Complete Plays of Aristophanes (Bantam Classics)
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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.
But from this time on, If any smarty lawyer says to you, No juryman will get his meat and bread, Unless he finds in favor of the plaintiff! What will you do to such a fellow, eh? DEMOS. I’ll snatch him up and pitch him into limbo, Tying around his neck … Hyperbolus! SAUSAGEMAN. That’s right. That’s talking sense! And, on the whole, Please tell me, how will you run the government? DEMOS. Well, first of all, the sailors of my fleet Shall get their pay in full each time they dock!
who claim to be my better. RIGHT LOGIC. What device will you use? WRONG LOGIC. New notions I invent. RIGHT LOGIC. Such stuff succeeds with the fools out there. WRONG LOGIC. No, the wise. RIGHT LOGIC. I’ll lay you out. WRONG LOGIC. Tell me, doing what? RIGHT LOGIC. Speaking what’s just. WRONG LOGIC. And I’ll smother it by speaking the contrary. There’s no such thing As justice, say I. RIGHT LOGIC. You say there’s not? WRONG LOGIC. Where is it, tell me. RIGHT LOGIC. With the gods.
quotations, mainly from Euripides, and the Frogs expects of its audience a high degree of sophistication in literary criticism. All of this would be understandable in works directed to an esoteric audience of scholars; but these plays were addressed to the whole population, and were meant to win prizes, not be a succès d’estime. We have no better evidence than the plays of Aristophanes for the high level of general literary sophistication in Athens, as we have no better evidence than his plays
city too; An envied name forever. SERVANT. I’ve done the job; here, take and cook the thighs While I go fetch the innards and the cates. TRYGAEUS. I’ll see to this: you should have come before. SERVANT. Well, here I am: I’m sure I’ve not been long. TRYGAEUS. Take these, and roast them nicely: here’s a fellow Coming this way, with laurel round his head. Who can he be? SERVANT. He looks an arrant humbug. Some seer, I think. TRYGAEUS. No, no; ’tis Hierocles, The oracle-mongering chap
plumage? Nay, my good friends. For I was once a man. EUELPIDES. It isn’t you we’re laughing at. HOOPOE. Then what? EUELPIDES. Your beak … so funny-looking, don’t you know. HOOPOE. That grievous wrong I owe to Sophocles. To treat me thus—me, Tereus—on the stage! EUELPIDES. So you are Tereus? Thought you were a peacock! HOOPOE. Merely a bird. EUELPIDES. Where are your feathers, then? HOOPOE. They’ve molted all away. EUELPIDES. Been sick … or what? HOOPOE. In winter every wingèd creature