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Encyclopedia > Plutus (play)

In Greek mythology, Plutus ("wealth") was a son of Demeter and Iasion and was the personification of wealth. He was blinded by Zeus so that he would be able to dispense his gifts without prejudice. He is associated with Hades and often portrayed with a horn of plenty (sometimes known as a cornucopia).

Plutus, a play by Aristophanes

Aristophanes wrote his comic satire Plutus in c. 380 BC.

The Greek comic satirist Aristophanes in c. 380 BC wrote a play called Plutus that featured the god. Like most of his plays it is a political satire on contemporary Athens featuring the stupid master, the insubordinate slave, and many attacks on the morals of the time.

In form the play features an elderly Athenian citizen, Chremylos and his slave Cario. Chremylos sees himself and his family as being virtuous but poor. He is concerned about this and seeks advice from an oracle. The play starts just after he has received the advice to follow the first man he meets and persuade him to come home with him. That man is Plutus.

The first part of the play examines how the wealth is not distributed to the virtuous, or necessarily to the non-virtuous, but instead it is distributed randomly. Chremylos is convinced that if Plutus' eyesight can be restored, these wrongs can be righted, and the world would be a better place.

The second part introduces the goddess Poverty. She counters Chremylos' arguments that it is better to be rich by arguing that without poverty there would be no slaves (as every slave would buy his freedom) and no fine goods or luxury foods (as no-one would work when everyone was rich).

Finally, Plutus is shown with his eyesight restored. He hands out riches to some and removes riches from those he sees as not being virtuous. This gives rise to rancorous comments and claims of unfairness from those that have had their riches removed.

The play would have been performed in front of the leading Athenians of the time. Most of them would have been rich, and many would not have been virtuous. Aristophanes deliberately saves his most barbed attacks are meant for them.

External link

The text of Plutus (in translation) (http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/27/author_is/8/)

Character in Dante's Divine Comedy

In Dante's Divine Comedy, Plutus is a wolf-like demon of wealth which dwells in the fourth level of hell.

  Results from FactBites:
Plutus (play) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (383 words)
Plutus (Wealth) is an Ancient Greek comedy by the playwright Aristophanes, first produced c.
The first part of the play examines the idea that wealth is not distributed to the virtuous, or necessarily to the non-virtuous, but instead it is distributed randomly.
Plutus, after having his eyesight restored at the Temple of Asclepius, undertakes to distribute riches to some while reducing the fortune of others, based on their perceived virtue or lack of it.
  More results at FactBites »



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