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Encyclopedia > The Frogs
The Frogs

Sketch of Aristophanes
Written by Aristophanes
Chorus Frogs, Initiates, citizens of Hades
Characters Dionysus
Xanthias, Dionysus' slave
Heracles
corpse
Charon
Aeacus, janitor of Hades
maid
hostess
Plathane, maid of the inn
Euripides
Aeschylus
Pluto or Hades
various extras
Setting Outside Heracles' house; Lake Acheron; Hades
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Wikisource
Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article:
The Frogs

Frogs (Βάτραχοι (Bátrachoi)) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed at the Lenaia, one of the Festivals of Dionysus, in 405 BC, and received first place.[citation needed] Image File history File links Aristophanes_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_12788. ... This article is about the 5-4th century BC dramatist. ... Maened The Dionysian Mysteries probably began as an ancient initiation society, or family of similar societies, centred on a primeval nature god (and his consort), apparently associated with horned animals, serpents and solitary predators (primarily big cats), later known to the Greeks in the eclectic figure of Dionysus. ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ... This article is about the ancient deity. ... Alcides redirects here. ... Charon may refer to: Charon (mythology) - the figure from Greek, and later Christian mythology, who ferried the dead across the river Acheron in the underworld Hades and Hell, respectively. ... In Greek mythology, Aeacus (Greek: Aiakos, bewailing or earth borne) was king in the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. ... A statue of Euripides. ... This article is about the ancient Greek playwright. ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ... Acheron river near the village of Glyki. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Greek comedy is the name given to a wide genre of theatrical plays written, and performed, in Ancient Greece. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... This article is about the 5-4th century BC dramatist. ... The Lenaia was a dramatic but one of the lesser festivals in Athens and Ionia in ancient Greece. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC 420s BC 410s BC - 400s BC - 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC Years: 410 BC 409 BC 408 BC 407 BC 406 BC - 405 BC - 404 BC 403 BC...

Contents

Plot

The Frogs tells the story of the god Dionysus, despairing of the state of Athens' tragedians, and allegedly recovering from the disastrous Battle of Arginusae. He travels to Hades to bring Euripides back from the dead. He brings along his slave Xanthias, who is smarter, stronger, more rational, more prudent, and braver than Dionysus. The play opens as Xanthias and Dionysus argue over what kind of complaints Xanthias can use to open the play comically. This article is about the ancient deity. ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... Combatants Sparta Athens Commanders Callicratidas† 8 generals Strength 120 ships 155 ships Casualties 70 ships 25 ships The naval Battle of Arginusae took place in 406 BC during the Peloponnesian War just east of the island of Lesbos. ... Hades, Greek god of the underworld, enthroned, with his bird-headed staff, on a red-figure Apulian vase made in the 4th century BC. For other uses, see Hades (disambiguation). ... A statue of Euripides. ...


To find a reliable path to Tartarus, Dionysus seeks advice from his half-brother Heracles who had been there before in order to retrieve the hell hound Cerberus. Dionysus shows up at his doorstep dressed in a lion-hide and carrying a club. Heracles, upon seeing the effeminate Dionysus dressed up like himself, can't help but laugh. At the question of which road is quickest to get to Hades, Heracles replies with the options of hanging yourself, drinking poison, or jumping off a tower. Dionysus opts for the longer journey across a lake (possibly Lake Acheron); the one which Heracles took himself. Alcides redirects here. ... Heracles and threatened Cerberus, Attic black-figure neck-amphora, ca. ... Acheron river near the village of Glyki. ...


When Dionysus arrives at the river, Charon ferries him across. Xanthias, being a slave, is not allowed in the boat, because he was unable to take part in the Battle of Arginusae, and has to walk around it. As Dionysus helps row, he hears a chorus of croaking frogs (the only scene in the play featuring frogs). Their chant—Brecece·cecs? cò·acs? cò·acs? (Hellènic: Βρεκεκεκέξ κοάξ κοάξ)—is constantly repeated, and Dionysus joins in and out-chants them. When he arrives at the shore, Dionysus meets up with Xanthias, and they get a brief scare from Empusa. A second chorus composed of spirits of Dionysian Mystics soon appear. Michelangelos rendition of Charon. ... Combatants Sparta Athens Commanders Callicratidas† 8 generals Strength 120 ships 155 ships Casualties 70 ships 25 ships The naval Battle of Arginusae took place in 406 BC during the Peloponnesian War just east of the island of Lesbos. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... In ancient Greek mythology, the Empusa (or Empousa) was a female supernatural monster or demoness. ... Maened The Dionysian Mysteries probably began as an ancient initiation society, or family of similar societies, centred on a primeval nature god (and his consort), apparently associated with horned animals, serpents and solitary predators (primarily big cats), later known to the Greeks in the eclectic figure of Dionysus. ...


The next encounter is with Aeacus, who mistakes Dionysus for Heracles due to his attire. Still angry over Heracles' theft of Cerberus, Aeacus threatens to unleash several monsters on him in revenge. Scared, Dionysus trades clothes with Xanthias. A maid then arrives and is happy to see Heracles. She invites him to a feast with virgin dancing girls, and Xanthias is more than happy to oblige. But Dionysus quickly wants to trade back the clothes. Dionysus, back in the Heracles lion-skin, encounters more people angry at Heracles, and so he makes Xanthias trade a third time. In Greek mythology, Aeacus (Greek: Aiakos, bewailing or earth borne) was king in the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. ...


When Aeacus returns, Xanthias tells him he should torture Dionysus to obtain the truth as to whether or not he is really a thief, and he offers several brutal options in which to do it. The terrified Dionysus tells the truth that he is a god. After each is whipped, Dionysus is brought before Aeacus' masters, and the truth is verified.


Dionysus then finds Euripides in the middle of a conflict. Euripides, who had only just recently died, is challenging the great Aeschylus to the seat of 'Best Tragic Poet' at the dinner table of Hades. A contest is held with Dionysus as judge. The two playwrights take turns quoting verses from their plays and making fun of the other. Euripides argues the characters in his plays are better because they are more true to life and logical, whereas Aeschylus believes his idealized characters are better as they are heroic and models for virtue. Aeschylus gets the upper hand in the argument, and begins making a fool of Euripides. He shows that Euripides' verse is predictable and formulaic by having Euripides quote lines from many of his prologues, each time interjecting with "...lost his little bottle of oil." Euripides counters by setting Aeschylus' lyric verse to flute music, showing that it easily conforms to iambic tetrameter, expressed by the segment "oho what a stroke come you not to the rescue" (Lattimore translation) from Aeschylus' lost play Myrmidons. Aeschylus retorts to this by mocking Euripides' choral meters and lyric monodies with castanets. This article is about the ancient Greek playwright. ... A prologue (Greek πρόλογος, from προ~, pro~ - fore~, and lógos, word), or rarely prolog, is a prefatory piece of writing, usually composed to introduce a drama. ... Achilles is a trilogy of plays written by the Greek tragedian Aeschylus. ...


To end the debate, a balance is brought in and each are told to tell a few lines into it. Whoever's lines have the most "weight" will cause the balance to tip in their favor. Aeschylus 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. Euripides gives cleverly worded but essentially meaningless answers while Aeschylus provides more practical advice, and Dionysus decides to take Aeschylus back instead of Euripides. Before leaving, Aeschylus proclaims that Sophocles should have his chair while he is gone, not Euripides. This article is about the Greek tragedian. ...


Honors

The Frogs won first place at the Lenaia in 405 BC, and was so successful it was granted an unprecedented second performance early in 404 BC. Aristophanes was also awarded an olive wreath for the political advice he gave in the play.[citation needed] Olive branch Olive branch is a colloquial term referring to a concession or a gesture of peace, as well as a peace symbol. ...


Critical Analysis

Politics

Kenneth Dover asserts that the underlying political theme of The Frogs is essentially “old ways good, new ways bad”[1]. He points to the parabasis for evidence of this: “The antepirrhema of the parabasis (718-37) urges the citizen-body to reject the leadership of those whom it now follows, upstarts of foreign parentage (730-2), and turn back to men of known integrity who were brought up in the style of noble and wealthy families” (Dover 33). Kleophon is mentioned in the ode of the parabasis (674-85), and is both “vilified as a foreigner” (680-2) and maligned at the end of the play (1504, 1532). In Greek comedy, the parabasis (plural parabases) is a point in the play when all of the actors leave the stage and the chorus is left to address the audience directly. ... Cleophon (Greek: , Kleophōn; ?-404 BCE) was an Athenian politician and demagogue who was of great influence during the Peloponnesian War. ...


The Frogs deviates from the pattern of political standpoint offered in Aristophanes’ earlier works, such as The Acharnians (425 BC), Peace (421 BC), and Lysistrata (411 BC), which have all been termed 'peace' plays. The Frogs is not often thus labeled, however – Dover points out that though Kleophon was adamantly opposed to any peace which did not come of victory, and the last lines of the play suggest Athens ought to look for a less stubborn end to the war, Aeschylus’ advice (1463-5) lays out a plan to win and not a proposition of capitulation. Also, The Frogs contains solid, serious messages which represent significant differences from general critiques of policy and idealistic thoughts of good peace terms. During the parabasis, Aristophanes presents advice to give the rights of citizens back to people who had participated in the oligarchic revolution in 411 BC, arguing they were misled by Phrynichos' 'tricks' (literally 'wrestlings'). Phrynichos was a leader of the oligarchic revolution who was assassinated, to general satisfaction, in 411. This proposal was simple enough to be instated by a single act of the assembly, and was actually put into effect by Patrokleides’ decree after the loss of the fleet at Aegospotami. The anonymous Life states that this advice was the basis of Aristophanes’ receipt of the olive wreath, and the author of the ancient Hypothesis says admiration of the parabasis was the major factor that led to the play's second production[2]. Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Acharnians in Greek The Acharnians (Ancient Greek: / AkharneÄ©s) is a comedic play by the ancient Greek satirist Aristophanes. ... A peace dove, widely known as a symbol for peace, featuring an olive branch in the doves beak. ... Lysistrata (Attic Greek: Λυσιστράτη Lysistratê, Doric Greek: Λυσιστράτα Lysistrata), loosely translated to she who disbands armies, is an anti-war Greek comedy, written in 411 BC by Aristophanes. ... This article is about the capital of Greece. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Oligarchy (Greek , Oligarkhía) is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family or military powers). ... Phrynichus, son of Polyphradmon and pupil of Thespis, was one of the earliest of the Greek tragedians. ... Combatants Sparta Athens Commanders Lysander 6 generals Strength Unknown 170 ships Casualties Minimal 160 Ships, Thousands of sailors The naval Battle of Aegospotami took place in 404 BC and was the last major battle of the Peloponnesian War. ...


J.T. Sheppard contends that the exiled general Alcibiades is a main focus of The Frogs. At the time the play was written and produced, Athens was in dire straits in the war with the Peloponnesian League, and the people, Sheppard claims, would logically have Alcibiades on their minds. Sheppard quotes a segment of text from near the beginning of the parabasis: Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides (Greek: ; English /ælsɪbaɪədi:z/; 450 BC–404 BC), also transliterated as Alkibiades, was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. ... The Peloponnesian League was an alliance of states in the Peloponnese in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. By the end of the 6th century, Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese, and was the political and military hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful state. ...

 But remember these men also, your own kinsmen, sire and son, Who have oftimes fought beside you, spilt their blood on many seas; Grant for that one fault the pardon which they crave you on their knees. You whom nature made for wisdom, let your vengeance fall to sleep; Greet as kinsmen and Athenians, burghers true to win and keep, Whosoe'er will brave the storms and fight for Athens at your side! (Murray translation, from l. 697) 

He states that though this text ostensibly refers to citizens dispossessed of their rights, it will actually evoke memories of Alcibiades, the Athenians' exiled hero. Further support includes the presentation of the chorus, who recites these lines, as initiates of the mysteries. This, Sheppard says, will also prompt recollection of Alcibiades, whose initial exile was largely based on impiety regarding these religious institutions. Continuing this thought, the audience is provoked into remembering Alcibiades' return in 408 BC, when he made his peace with the goddesses. The reason Aristophanes hints so subtly at these points, according to Sheppard, is because Alcibiades still had many rivals in Athens, such as Kleophon and Adeimantus, who are both blasted in the play. Sheppard also cites Aeschylus during the prologue debate, when the poet quotes from The Oresteia: For other uses, see Initiation (disambiguation). ... The Eleusinian Mysteries (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. ... The Eumenides redirects here. ...

 Subterranean Hermes, guardian of my father's realms, Become my savior and my ally, in answer to my prayer. For I am come and do return to this my land. (Dillon translation, from l. 1127) 

This choice of excerpt again relates to Alcibiades, still stirring his memory in the audience. Sheppard concludes by referencing the direct mention of Alcibiades' name, which occurs in the course of Dionysus' final test of the poets, seeking advice about Alcibiades himself and a strategy for victory. Though Euripides first blasts Alcibiades, Aeschylus responds with the advice to bring him back, bringing the subtle allusions to a clearly stated head and concluding Aristophanes' point[3].


Structure of The Frogs

According to Kenneth Dover the structure of The Frogs is as follows: In the first section Dionysus' has the goal of gaining admission to Pluto's palace, and he does so by line 673. The parabasis follows, (lines 674-737) and in the dialogue between the slaves a power struggle between Euripides and Aeschylus is revealed. Euripides is jealous of the other's place as the greatest tragic poet. Pluto is asked by Dionysus to mediate the contest or agon. [4] For other uses, see Pluto (disambiguation). ...


Charles Paul Segal [5] argues that The Frogs is unique in its structure, because it combines two forms of comic motifs, a journey motif and a contest motif or agon motif, with each motif being given equal weight in the play. Look up agon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Segal contends that Aristophanes transformed the Greek comedy structure when he downgraded the contest or agon which usually preceded the parabasis and expanded the parabasis into the agon. In Aristophanes earlier plays, ie., The Acharnians and The Birds, the protagonist is victorious prior to the parabasis and after the parabasis is usually shown implementing his reforms. Segal suggests this deviation gave a tone of seriousness to the play. For more detail see Old Comedy. The Birds may refer to: The Birds (play), by Aristophanes The Birds (story), by Daphne du Maurier The Birds (film), directed by Alfred Hitchcock The Birds (band), British The Birds, by Ottorino Respighi The Birds (musical), a play by David Cerda and Pauline Pang A nickname for the Baltimore Orioles... Greek comedy is the name given to a wide genre of theatrical plays written, and performed, in Ancient Greece. ...


Sophocles

Sophocles is mentioned only a few times in The Frogs, and readers new to the play may wonder why he is excluded from the competition of poets. Aristophanes excuses Sophocles' absence by Dionysus' and Aeacus' explanations when asked about him: Dionysus replies to Herakles that he wishes to test Sophocles' son Iophon's skill, and Aeacus tells Xanthias that Sophocles held Aeschylus in high respect and did not dispute Aeschylus' position. Dover questions the dearth of Sophocles' presence, and explains it with respect to the play's time of composition. Aristophanes began composing The Frogs after Euripides' death around 406 BC, while Sophocles still lived. Sophocles' death during that year may have forced Aristophanes to adjust some details of the play, but if the work was already in its late stages, the changes could easily have taken the form of the few mentions of Sophocles in the surviving work.[6] Iophon (fl. ...

Theatrical poster for the 2004 Broadway production of The Frogs
Theatrical poster for the 2004 Broadway production of The Frogs

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Theatrical poster for the 2004 Broadway production of The Frogs. ...

References to the play

In the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera The Pirates of Penzance one of the main characters, in an introductory song explaining all the qualities of a Modern Major-General, sings that he "knows the croaking chorus from The Frogs of Aristophanes", among many other obscure accomplishments. W. S. Gilbert Arthur Sullivan Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian era partnership of librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). ... Drawing of the Act I finale The Pirates of Penzance, or The Slave of Duty, is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. ...


Stephen Sondheim adapted The Frogs to a musical of the same name, using characters of George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare instead of the Greek playwrights. Stephen Joshua Sondheim (b. ... Theatrical poster for the 2004 Broadway production of The Frogs. ... George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856–2 November 1950) was a world-renowned Irish author. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Translations

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Gilbert Murray (or George Gilbert Aime) (January 2, 1866 - 1957) was a British classical scholar and diplomat. ... Benjamin Bickley Rogers (Shepton Montagu, Somerset, December 11, 1828-Twickenham, September 22, 1919) was an English classical scholar. ... Arthur S. Way (1847- ? ) was an English classical scholar and poet, born at Dorking. ... Richmond Alexander Lattimore (May 6, 1906 - February 26, 1984) was an American poet and translator known for his translations of the Greek classics, especially his versions of the Iliad and Odyssey, still considered superior despite their age. ... Matt Dillon is the name of: Matt Dillon, actor Matt Dillon (computer scientist), founder of the DragonFly BSD project Marshal Matt Dillon, the main character in the western drama Gunsmoke Category: ...

Additional Resources

  • The Frogs in Greek (from Perseus)
  • The Frogs on Everything2

Image:Http://www.crazy-frogs.com/images/crazy-frog-1280x1024-2.jpg[[1]]== The Frog== References== Everything2, Everything2, or E2 for short, is a collaborative Web-based community consisting of a database of interlinked user-submitted written material. ...

  1. ^ Dover, Kenneth, ed. Frogs. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Questia. 3 Dec. 2007 http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=91394614.
  2. ^ Dover, Kenneth, ed. Frogs. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Questia. 3 Dec. 2007 http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=91394614.
  3. ^ “Politics in the Frogs of Aristophanes” Sheppard, J.T. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 30. (1910), pp. 249-259. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0075-4269%281910%2930%3C249%3APITFOA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-S
  4. ^ Dover, Kenneth, ed. Frogs. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Questia. 3 Dec. 2007 http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=91394614.
  5. ^ "The Character and Cults of Dionysus and the Unity of the Frogs" Charles Paul Segal. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 65. (1961), pp. 207-242. Stable URL: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0073-0688%281961%2965%3C207%3ATCACOD%3E2.0.CO%3B2-P
  6. ^ Dover, Kenneth, ed. Frogs. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Questia. 3 Dec. 2007 http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=91394614.
Image File history File links Aristophanes_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_12788. ... This article is about the 5-4th century BC dramatist. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Acharnians in Greek The Acharnians (Ancient Greek: / Akharneĩs) is a comedic play by the ancient Greek satirist Aristophanes. ... Aristophanes play The Knights is an unbridled criticism of Cleon, one of the most powerful men in ancient Athens. ... The Clouds (Nephelae,Νεφέλαι) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes lampooning the sophists and the intellectual trends of late fifth-century Athens. ... The Wasps is a comedy by Aristophanes. ... Peace is a comedy written and produced by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. ... The Birds (Ornithes) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes in 414 BC, and performed that year for the Festival of Dionysus. ... Lysistrata (Attic Greek: Λυσιστράτη Lysistratê, Doric Greek: Λυσιστράτα Lysistrata), loosely translated to she who disbands armies, is an anti-war Greek comedy, written in 411 BC by Aristophanes. ... Thesmophoriazusae (Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria) is a comedy written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. ... Aristophanes Assemblywomen (or in Greek Ecclesiazousae ) is a play similar in theme to Lysistrata in that a large portion of the comedy comes from women involving themselves in politics. ... In Greek mythology, Plutus (wealth) was a son of Demeter and Iasion and was the personification of wealth. ...

 
 

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