attacks on prominent politicians. In 405 however, his fortunes improved, and he was publicly honored for promoting Athenian unity in The Frogs. The Wasps is generally recognized as one of Aristophanes' greatest masterworks, for its incredibly imaginative plot and clever lyrics. His trademark dazzling verbal agility is very much on display.