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Brekekekex koax koax now what s that It s a chorus of frogs, of course.Well it wasn t until I heard Frogs mentioned on Goodreads a few months ago that I thought, well from the comments made this play is really worth reading I accordingly purchased it, and the book re surfaced last night Why did it re surface In fact I had forgotten all about it the trigger being my neighbor Mich le who was telling me how noisy the tree frogs are at the moment.I must confess my ignorance in that I ve nev Brekekekex koax koax now what s that It s a chorus of frogs, of course.Well it wasn t until I heard Frogs mentioned on Goodreads a few months ago that I thought, well from the comments made this play is really worth reading I accordingly purchased it, and the book re surfaced last night Why did it re surface In fact I had forgotten all about it the trigger being my neighbor Mich le who was telling me how noisy the tree frogs are at the moment.I must confess my ignorance in that I ve never heard of Aristophanes and can only go by the historical note included in this play Aristophanes c 456 BC to c 386 BC was the foremost writer of comic drama in classical Athens His surviving plays are the only complete examples we have of Old Comedy Frogs was first produced in Athens in 405 BC By this time Athens had been at war with Sparta for over twenty five years I also don t know if this is a definitive translation Mine is by Ian Johnson from Vancouver University, British Columbia, Canada and so if someone knows which translation is preferable, do let me know The translator does admit that he would like to acknowledge the valuable help of W.B Stanford s edition of The Frogs London Macmillan, 1963 The translation is very modern in tone with some of its expressions Is that the true translation I thought a translator should translate according to the period Well, whatever the correct translation, I started this Greek comedy and I ve never laughed so much in my life The play opens on a street leading to Hades and here we have Dionysus also known as Iacchus , the god appearing in human form, carrying a club, one that is commonly associated with Hercules accompanied by his slave Xanthias, who is riding on a donkey and carrying a huge amount of baggage There s an immediate awareness of the audience as Xanthias stated Look master, an audience Shouldn t I speak up Tell them one of those jokes they always fall for And Dionysus response Oh, all right say what you like Only no jokes about how you re dying to piss I can t stand those they re all so stale And from this point, it s fun galore, and continuous show time Dionysus gets the crazy idea that he must go down into Hades and bring back a playwright and after discussing this with Hercules, and tossing in various alternatives such as Euripides and Sophocles, he sets off for Hades in the hope of finding someone.I ve never even imagined having a conversation with a corpse but Dionysus does very well here and the corpse is so witty The former tries to persuade the corpse to carry some luggage into Hades and you have to read the play to appreciate their conversation.There s something so invigorating about a play, especially with the various notes stating what individuals are doing on and off the stage, plus the shouting and roaring as is the case with the frogs here The players are wide ranging including Charon, Hercules, Aeacus, Pluto, various playwrights such as Euripides and Aeschylus, and a splendid chorus of initiates but it s the chorus of frogs that steals the show for me.Also there are notes at the end of the book giving various explanations and it was interesting to see there that as regards the chorus of frogs , there was uncertainty as to whether they remained on the stage or not On stage, I m sure that would have been difficult to portray In all, this Greek comedy is excellent and is definitely to be reread in the future I loved it I really must readabout mythology I often get confused with the Roman and Greek Gods A satirical look at what makes a classic16 June 2012 Before I start this commentary I must make reference to the translation that I am using, namely the 1987 David Barrett translation published by Penguin Classics The reason that I am sourcing this book is because while the original text is not subject to copyright, the modern translation is Even though I do have access to the original text actually, I just checked my collection of Aristophanes plays in the original Greek and the Frogs is not A satirical look at what makes a classic16 June 2012 Before I start this commentary I must make reference to the translation that I am using, namely the 1987 David Barrett translation published by Penguin Classics The reason that I am sourcing this book is because while the original text is not subject to copyright, the modern translation is Even though I do have access to the original text actually, I just checked my collection of Aristophanes plays in the original Greek and the Frogs is not included, however I am sure I can find it on the internet it will take me a lot of time and energy to translate the passages that I want to quote, and as such it is better to cite Barrett s translation instead Anyway, enough of the legalese and onto the play itself The Frogs was first performed in Athens in 405 BC, and that was a time of great distress for the city The 30 year long Peloponesian War was coming to an end and Athens was on the losing side Her allies had been overrun and captured, her fleet was in shambles, and the only person that could possibly save the city, Alcibaides, had been exiled as is prone to happen in a democracy Yet, despite all of the doom and gloom, the festivals were still held, and Aristophanes was still writing plays The Frogs is about how the god Dionysius and his slave Xanthias go down to Hades in an attempt to bring one of the old poets back One of the most insightful aspects of this play is that it gives us a really good insight into who the Athenians considered to be the greatest of the tragic poets At this time both Sophocles and Euripides had died and Aeschylus was long dead , and it is interesting to note that it is these three playwrights that Aristophanes names as being the best This is probably why we have retained their plays and lost the rest including Agathon, who in a way was also considered a good playwright, but not to the extent of these three In many ways, the productions of tragedies at this time were nothing compared to the great writers, and in many cases, we can see a reflection of this in our own times In my own opinion, I am almost ready to suggest that the last work of literature that I have read was American Psycho, which was published in 1989 In my view, there has been nothing written since that I would consider to be a classic or a literary masterpiece Many of the Athenians of this time were probably thinking the same thing In a way, Aristophanes says it best HERACLES But surely there are dozens of these young whippersnappers churning out tragedies these days for sheer verbiage, if that s what you want, they leave Euripides standing DIONYSIUS Small fry, I assure you, insignificant squeakers and twitterers is this an ancient reference to a popular social media site , like a lot of swallows A disgrace to their art, If ever they are granted a chorus, what does their offering at the shrine of Tragedy amount to One cock of the hind leg and they ve pissed themselves dry You never hear of them again I defy you to find a really seminal poet among the whole crowd of them someone who can coin a fine resounding phrase Page 159 If we look through the preceding lines, we note a number of famous poets by name, including Sophocles, Euripides, and yes, Agathon as well, but the concern is that they are all gone, all dead, and there is nobody to take their place So, what is it about these poets that makes them so important, and what sets them out from the other ordinary citizens Well, once again, Aristophanes says it best AESCHYLUS That is the kind of thing a poet should go for You see, from the very earliest times the really great poet has been the one who had a useful lesson to teach Orpheus gave us the mysteries and taught people that it was wrong to kill Musaeus showed us how to cure diseases and prophesised the future Hesiod explained about agriculture and the seasons for ploughing and harvest And why is Homer himself held in such high esteem, if not for the valuable military instruction embodied in his work Organisation, training, equipment, it s all there Page 194 So, as we can see the idea is that the poet is the teacher of many things, like a jack of all trades It reminds me a bit of the role of the Bard in Dungeons and Dragons the one who can do everything, but not all that well Granted, in those days, pretty much everybody wrote poetically, and it is our understanding that it was Herodotus that first wrote in prose though I would heavily dispute this because there are a lot of writings that we don t have, and if we look away from the Greek world we discover that the authors of the Bible were writing in prose long before the Greeks I also wonder if at this time the role of the poet was being replaced by the philosopher After Aristophanes we have only a handful of plays, but a bucketload of Plato and Aristotle among others However, that again is not strictly true since the philosophers were performing their roles as far back as Thales However, philosophy changed from being a primitive form of scientific exploration to an exposition of morality This is what philosophy has become these days, a discussion and exploration of morality I want to finish off with a few comments on a number of the lighter aspects of the play We note that slaves seem to play a role in many of Aristophanes plays as the butt of many of the jokes It is almost as if slaves are viewed comically, and the fall guy for many of the pranks It is not strictly true since Dionysius gets his fare share of beatings in this play as well, but it is interesting to see the view of slaves from an Athenian point of view There are also some quite humerous anecdotes in this play as well The first person Dionysius visits is Heracles, namely because Heracles has been to, and returned from, the underworld However, the only advice that Heracles has for Dionysius is that if he wants to go to Hades then the quickest way there is to kill himself It is amusing because we are aware that people would go into and come back from Hades in legend, Odysseus did so, as well as Heracles, however Heracles suggestions are not what we expect The other amusing part is when Euripides and Aeschylus are competing against each other for who the better poet is From this play it is suggested that Euripides could have been quite an arrogant person, putting a lot of value in his own works, and considering them to beliterally significant than the works of Aeschylus It turns out that we haveof Euripides plays than we do of Aeschylus However, Aeschylus goes to show that he can pretty much demolish all of Euripides prologues through the use of the phrase lost his bottle of oil I can almost imagine the entire audience breaking out in laughter at this, namely because we would do the same thing to our own filmmakers and playwrights such as the Star Trek drinking gain, where we skull a glass of beer whenever Captain Picard says make it so B trachoi The Frogs, Aristophanes The Frogs is a comedy written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes It was performed at the Lenaia, one of the Festivals of Dionysus in Athens, in 405 BC, receiving first place The Frogs tells the story of the god Dionysus, who, despairing of the state of Athens tragedians, travels to Hades the underworld , to bring the playwright Euripides back from the dead Euripides had died the year before, in 406 BC He brings along his slave Xanthias, who B trachoi The Frogs, Aristophanes The Frogs is a comedy written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes It was performed at the Lenaia, one of the Festivals of Dionysus in Athens, in 405 BC, receiving first place The Frogs tells the story of the god Dionysus, who, despairing of the state of Athens tragedians, travels to Hades the underworld , to bring the playwright Euripides back from the dead Euripides had died the year before, in 406 BC He brings along his slave Xanthias, who is smarter and braver than Dionysus As the play opens, Xanthias and Dionysus argue over what kind of jokes Xanthias can use to open the play For the first half of the play, Dionysus routinely makes critical errors, forcing Xanthias to improvise in order to protect his master and prevent Dionysus from looking incompetent but this only allows Dionysus to continue to make mistakes with no consequence To find a reliable path to Hades, 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 laughing When Dionysus asks which road is the quickest to get to Hades, Heracles tells him that he can hang himself, drink poison, or jump off a tower Dionysus opts for the longer journey, which Heracles himself had taken, across a lake possibly Lake Acheron When Dionysus arrives at the lake, Charon ferries him across Xanthias, being a slave, is not allowed in the boat, and has to walk around it, while Dionysus is made to help row the boat This is the point of the first choral interlude parodos , sung by the eponymous chorus of frogs the only scene in which frogs feature in the play Their croaking refrain greatly annoys Dionysus, who engages in a mocking debate agon with the frogs When he arrives at the shore, Dionysus meets up with Xanthias, who teases him by claiming to see the frightening monster Empusa A second chorus composed of spirits of Dionysian Mystics soon appear 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 Frightened, 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 isthan happy to oblige But Dionysus quickly wants to trade back the clothes Dionysus, back in the Heracles lion skin, encounterspeople angry at Heracles, and so he makes Xanthias trade a third time When Aeacus returns to confront the alleged Heracles, Xanthias offers him his slave Dionysus for torturing, to obtain the truth as to whether or not he is really a thief 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 The maid then catches Xanthias and chats him up, interrupted by preparations for the contest scene 2009 1387 110 05405411 i think i would makeresponsible decisions if i had a chorus of frogs with me at all times Amusing, but I did not enjoy it quite as much as Clouds It is a bit like a celebrity memoirI vaguely know of the people and places spoken of, but not really well enough to feel like I totally grasp what s going on Still, as long as you possess a general idea of the key players in Greek mythology, you should be able to follow well enough At least, I did Amusing, but I did not enjoy it quite as much as Clouds It is a bit like a celebrity memoirI vaguely know of the people and places spoken of, but not really well enough to feel like I totally grasp what s going on Still, as long as you possess a general idea of the key players in Greek mythology, you should be able to follow well enough At least, I did This is the first Greek play out of the theocratic age that has me laughing out loud In reading classics, I discovered that comedy once had a different meaning, to have a happy ending I d already read Chekhov s The Cherry Orchard, subtitled a comedy in four acts, which turned out to be a light comedy and could easily be performed as a drama with little laughs But I wanted to read something older to get a sense of what comedy first meant, that s why I read Frogs by Aristophanes, dated about 400 BCE I wasn t sure what I was going to find, it turned out to be a satire of two p In reading classics, I discovered that comedy once had a different meaning, to have a happy ending I d already read Chekhov s The Cherry Orchard, subtitled a comedy in four acts, which turned out to be a light comedy and could easily be performed as a drama with little laughs But I wanted to read something older to get a sense of what comedy first meant, that s why I read Frogs by Aristophanes, dated about 400 BCE I wasn t sure what I was going to find, it turned out to be a satire of two poets, Euripides and Aeschylus, battling it out to leave the underworld.This doesn t sound funny, and I was not expecting it to be funny but I was surprised I was not expecting to find slapstick amongst the wordy exchange, which was broken up with gross out and smutty innuendos So, it had elements that would be found in today s movies, like Borat And I realised that as I read this, unlike, Chekhov s idea of comedy, this one was overt in its comedy, wanting the audience to laugh by poking fun at both poets and their work.I don t know enough about Euripides and Aeschylus or their works, so a parody of a line from their plays would just by pass me So, for me, most of this was like reading a document with interesting cultural facts However, I can imagine Aristophanes audiences just listening to this and falling over with laughter in its time this must have been a very funny and entertaining play For that I am tempted to give it 5 stars, but I wonder if today most audiences would find all the jokes funny I m thinking probably not, which is not down to Aristophanes skills in comedy but culturally it s just out of date Hence, I am giving this 4 stars for having comical aspects that can be still recognisable today Considering how old this is, to me this is impressive An interesting play, which would have been madeinteresting had I sufficient knowledge of the characters from Greek mythology whom Aristophanes was casting in this calamitous journey to Hades.The comical slapstick was jovial enough, the dialogue and references to the audience surreal I just wasn t as engaged as I should be, and I can confidently justify that with my ignorance of background and references.Another addition to the Little Black Classics range which I couldn t fully enjoy simpl An interesting play, which would have been madeinteresting had I sufficient knowledge of the characters from Greek mythology whom Aristophanes was casting in this calamitous journey to Hades.The comical slapstick was jovial enough, the dialogue and references to the audience surreal I just wasn t as engaged as I should be, and I can confidently justify that with my ignorance of background and references.Another addition to the Little Black Classics range which I couldn t fully enjoy simply due to lack of intelligence Onwards {DOWNLOAD PDF} õ Le rane Î Testo greco a fronteLa verve ironica e la mordacit di un caposcuola della Nuova Commedia ateniese che si scatena, in questa commedia, contro Eschilo, Euripide e il dio Dionisio The Frogs is another of Aristophanes plays that is just top notch for me as a Greek drama and as a general comedy the plotline is just hilarious to behold, especially if the reader has understanding of the inside jokes like I did I read a post somewhere on Tumblr that described the plot of this play as follows Aeschylus and Euripides have a rap battle in the underworld while Dionysus croaks with a chorus of frogs And I d say that that s essentially it I know that Aristophanes is known to The Frogs is another of Aristophanes plays that is just top notch for me as a Greek drama and as a general comedy the plotline is just hilarious to behold, especially if the reader has understanding of the inside jokes like I did I read a post somewhere on Tumblr that described the plot of this play as follows Aeschylus and Euripides have a rap battle in the underworld while Dionysus croaks with a chorus of frogs And I d say that that s essentially it I know that Aristophanes is known to mock real life figures, but I ve never read ahilarious case of this If one has read the plays of Euripides and Aeschylus before, the situation that comes up is just so funny to read about, especially since I used to really see these two tragedians as very serious figures I love Aristophanes strange use of a frog chorus as well he has a tendency to make very odd choruses All in all, this play is just great Just one word of caution, however it s hard to underatand this play at all if you haven t read any other works of Greek drama, so I d say that reading a bit of Euripides and Aeschylus would be recommended in this case