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The Frogs

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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

90 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 406

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Aristophanes (Greek: Αριστοφάνης; c. 446 BCE – c. 386 BCE) was a playwright of ancient Athens.

About 11 of his works are known in full, and they are the only plays of the "Old Comedy" style to have survived. They are The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, The Ecclesiazusae, The Frogs, The Knights, Peace, Plutus (Wealth), The Thesmophoriazusae, and The Wasps. These plays have been translated into many languages and continue to be staged or adapted for theatrical productions.

Aristophanes satirized the political and social issues of 5th-century-BC Athens, such as the ongoing Peloponnesian War, the structure of the city-state, the role of women in public life, and the influence of philosophers (notably Socrates) in shaping public opinion.

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Profile Image for Henry Avila.
469 reviews3,257 followers
June 18, 2021
In 405 B.C. Athens is about to lose what will be a 27 -year long grueling war to arch enemy Sparta surrendering the following year. Aristophanes play reflects the gloom a prolific writer with lots to say about their foibles and bold enough to do it, the comic genius amid the savagery can't help but continuously mock his fellow Greeks. Most of the scenes are in hell...Hades. A god travels there in order to bring back a poet to the city to cheer up the crowds, a dead man mind you. Imagine the fierce rivalries that produces. The action begins as Dionysus a minor local god visits his half-brother Hercules asking advise on how to get to Hades, not taken seriously he tells him to jump off a tower or hang himself and other unpleasant ways to get quickly there for sure. Nevertheless this doesn't seem the best entrance for him. He is wiser than he looks my friends, a good possibility a god yes not an intellectual type a buffoon; stating it mildly.
His slave Xanthias smarter and braver than his master Dionysus, his laughs annoy . Picture the scene the slave is riding the donkey the owner walking, believe it or not? Finally receiving directions and seeing Charon the ferryman ( not the moon) to take them across the river Styx except Dionysus does the rowing...Poor Xanthias has to find another route being a lowly slave. Where the first people they meet at a tavern have a huge grudge, his brother's unpaid bills causes hate they think he's Hercules and not being heroic men, shakes the duo especially the god, treated badly the boys persevere. Now enters the big difficulty choosing either Euripides or Anschlus to take home both are superb and arrogant. Soon sparks fly when these two playwrights start tearing each others work apart, so the better writer is revealed to Dionysus. Insults may be only words yet they will sting like a whip. This is the fun part and knowledge of either one isn't necessary. Entertainment is , I must warn the readers many names will be unfamiliar ignore, the important thing the uproarious exchange of scathing, no endearments put-downs the characters throw words against each... some sticking. Let the trash start. Almost forgot those pesky little frogs are so hilarious. Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax, Brekekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax ! If you want a translation look at the frog dictionary.

Profile Image for Praj.
314 reviews812 followers
February 22, 2014

High thoughts must have high language.

Language is the supreme wordplay through which thoughts are communicable. Words can either impart worldly acumen or indulge in pompous buffoonery. The revered wordsmiths, the possessors of this dexterous artistry are no less than sly magicians removing implausible beliefs from their audiences like a mere pigeons from a hat. Actions may speak louder than words; nevertheless it is the medley of words that script that action. The written world and its residents can never be taken for granted, especially since a single word is omnipotent in either creating wars or hoisting the peace flag.

In 431-404BC Athens suffered a colossal naval defeat in the Peloponnesian against Sparta. Due to the death of three great playwrights – Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles, there was a scarcity of great staged tragedies that were necessary to convey the spirit of heroism sailing between the stormy waters of politics and morality. In Ancient Greece, playwright and poetry were essential in maintaining the societal status quo. Aristophanes had attentively attributed the decline of Athens’ power to the deficiency of concrete leadership, the vanishing traditional mores, the apologetic state of freedom of speech and above all the unavailability of acumen imparted by dramatized tragedies. Athens needed a poet to save it from its misery. Frogs, commences by Dionysus showing remorse to the mediocrity of recent tragic plays that were being staged. On reading Euripides’ Andromeda, nostalgia and repentance creeps in Dionysus and he immensely longs for Euripides’s theatrical wit. Thus, armed with obstinacy, the god of wine and revelry, along with his slave, Xanthias embarks on a journey to the Underworld to bring back Euripides back from the dead. Dionysus seeks the assistance of his half-brother Heracles to reach the gates of Hades; Heracles being already familiar with the infernal areas of Hades through his task of capturing Cerberus (the three-headed dog). Dionysus is quite certain about the incomparable genius of Euripides.

This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought –Euripides

In the initial phase of the ongoing raging debate between Euripides and Aeschylus, Euripides in his opening words asserts that in his plays, the woman, the master and the slave spoke out their minds because it was the a democratic thing to do and he had taught them to speak up. Aeschylus demanded a likely death sentence for such a dastard thing committed by the democratic oaf. When did speaking up became a felony? It is even today, in traditionalist societies, defying the norms of implemented morality code.

Euripides had died in 406BC, the year before Aristophanes wrote ‘Frogs’. Influenced by the writings of Socrates, Euripides tragedies were mainstream that were more appealing to masses making them ‘human’ in nature. The attachment to Socrates and the ‘sophists’ school of “thinkery” was perhaps the reason of animosity between Euripides and Aristophanes. In Clouds, one of the commendable works hovering over the raging debate of Aristophanes’ holistic teachings and the Socratic existentialist contemporary radicalism, Socrates is condemned by outright mockery and berated for his sophism adherence. Aristophanes loathed the thought that the sophists taught their students to question every aspect of educational norms and held certain privileges of getting paid to impart their teachings (barring Socrates who taught free of charge). The sophists were not exactly the fêted conservative philosophers and taught varied subjects ranging from science, politics, history and etymology, giving more weightage to rhetoric and common sense than ethically constricted attitude. The sophists were the new voice in the education system. They challenged the foundations of religion, truth and justice adhering to the principle of ‘one man’s virtue is another man’s vice.

Aristophanes always had a weak point when it came to dealing with the concepts of sophists which easily provoked his sensibilities in taking a defensive stand towards conservative school of thoughts, along with his other contemporaries as Plato and Aristotle. Similar display of attitude can be seen when during a roaring debate Aeschylus accuses Euripides for encouraging tales of incest and promiscuity on stage”, thus blemishing the reputation of an honourable theatrical art. This became the point of perversity that led Aristophanes to belittle Euripides by labelling him ‘immoral’ who depicted his heroes as beggars in rags whining about vulgar affairs of life. Furthermore, the caustic wit of Aristophanes subjects the genius of Euripides to the crass monotony of his dithyrambic chorus, his effeminate traits of meddling in women affairs and the celebratory depiction of eroticism or to put in Aeschylus’s astute words:-“creating whores like Phaedra and Sthenoboea.”

Speaking of Euripides’ dramatize characters, Aristophanes in his ongoing parody of Euripides , derides Dionysus by portraying him as a buffoon resorting to cowardice techniques by switching identities with his slave Xanthias and is a borderline cross-dresser preposterously primping himself in a yellow lion hide , club and buskin. Not satisfied by these meagre embellishment , Aristophanes further pushes the envelope by suggesting Heracles suggesting Dionysus the quickest way to Hades would be either to hang himself or get clobbered by a pestle, since the lengthy way would be too dangerous demeaning Dionysus’ gallantry and streaks of subtle homosexuality.

DIO. There as, on deck, I'm reading to myself
The Andromeda, a sudden pang of longing
Shoots through my heart, you can't conceive how keenly.
HER. How big a pang.
DIO. A small one, Molon's size.
HER. Caused by a woman?
DIO. No.
HER. A boy?
DIO. No, no.
HER. A man?
DIO. Ah! ah!

What travesty of tragic heroism for a God who was a far cry from being fierce representation of laudable heroism in The Bacchae, worshipped in the sanctimonious arena Athenian theater. In this battle of new education v/s traditionalists, what then becomes the defining truth of morality? Is it the old-age tyrannical convention that chalk the salient features of ethics or the logic of the sophists that suggests that morals and justice changes according to the societal evolution and what may be right in one place may not be appropriate in other. Aristophanes in his parody puts forth an intriguing stance on ethical sustainability. The moral laws never change, but what changes are customary circumstances and therefore the perception of the said morality. The case of Xanthias and Dionysus interchanging their identities to circumvent the wrath of Aeacus, simply suggest that the audacious Xanthias was a prisoner of societal mores and thus proclaimed the status of a slave. Thus, inferring that slavery was not moral at all, people just thought it was and this assertion stays true for other conservative norms of feminism, female infanticide, religious fascism, sexual abuse, freedom of speech and caste and class discrimination and other prevailing societal changes. In the clash between orthodoxy v/s modernism, the scales become the circumstantial victim to human fear and arrogance. There have been demographics of countries that rapidly swing between the two scales of rationality and irrationality due to the dodgy current affairs atmosphere. In the realm of tragic art oscillates the tensions between democratic ideologies and heroic legendary redefining institutions of morality and politics like repulsive droplets of oils and vinegar.

If you pour oil and vinegar into the same vessel, you would call them not friends but opponents – Aeschylus.

The effeminate Dionysus judges a comical battle of wits between Aeschylus and Euripides. Unlike the battle of sexes in Lysistrata,the centrality of this ‘agon’ in Frogs is to establish poetic supremacy. It is not a peace satire but more on the lines of acquiring political and societal stability. The literary contest that commences raises questions about the social and political atmosphere in Athens. The initial light poetic and intelligent banter spiraled into juvenile antics of name calling and ridiculous labeling overturning rationality into sheer ludicrous chaos. Aristophanes is still rolling in his pomposity by ridiculing Euripides on the prospects of religion. Dionysus suggestive remark on Euripides atheist convictions falls through when he solicits Euripides on praying to private newly minted Gods. The amusing rebuttal of Euripides takes the point further as he prays to the sustenance of his tongue, intelligence and olfactory nostrils and stoutly refutes any captured words by his psyche. The preposterous debate views two literary resorting to silly slapping each other with the metaphoric acrimonious taunt of “a bottle of oil” being enough to rid of all the written works and Euripides rebuttal to Aeschylus proclamation on how he would never write about whores or any eroticism, to which Euripides smartly suggest that only if Aeschylus knew any woman would be able to write about it, stating the obvious.

Aristophanes puts forth a mêlée of “old ways v/s new ways” and the need to go back to one’s roots become essential when the chaos of modernity pollutes the status quo. The three greatest playwrights-Sophocles, Euripides and Aechylus who were responsible for the development of Greek tragic theatre were now mere pawn in the political game of morality. The failing of the Athenian society was blamed on the proliferation of the new school of sophisms. Why does it then become the need to go back to ethnic mores? We seen countries shuffling between conservative and democratic leaders with every fresh election? Is it that when societal fruition is seen as a threat by those who resist change, that the voices of opposition becomes stronger? And what about those, who want change in their country? Aristophanes emphasizes that traditional values become a naked truth that a country wants to witness. Dionysus who wants in the awe of Euripides now criticises the very ideologies that once he cherished to render nostalgia.

CHORUS:- But if you’re both afraid that our spectators lack a certain amount of knowledge,
So as, not to appreciate the fine points of what you say,
Don’t worry about that, since that is no longer the case,
For they are seasoned veterans and each one has a book and understands the clever stuff,
Their minds are superior anyway,
Out now they’re really sharpened. So far not, but,
Scrutinize every topic for the audience sake at least, since they’re so sophisticated.

This stanza outshines through the series of poetic line asserting the important of the political audience or spectators in general and how they are mistakenly granted the title of being a bunch of mere fools. Similar to the position of Dionysus as a judge who gets to vote and choose the valued candidate, masses have the final word through voting banks and cannot be taken for a ride by sovereign leaders. This holds true for the Presidential debates and other related conversations. Although, several political analysts conjecture that Presidential debates are not that influential when it comes to voting, but at the end of it all it becomes easy to select the wise from a buffoon. Unfortunately, politics is a dirty game and sometimes it is just a race between two masturbating monkeys.

AES:- You fiend! It is compelling power of the great thoughts and ideas to engender phrases of equal size.
And, anyway it is proper that demigods speak in grander terms
For they also wear finer clothes
What I so nobly exhibited you defiled.

In the pre-technological era, the written world was as powerfully influential like the monstrous media web of the present times. The words of poets, writers, musicians have the sharpness of a sword that can either dismember or restore mankind. Keeping in mind the words of Aeschylus, is the poets who have the compelling power of great thoughts and are spoken to be demigods, then what is the burden of their responsibility in order to sustain a stable society? Plato’s Republic illustrate the fright that Plato harboured towards poets and poetry, stating, "poetry feeds and waters the passions instead of drying them up; she lets them rule, although they ought to be controlled, if mankind are ever to increase in happiness and virtue". According to Plato, poetry plays with a man’s emotions signifying that poetry is indeed a learning institution. This confirms Aeschylus comment on how young boys have teachers and men have poets.

AES:- But, a pet should conceal wickedness,
Not bring it forward and teach it,
For little boys, have a teacher who advised them and grown-up have poets,
We have a serious obligation to speak of honourable things.

What can be termed as “honourable things”? If poets are teachers of the adults, then isn't a teacher’s prime job to teach to question the unjust and to different between the right and wrong? What ethics sets the teachers apart from poets who have the similar rank philosophical activity? Maybe, the fact that teachers work within a set of disciplinary censored syllabus while for the poets the world is their core curriculum. Now, that could be dangerous to politician lurking behind the egalitarian garb.

In Dionysus’s quest to find “a worthy poet to save Athens” one is then compelled to question the role of a poet/writer in the society? Do really high thoughts need high language? And if so, how far the significance of that grand vocabulary read the masses and become human in nature? After all, aren't nations mostly made up of common men trying to breathe a liberated political air rather than those few privileged who dream of becoming fascist leader and oligarchs? How far can the truth be stretched to expose the societal fallacies and how much fraudulence is required to prevent the exposure of a country’s thriving vulnerabilities?

Aristophanes' assertion on the conclusive result of Dionysus on choosing a poet who adhered traditional ways, illustrates the preference of conservative hard power over the modern usage of soft power. Many would not agree, but when a country is in turmoil and desperately needs a leader, ‘High thoughts need high language’. A leader is chosen to protect the country and its people. In a time where sowing the seeds of assurance weighs more than exposing weakening susceptibilities, the truth is then pushed to a dishonest grave and the winds of change are obstructed by the orthodoxy barricades. It may not seem right to a person sitting in the warm comfort of his house, but it seems the solitary alternative to a homeless man. Nevertheless the burning question that generates heat is the dominancy of a particular societal dogma that somehow acquires a self-imposed Godly status and spread its fascist wings in censoring every aspect of freedom speech. Books are banned due to egotistical orgies, movies are thrown out of the theater, poets and writers are penalized, news channels are expurgated and the democratic voices incarcerated bordering upon disgust. In a world, where most of the countries are plague by civil wars and revolution, what is the role of the written world?

The voices of frogs that do not cease from a chaotic chorus even to the extent of it annoying Dionysus, one voice that hangs around throughout this slapstick satire is who would be a superior redeemer of the social order – the “honourable” egoistic Aeschylus with his traditionalists vision or the “corrupt scoundrel” Euripides with his democratic ideologies? And who is to decide the ultimate answer?

Frogs croak...... Word has it that when Dionysus reprimanded the frog for creating a croaking menace.... the frogs replied:-

Brekekekex koax koax!!!!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
August 23, 2019
Βάτραχοι = Bátrachoi = 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 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. 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.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و دوم ماه آگوست سال 2009 میلادی
عنوان: قورباغه‌ها : مجموعه کمدی‌های آریستوفان؛ نویسنده: آریستو فانیس؛ مترجم: رضا شیرمرز؛ تهران، نشر قطره، 1387؛ در 110 ص؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه های نویسندگان یونانی - سده 05 پیش از میلادی
قورباغه‌ها یا «غوکان» یک کمدی نوشته ی نمایش‌نامه‌ نویس یونان کهن «آریستوفان» است. این نمایش‌نامه در «لنایا» یکی از فستیوال‌های «دیونیسوس» در سال 405 پیش از میلاد اجرا شد، و مقام نخست را به چنگ آورد. نقل از مقدمه: «مقدمه: دیونیسُس، حامی تراژدی، عزادار مرگ اِوْریپیذیس است، چنانکه بر آن میشود تا به آذیس برود و این تراژدی نویس را به دنیا برگرداند. دیونیسُس پوست شیر میپوشد و گرز به دست همراه با غلامش، اکسانثیاس به راه میافتد. گروه همسرایان قورباغه ها را در دریاچه رود آخِروین میبیند که ترانه میخوانند. اکسانثیاس، رود را دور میزند، اما دیونیسُس از رود عبور میکند و اربابش را در آنسویِ دریاچه میبیند. گروه همسرایان مرکب از اشخاص تازه وارد به جشن وارد میشوند. دیونیسُس از سخنان آنها درمییابد که به خانه پلوتُناس رسیده. در میزند. او و اکسانثیاس وارد خانه میشوند و گروه همسرایان، قطعه پاراواسیس را اجرا میکنند. این قطعه، حاوی ستایش آتنیها، طعنه به کلئوفونِ مستبد، توصیه به آتنیها برای از سرگیری اصلاحاتِ الیگارشی سال 411 پیش از میلاد و حمله به کلْی ینیس است. پس از اجرای این قطعه، اِئاکوس، غلام پلوتُناس و اکسانثیاس از خانه بیرون میآیند و گپ دوستانه ای میزنند. این در حالیست که در پشت صحنه غوغایی برپاست. حالا دیونیسُس، اِسخیلُس و اِوْریپیذیس، دو تراژدی نویس برجسته را در حالی میبیند که بر سر تخت پادشاهی نزاع میکنند. او آنها را به رقابت در زمینه هنر درام نویسی دعوت میکند. دیونیسُس میگوید که طرف برنده به دنیا بازمیگردد و تراژدی نویسی را از سر میگیرد. رقابت ادبی میان اِسخیلُس و اِوْریپیذیس آغاز میشود. هر یک، قطعاتی از تراژدیهای خود را میخوانند و دیونیسُس به قضاوت درباره این قطعات میپردازد. دو تراژدی نویس کوشش میکنند نارسائیهای تراژدیهای حریف را مطرح، و برتری هنر خویش را اثبات کنند. این رقابت روی یک ترازوی بزرگ انجام میشود. در پایان این جدلِ سخت، دیونیسُس پس از اندکی تردید، اِسخیلُس را پیروز اعلام میکند و او را با خود به دنیا برمیگرداند. صحنه: در انتهای صحنه، خانه ایراکلیس و پلوتُناس به چشم میخورد. دیونیسُس، با هیبت ایراکلیس، پوست شیر پوشیده، با یک گرز و چکمه های ساق بلند به سبک تراژدیها و جامه ای از حریر زرد، وارد میشود. به همراه او اکسانثیاس که روی الاغی نشسته و اثاثیه را حمل میکند، وارد میشود. برای مدتی هر دو ساکت هستند. اکسانثیاس: (غرولندکنان به بار خود نگاه میکند.) ارباب، اجازه بده لطیفه ای تعریف کنم که معمولاً مردم در سالن تئاتر با شنیدنش از خنده روده بُر میشوند! دیونیسُس: هرچه میخواهی بگو، مگر: «بارم بیش از اندازه است!»، یادت باشد، از خیر این یکی بگذر. برایم تکراری شده. اکسانثیاس: (ناامید) یعنی مزه نریزم؟ دیونیسُس: دور جمله «آه، تاولهای بی نوایم!» را هم خط بکش. اکسانثیاس: اگر لطیفه ای شاهکار گفتم چطور؟ دیونیسُس: چقدر ورّاجی میکنی. ناراحت نباش. فقط، محض رضای خدا، ...؛ اکسانثیاس: محض رضای خدا چه؟ دیونیسُس: آن دیرک را هم تکان نده. و صدای گوزت را به حساب چوب نگذار. اکسانثیاس: اگر کسی در تحمل این بار کمکم نکند، ول میشود. دیونیسُس: نه، خواهش میکنم، نه! لطیفه ات را هم برای وقتی نگه دار که نیاز مبرم به داروی قی آور پیدا کردم. اکسانثیاس: «آمیپسیاس» و «لیکیس» نگویم، حمل این همه بار به چه درد میخورد؟ دیونیسُس: آه، نه. این کار را نکن. وقتی آنجا مینشینم، (تالار تماشاگران را نشان میدهد.) و بعضی از آثار برگزیده را میشنوم، هنگام بازگشت به خانه، گویی یک سال پیرتر شده ام. اکسانثیاس: (با خودش) آه، بیچاره گردنِ نازک و بی نوای من! دورش حسابی تاول زده و تازه حق حرف زدن از تاول را هم نداری. چه خنده دار است! دیونیسُس: چه رویی! چه جسارتی! من، فرزند جام بزرگ شراب، باید پیاده راه بروم و مراقب باشم مبادا او از حمل بار خسته شود! اکسانثیاس: مگر این بار را من به دوش نمیکشم؟ دیونیسُس: این، بار است که تو را به دوش میکشد. اکسانثیاس: (بار را نشان میدهد.) این را من دارم حمل می نم. دیونیسُس: چطور؟ اکسانثیاس: با کمری که تا نیمه خرد شده. دیونیسُس: آن کیسه را که الاغ حمل میکند. اکسانثیاس: کیسه هایم را که خودم میبرم، هیچ خری حمل نمیکند. دیونیسُس: به گمانم میدانی که آن الاغ، تو را نیز حمل میکند. اکسانثیاس: نمیدانم. تنها چیزی که میدانم، درد شانه است. دیونیسُس: خوب، اگر از الاغ سواری لذت نمیبری، بیا پایین و بگذار حیوان بینوا سوار تو شود. اکسانثیاس: (با خودش) ای کاش در نبرد بزرگ «اَرگینوسِس» جنگیده بودم. آنوقت میتوانستم به تو بگویم: برو به جهنم! دیونیسُس: پست فطرت! پیاده شو! این همان خانه ای است که در پی اش بودم. این همه راه را پیاده گز کردم! (در میزند.) باربر! آهای! باربر! آهای! ایراکلیس: (از خانه خارج میشود.) کیست که در میزند؟ چرا مثل گاو به در جفتک میزنی؟ هر که هستی باش... (دیونیسُس را میبیند.) خدا رحم کند. چه خبر شده؟ (لحظه ای به دیونیسُس خیره میشود، سپس ساکت میشود.) دیونیسُس: (به اکسانثیاس) پسر! اکسانثیاس: جانم، ارباب؟ دیونیسُس: متوجه شدی؟ اکسانثیاس: چه چیزی را؟ دیونیسُس: که چقدر از من ترسیده. اکسانثیاس: بله، ارباب. (با خودش) هراس او از دیوانه بازی تو است! ایراکلیس: (در حالیکه خنده اش گرفته.) کاش میتوانستم جلوی خنده ام را بگیرم. لب میگزم. ولی نمیشود... (خنده کنان غرولند میکند.) دیونیسُس: چرند نگو! بیا اینجا. چیزی میخواهم. ایراکلیس: میآیم. ولی هنوز خنده ام میگیرد. پوست شیر، آن هم روی ابریشم زرد! چماق چه ربطی به چکمه پاشنه بلند دارد؟ قضیه چیست؟ از کجا میآیی؟ دیونیسُس: از دریا و در خدمت «کلیسثنیس» بودم. ایراکلیس: جنگیده ای؟ دیونیسُس: بله. دوازده یا سیزده کشتی اسپارتی را غرق کردیم. ایراکلیس: شما دو تا؟ دیونیسُس: البته. اکسانثیاس: (با خودش) و ناگهان از خواب پریدم! دیونیسُس: خوب، روزی روی صخره ای نشسته بودم و «آنذرومذا» را میخواندم که ناگهان قلبم دچار میل شدیدی شد. ایراکلیس: چقدر شدید؟ دیونیسُس: آه! زیاد هم شدید نبود. شاید به بزرگی «مولون»! ایراکلیس: چشمت زنی را گرفته بود؟ دیونیسُس: زن؟ نه! ایراکلیس: خوب، دختر بود؟ دیونیسُس: خدای من، خبر از زن و دختر و... نبود! ایراکلیس: ببینم نکند تو و کلیسثنیس... ؛ دیونیسُس: بر��در! مرا دست انداخته ای؟ مسئله جدی است. این عشق زندگی مرا ویران کرده. ایراکلیس: خوب، از عشقت بگو. دیونیسُس: (به حالت یاس) نه، نمیتوانم. هرگز... باید مثالی بیاورم. آیا تا به حال، ناگهان هوس... سوپ نخود کرده ای؟ ایراکلیس: سوپ نخود؟ خدای من، هزاران بار! دیونیسُس: حالا واقعیت را فهمیدی؟ یا باز هم مثال بیاورم! ایراکلیس: آه، درباره سوپ نخود نه! آن را تمام و کمال فهمیدم! دیونیسُس: خوب، به خاطر میل شدید به اِوْریپیذیس است که بیقراری در وجودم لانه کرده. ایراکلیس: خدایش بیامرزد. به خاطر اِوْریپیذیس مرحوم؟ دیونیسُس: بله، کسی نمیتواند مرا از شوق دیدار وی بازدارد! ایراکلیس: میخواهی به سرزمین آذیس، جایگاه تاریکیها بروی؟ دیونیسُس: جایگاه تاریکیها یا حتا مکان تاریکتر؟ ایراکلیس: در پی چه هستی؟ دیونیسُس: به دنبال شاعری مرده میگردم، زیرا شاعران زنده، همه دروغگو هستند! ایراکلیس: ولی «آیوفون» که هنوز زنده است. دیونیسُس: خوب، این تنها چیز خوبی است که برایمان باقیمانده، آن هم مال شما! چرا که در خوبی او شک دارم. ایراکلیس: بگو ببینم، اگر قصد برگرداندن کسی را داری، چرا «سوفوکلیس» را نمیآوری؟ دیونیسُس: چون که میخواهم ببینم، آیوفون تنها و بدون پدرش چه دسته گلی به آب میدهد. علاوه بر این، اِوْریپیذیس از آن حقه بازها است و در صورت لزوم، میتواند کمک کند تا از آنجا فرار کنیم. در حالیکه سوفوکلیس در زندگی آرام و موقر بود و در جهنم هم حتما همین طور است. ایراکلیس: «آگاثُن» کجاست؟ دیونیسُس: آه! مرده شورش ببرد! ایراکلیس: «پیثانگِلوس» چطور؟ دیونیسُس سکوت میکند و شانه بالا میاندازد. اکسانثیاس: (با خودش) کسی به فکر من نیست. شانه هایم کبود شده! ایراکلیس: اما آیا هزاران تراژدی نویس دیگر وجود ندارند که بتوانند خیلی بلندتر و بهتر از اِوْریپیذیس بنویسند؟ دیونیسُس: اینها درختان بی برند! رنگهایی که مات و پریده اند، کشندگان هنر! کافی است یک امکان به آنها بدهی، به موز بی حامی حمله می کنند. کدام شاعر باثباتی هست که در کالبد واژگان جان تازه بدمد؟ ایراکلیس: با ثبات؟ کدام ثبات؟ دیونیسُس: ثباتی که بدعت در کلام را به قلب او الهام کند. به عنوان مثال: «آه، ای اِتِرِسِ پهناور! ای منزلگه کبریا! ای ردپای ابدی زمان!» و یا: «جانها دل در گرو سوگند نمیبندند، حال آنکه ...»؛ ایراکلیس: آیا از اینها خوشت میآید؟ دیونیسُس: خوشم میآید؟ برایشان میمیرم! ایراکلیس: بله، خودت هم میدانی که همه اش خُزعبلاتی بیش نیست. دیونیسُس: سر به سرم نگذار. برو پی خرسواری ات. ایراکلیس: (با حالت عذرخواهی) منظورم این بود که واقعا بی مزه است! دیونیسُس: اگر به طرز تهیه غذا نیاز داشتم، خبرت میکنم! اکسانثیاس: (با خودش) کسی به فکر من بدبخت نیست! دیونیسُس: ولی دلیل اینکه در چنین لباس پر زرق و برقی، شبیه لباس تو، به اینجا آمده ام این است: نام مهمانخانه داران، بندرها، سلمانیها، مهمانخانه ها، میخانه ها، رودها، جاده ها، شهرها، پستخانه ها، زنها و مسافرخانه هایی را که ساس در آنها پیدا نمیشود و تو هنگامی که برای آوردن سربروس رفته بودی از آنها عبور کرده ای، به من بگو. اکسانثیاس: کسی به فکر من نیست! ایراکلیس: (با لحنی گیرا) بی نوا! چطور جرئت میکنی به چنین سفری بروی؟ دیونیسُس: خواهش میکنم شروع نکن. به ما بگو کدام راه ما را زودتر به آذیس میرساند. نه زیاد سرد باشد و نه زیاد گرم! ایراکلیس: خوب، کدام را اول بگویم؟ آه! بلند، باید قایقرانی را اجیر کنید تا طنابی فولادی را دور گردنتان بیندازد و شما را به زور بکشد... ؛ دیونیسُس: چه سفر خفه کننده ای! ایراکلیس: خوب، پس راهی کوتاه، سریع و هموار هم وجود دارد. یعنی مسیری که در هاون بر اثر ضربات، حسابی صاف شده. دیونیسُس: آیا این جاده شوکران است؟ ایراکلیس: دقیقا! یونیسُس: سرد و تلخ است! همه جای پاهایمان را بی حس میکند. ایراکلیس: دنبال راهی کوتاه و سراشیبی میگردید؟ دیونیسُس: همین طور است... میدانی که راه پیمای خوبی نیستم. ایراکلیس: پس به سمت کرامیکس برو؟ دیونیسُس: خوب؟ ایراکلیس: برو بالای آن برج بلند... ؛ دیونیسُس: و بعد؟ ایراکلیس: بعد نگاه کن و ببین آیا مسابقه مشعل را آن پایین شروع کرده اند یا نه. وقتی جمعیت فریاد زد: «برو!» تو هم برو! دیونیسُس: به کجا؟ ایراکلیس: به سمت بالا. دیونیسُس: نمیتوانم. برایم گران تمام میشود. از این راه نمیروم. ایراکلیس: خوب، پس چگونه میروی؟ دیونیسُس: از همان راهی که تو رفتی. ایراکلیس: (با لحن ادبی) سفری طولانی است. ابتدا به دریایی عمیق و بیکران میرسی. دیونیسُس: (بی اعتنا) چطور از آن عبور کنم؟ ایراکلیس: (با ایما و اشاره) این طوری: با قایقی کوچک، پیرمردی هست که در ازای دو «اُوُلُس» تو را به آن طرف میبرد. دیونیسُس: آنجا هم دو اُوُلُس به کار میآید؟ در تعجبم که چطور خودشان را به آن پایین رسانده اند؟ ایراکلیس: آه! «ثیسِئاس» جانشان را بگیرد! پس از آن با مارها و هیولاهای عظیم الجثه روبرو میشوی. دیونیسُس: پیرزن میترسانی؟ عین خیالم نیست! ایراکلیس: و بعد به باتلاقهای عمیق و دریای چرک و لجن میرسی. آنها کسانی را که غریبه ای را فریب داده اند، آنان را که جیب فاحشه ای را زده و او را بوسیده اند، آنها را که مادرانشان را کتک زده اند، یا به صورت پدران شان سیلی نواخته اند یا سوگند دروغ به عرش اعلی خورده اند، میبلعند. دیونیسُس: امیدوارم هر کس رقصِ پیکارِ «کینیسیاس» را آموخته یا سخنان مورسیمُس را تقلید کرده در کام این اژدهای سیه چرده فرورود! ایراکلیس: و بعد نوایی گوشهایت را مینوازد و نوری چشمانت را روشن میکند. درختهای زیبای مورد، تجمع شاد زنها و مردها و نوای کف زدنهای ممتد! دیونیسُس: آنها کیستند؟ ایراکلیس: تازه واردها. اکسانثیاس: (با خودش) بله. و من الاغی هستم که در جشن وقت میگذرانم. حتا یک لحظه هم این بار را تحمل نمیکنم (بار را زمین میگذارد.) ایراکلیس: فورا همه چیز را به تو میگویند. خانه هایشان را درست کنار جاده بنا کرده اند، در آستانه دروازه خانه پلوتُناس... حالا دیگر خدانگهدار. برادر! سفر خوبی را برایت آرزو میکنم. دیونیسُس: متشکرم، خدانگهدار. مراقب خودت باش! (به اکسانثیاس در حالی که ایراکلیس به خانه بازمیگردد.) کیسه ها را دوباره بردار. اکسانثیاس: هنوز درست و حسابی آنها را زمین نگذاشته ام. دیونیسُس: بله، زود باش. اکسانثیاس: نه، واقعا ارباب! باید یک باربر اجیر کنیم. دیونیسُس: اگر باربر پیدا نکردم چطور؟ اکسانثیاس: در این صورت خودم این بار را برمیدارم. دیونیسُس: بسیار خوب، آنجا را ببین! یک گروه عزاداری، آن هم به موقع نزدیک میشود. (گروه تشییع کنندگان از سمت راست وارد میشوند.) آهای! با تو هستم، ای جسد! آیا میتوانی این چند بسته را تا آذیس ببری؟ جسد: (بلند میشود.) چه قدر سنگین است؟ دیونیسُس: منظورت چیست؟ جسد: دو دراخما بده! دیونیسُس: آه، خیلی گران است، کوتاه بیا! جسد: تشییع کنندگان! به راه ادامه بدهید! دیونیسُس: دوست من، صبر کن! شاید به توافق رسیدیم. جسد: یا دو دراخما بده، یا بزن به چاک. دیونیسُس: نُه اُوُلُس چطور؟ جسد: (دوباره میخوابد.) بهتر است کپه مرگم را بگذارم. گروه تشییع کنندگان خارج میشوند.»؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lynne King.
494 reviews676 followers
July 8, 2013
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 Michèle 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 read more about mythology. I often get confused with the Roman and Greek Gods…
Profile Image for Ajeje Brazov.
729 reviews
April 29, 2023
"Le rane", commedia teatrale di Aristofane, mi aveva incuriosito da subito per il viaggio negli inferi. Mi incuriosiscono sempre questi viaggi nel mondo dei morti, ma non mi sarei mai aspettato un'opera di questo tipo. Molto ironica e satirica, con un linguaggio, quasi da farsa, burla.
Dioniso ed il suo servo Xantia, si apprestano al viaggio nell'Ade. Dioniso vorrebbe riportare in vita Euripide, perchè vede nelle nuove leve nel mondo artistico un calo qualitativo, che accende un campanello d'allarme per il futuro, ma soprattutto per il presente declino culturale.
Così incontrerà per primo Eracle e...
Interessante divertissement mitologico/artistico, molto piacevole alla lettura. Mi ha fatto conoscere due drammaturghi greci (Eschilo ed Euripide), sotto quella patina burlesca tipica delle caricature, ma anche attraverso una serie infinita di note (282, per circa 100 pagine di opera), che hanno arricchito e non poco l'opera, soprattutto per uno come me che non conosce molto i classici greci, anzi sono proprio all'inizi.
Per contro, si potrebbe dire che tante note spezzetti troppo la lettura rendendola singhiozzante, ma l'aura giocosa dell'opera, ha mantenuto salda la linearità dello svolgimento.
Da recuperare per il tono simpatico e scherzoso, ma anche perchè ha dato adito al mio interesse a leggere altre opere di Aristofane ed anche di Eschilo ed Euripide!
Profile Image for Александра.
45 reviews5 followers
March 20, 2023
Ако желите да се упознате с овом комедијом како ваља, ��окушајте да узмете ону из Космос издаваштва, јер су објашњења темељна и занимљива. Предговор је такође савршен и на лаган и опуштен начин увлачи читаоца (поготово оног који се дуже време није бавио оваквим књигама) у свет Старе Грчке.
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,813 reviews319 followers
November 18, 2014
A satirical look at what makes a classic
16 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 be more literally significant than the works of Aeschylus. It turns out that we have more of 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').
Profile Image for Jesús De la Jara.
728 reviews91 followers
April 27, 2019
"BACO.- ¡Muy bien, por Apolo! ¿Qué dices a eso, Eurípides?
EURÍPIDES.- Digo que Orestes no entró en su patria, porque vino secretamente, sin haber obtenido la competente autorización de los que entonces ejercían el mando.
BACO.- ¡Muy bien, por Mercurio! Pero no te comprendo ..."

Esta comedia me gustó más que las "Fiestas de Ceres" pero no tanto. El argumento es simple el dios Dionisios al ver la pobredumbre de su teatro ateniense actual decide bajar al Hades a buscar algún trágico y revivirlo para poder disfrutar de obras de calidad. Para ello inicia la travesía con su esclavo Jantias, pasará por distintas etapas, algunas un poco aburridas y en medio del Hades se encontrará con una multitud de ranas (que le dan el título a la obra) que en realidad sólo molestan y no tienen tanta importancia.
La parte más graciosa está al final cuando se produce la querella entre Eurípides y Esquilo por ver quién es el mejor (da risa ver parodiado a Sófocles tan humilde como se decía era en la vida real, que ni siquiera quiere participar). Me gustó pues se utilizan versos de sus obras más importantes (incluso perdidas) para parodiarse entre ellos mismos. Eurípides nuevamente es ridiculizado como un dramaturgo que gusta de frases sin sentido o enrevesadas pero responde muy bien tratando de hacer caer a Esquilo.
Profile Image for alek.
153 reviews5 followers
February 12, 2022
it was so dumb (yet intelligent, with its references to other works) and gay, basically Dionizos x poeta, Hadestown au with happier ending
Profile Image for Amy.
2,636 reviews417 followers
January 15, 2019
Amusing, but I did not enjoy it quite as much as Clouds. It is a bit like a celebrity memoir...I 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!)
Profile Image for Inkspill.
412 reviews40 followers
August 23, 2018
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.
Profile Image for beesp.
379 reviews44 followers
August 26, 2018
Non capisco come per un solo istante io possa aver avuto la spocchia di ritenere che “Le Rane” non mi sarebbe piaciuta. È semplicemente geniale, non è che si possa dire molto altro. Il topos dello scontro tra autori classici non riuscirà mai più ad essere così divertente (“perse la boccetta”... dico solo questo!). Riscoprire classici che ho studiato da lettrice è tutta un’altra cosa, e questo mi fa pensare ancora di più a quanto sia importante la lettura, soprattutto nei nostri campi di studi letterari. Come si può amare e conoscere un testo senza leggerlo per intero, senza prima farsi trascinare in questo caso dalla genialità comica, scostumata, ironica e poco corretta di Aristofane?
Profile Image for Susan.
271 reviews68 followers
August 11, 2015
تنها بخش جالبش رقابت بین اشیل و اوریپید بود که دوستاره بهش دادم،ولی آن قسمت هم آنقدر جالب نبود که بخواهم توصیه اش کنم.
به هرحال این ها اولین ها بودند و انتظاری ازشان نمی رود.
Profile Image for Ana.
Author 14 books199 followers
April 28, 2021
(classificação: 3.5 )

Considero sempre um enorme privilégio poder ter acesso a obras escritas neste período. Acho incrível terem sobrevivido até aos nossos dias (muitas não tiveram a mesma sorte, como sabemos) e ser possível encontrar casualmente na biblioteca um exemplar para trazer para casa para ler.

Descobri as obras deste período por causa do meu blog/projecto de leitura «Linked Books» e cedo se tornaram favoritos meus, tendo sido "arrebatada" em especial pelas tragédias de Sófocles.
Fico sempre pois muito feliz, quando mais uma peça dos antigos gregos entra para a minha lista de livros a serem lidos. Estava assim muito expectante sobre esta leitura de Aristófanes, um autor cuja obra ainda desconhecia.

Fiquei bastante agradada com esta peça, proporcionou-me uma leitura muito agradável, mas não me arrebatou como as tragédias o costumam fazer. É, em minha opinião, bastante mais difícil escrever uma comédia que resista ao passar do tempo do que uma tragédia. Nas tragédias, podemos encontrar os grandes temas e questões intemporais da vida e da literatura (amor, amizade, lealdade, honra, bravura, e tantos outros) que facilmente transpomos para os nossos dias. Já nas comédias, o humor é algo que muda muito conforme os tempos e acontece-me muitas vezes acabar por considerar as comédias inferiores às tragédias (o mesmo me acontece também por exemplo com as tragédias e comédias de Shakespeare). É óbvio contudo que não são as obras que são inferiores, mas o prazer de leitura destes textos e a marca que deixam em mim é realmente menos forte do que quando leio tragédias.

As Rãs é uma comédia que foi pela primeira vez representada num concurso dramático de comédias : as Leneias (festival ateniense dedicado a Dioniso), no ano 405 a.c. tendo ganho o primeiro lugar no concurso desse ano. Estou a partilhar esta informação convosco pois é muito relevante para o próprio conteúdo deste texto. Aristófanes em minha opinião, criou aqui uma peça bem "à medida" desse festival. Lembremos que Dioniso era o Deus do teatro entre várias outras coisas (das festas, do vinho, da loucura, etc ... )

Ora reparem no enredo da peça: Dioniso (deus do teatro e de várias outras "cenas malucas" :) ) farto de não haver produção teatral como deve ser desde a morte de Eurípedes, decide ir ao submundo, ao Hades (pois claro, estão lá todos) buscá-lo. Leva o seu criado Xântias (um mortal), não vá a um Deus lhe faltar o serviço de criado na sua descida ao submundo.
Antes porém, vai a casa de Héracles (seu irmão, entre muitos claro, pois sabemos como era Zeus para fazer filhos...:) ) perguntar-lhe qual o melhor caminho para lá e se tinha alguma dica para lhe dar (uma vez que Héracles já havia descido ao Hades quando foi lá buscar Cérbero, o cão de 3 cabeças, guardião do submundo).
nota: Héracles e Hércules são a mesma coisa, ficou mais conhecido como Hércules.

Após esta "visita" ao seu meio-irmão, desce então com Xântias ao submundo disfarçado de Héracles (o que lhe vai originar várias peripécias e sustos, pois parece que Héracles não se "havia portado lá muito bem" na sua visita anterior :) ). Após as trocas de identidades resolvidas (onde assentou uma boa parte da componente humorística desta peça) , finalmente encontra Eurípedes, mas encontra também uma animosidade "aguda" no submundo entre Eurípedes e Ésquilo. Ésquilo que havia morrido antes de Eurípedes ocupava no submundo o trono de maior poeta e escritor de tragédias. Constava que Eurípedes ao chegar, havia usurpado o trono de forma injusta (pelo menos segundo Ésquilo). Dá-se então uma verdadeira "batalha literária" no submundo, entre Eurípedes e Ésquilo , de que são juizes Dioniso e também Plutão (o maior lá do sítio, deus do submundo). O vencedor da batalha literária poderia então voltar com Dioniso à terra dos vivos, pelo que um e outro batalham atacando as obras um do outro alternadamente, para tentar provar qual dos dois é o maior poeta e escritor.

Como dizia anteriormente, é um enredo muito apropriado para as Leneias. O enredo é muito bom e surpreendeu-me. Aristófanes faz ironia sobre a obra de outros escritores da sua época, aproveitando sempre que pode para satirizar também a política, a economia e a sociedade em geral da altura.
Existem os elementos de comédia mais "básica", como por exemplo a figura do criado "desbocado", a inversão de papéis, a caracterização de Dioniso como o um deus cobarde com menos coragem que o seu criado mortal, de Héracles como um deus comilão. Essas partes achei engraçadas, bem como algumas frases mais irónicas.

Às partes em que Aristófanes goza com os seus colegas escritores já não achei grande graça e a batalha literária, quase épica, pareceu-me ocupar uma grande parte da peça, tornando-se aborrecida para mim. Foi um discorrer de citações das obras de um e de outro e de ofensas mútuas, que seriam para ter graça mas às quais não consegui achar piada. Faltou-me para esta parte um maior conhecimento das obras destes escritores, já que de Ésquilo só conheço duas obras (Os Persas e Prometeu Agrilhoado) e de Eurípedes não conheço ainda nada.
Também não achei muita graça quando Aristófanes tentar provocar o riso com obscenidades, mas confesso que me surpreendi ao encontrá-las nesta peça.

Para mim e nesta altura teria mais interessante se Sófocles tivesse participado na batalha literária. Foi estranho ele não estar lá pois já tinha morrido e juntamente com Ésquilo e Eurípedes eram os três grandes tragediógrafos da época. Uma pequena pesquisa revelou-me que quando Aristófanes começou a escrever esta peça, Sófocles ainda era vivo, que morreu durante esse periodo e que Aristófanes ainda o colocou no submundo na sua peça, mas mais quase como um "remendo" . Daí o papel pouco preponderante de Sófocles nesta peça de Aristófanes.

Resumindo, uma boa leitura, com alguns momentos de riso, mas que não chega para recomendar a obra de uma forma geral a todos os leitores. No entanto, se já gostam de teatro clássico grego não deixem passar esta obra! Por mim, vou continuar a querer ler mais desta época e a descobrir melhor a obra de Aristófanes :)

Queria deixar ainda uma nota à edição das Edições 70 que está maravilhosamente bem feita, com notas excelentes e explicações sem as quais dificilmente entenderia a obra no seu todo.
Profile Image for JK.
904 reviews52 followers
July 21, 2019
An interesting play, which would have been made more interesting 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.
Profile Image for saïd.
6,320 reviews977 followers
January 11, 2023
This review is of the translation by William Bedell Stanford.

Sometimes a word in an ancient or extinct language doesn’t align with modern sensibilities of how things ought to be, and it’s always interesting to me to see how people grapple with that word. Take, for example, the Ancient Greek word “παῖς” (paĩs): this is a non-gendered noun, c’est-à-dire, it could be either masculine or feminine (or neither) depending on the context. The word refers to a young person, a child, a prepubescent youth; it could be used to denote a receptive partner in a pederastic relationship, or a virginal young girl, or just a general youth. Often, the context genders the word, but not always—not in the case of its use in Aristophanes’s Frogs.

Instead of being left ambiguously gendered (or un-gendered), this word is almost always—at least in the many times I’ve encountered it—rendered as either “boy” or (less frequently) “girl.” (In rare instances where it is translated as “youth,” the context almost always genders the word.) For example, think of the Sappho fragment (102 in Lobel–Page) in which she says:
Γλύκεια μᾶτερ, οὔ τοι δύναμαι κρέκην τὸν ἴστον,
πόθῳ δάμεισα παῖδοσ βραδίναν δἰ Ἀφρόδιταν
Often, context genders the word, but not in this instance; most translations of Sappho translate the word as “boy,” with only a few opting for “girl.” Neither is more correct. (Contemporary cognates include the decidedly masculine Latin “puer,” so I could see the association there; however, the only reason the Greek is assumed to be masculine is due to patriarchal misogyny.)

This word is also used in a joke in Frogs. Dionysos is struggling to explain what he's lusting after, and Heracles helpfully offers some suggestions: γυνή (a woman)? No, that’s not it. What about ᾰ̓νήρ (a man)? Not that either. Well, then παιδός (a youth)? Absolutely not! Dionysos is lusting after soup.

Now, in the context of this joke, I’ve usually seen the word translated as “boy,” which does indeed align with contemporary views on sexuality: Heracles suggests sex with a woman (wrong), sex with a man (also wrong), and sex with presumably a young boy in his early teens (definitely wrong). But the way to specify to which gender one refers when using the word “παῖς” is via a gendered article, which is notably absent in this case, as with the Sappho fragment. The translator is then left with a choice: translate the word according to what it’s believed Aristophanes meant (i.e., “boy”) or translate the word accurately (i.e., “youth”)? Most opt for the former route.
Profile Image for Sarah.
396 reviews41 followers
October 27, 2014
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 a more hilarious 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.
Profile Image for saïd.
6,320 reviews977 followers
January 11, 2023
Richmond Lattimore has an unusual name, I suppose, which must be why people keep messing it up. The translator of this edition is not “Richard” Lattimore. Anyway, this translation is not great. Perhaps most notably, Lattimore doesn't properly translate the “sudden lust for soup” line! It’s my favourite exchange from the entire play, which is saying a lot. (My personal favourite translation of the exchange is the one translated by Benjamin Bickley Rogers.) The word Dionysos uses is “ἔτνος” (a soup made of peas and/or beans):
ἤδη ποτ᾽ ἐπεθύμησας ἐξαίφνης ἔτνους;
for instance / at one time / desire (for) / suddenly / soup?
But Lattimore translates this line as:
Did you ever feel a sudden longing for baked beans?
What? Where did that come from?! Soup is better.
Profile Image for Brent.
355 reviews147 followers
March 5, 2020
In reading a two-thousand year old satire of specific Greek poets, it might help to be familiar with the two poets, Greek culture, or even poetry in general.

Or you can just plunge in on the recommendation of other humorists, claiming that his guy still has the goods two Millennia after his prime.

I chose option two. And as such, most of the subtleties were wasted on me and I totally didn't get the ending. But the bit about the passive-aggressive servant is timeless and is still in use, in one form or another, today.

It is always interesting to find the first instance of a joke or trope and a couple seem to find their origin here.

Unless of course Aristophanes was also re-interrupting the work of earlier humorists.

Which is entirely possible, and given his view of writers in general, would not be surprising.
Profile Image for Elyse Hdez.
296 reviews77 followers
April 4, 2016
Necesito un coro de ranas que me ayude a tomar mejores decisiones en mi vida.
Profile Image for Jenny.
163 reviews56 followers
November 14, 2016
Αρκετά διασκεδαστικό,όχι κάτι το ιδιαίτερο!
Profile Image for Olivier Goossens.
20 reviews1 follower
March 3, 2021
Oh, how I love it when a 2400 year old comedy makes me actually laugh aloud at 3 AM. Timeless...
Profile Image for Armita.
231 reviews17 followers
February 5, 2021
Imagine reaching this level of کسنمک in 405 BC. =))
Profile Image for saïd.
6,320 reviews977 followers
January 11, 2023
This review is of the translation by Peter Meineck.

I love Aquila Theatre. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them before (backstage only! I do set-related stuff at undisclosed locations), and their performances have been consistently impressive every time I’ve been able to attend or otherwise observe. I have no complaints about the staging—the casting was great, and this is the perfect play to relate to current events as long as you do it cleverly—Peter Meineck is the founder of Aquila, as well as a long-time theatrical... person, so it makes sense that Aquila would choose this particular translation. It’s been nearly a year since the show, so I’m not going to comment on anything but the translation, which is, well. It mentions the Wu-Tang Clan. But I’ll let Meineck himself tell it:
In translating Frogs from ancient Greek to modern English, I am already participating in an act of aesthetic anachronism, and we have to accept that many of our ideas about how we receive the works of Aeschylus and Euripides are, more often than not, quite different than how they were viewed in antiquity. Then what about being “faithful” to the “original Greek”? I would suggest that there is no such thing: we do not have the original play script of Frogs as described earlier, and through the miracle and fortitude of diligent, through culturally predicated scholarship and textual transmission, and a textual version of the play has survived, perhaps remembered by actors and written down at some point after the first performance. But it has gone through a long series of adaptations, emendations, corrections, and interpretations—not all of which can or should be trusted today. We have no stage directions, no assigned character parts, no director’s notes, no information from the playwright about how the play might be staged. We have no program from the original performance, and no representations of that performance on stage in other media. Nor do we have the masks, costumes, or props, or even most of the theatre where it was first staged. In short, it is a miracle of scholarship that we have this play with us today at all.
Normally I would disagree, but honestly, I have a weak spot for this particular play. I think it can genuinely be adapted for the better with the addition of anachronistic and/or culturally specific elements. Meineck’s translation is intended for performance, and doesn’t read well in and of itself; but there are no glaring errors I could see at a quick glance, and the scholarship is good. Even if it mentions the Wu-Tang Clan.
Frogs was first performed at the Dionysian Lenaia festival in January 405 BCE, where it won first prize. This would have been just a single daytime performance, probably at the theatre at the Sanctuary of Dionysos Eleuthereus on the southeast slope of the Acropolis. We do not know when the text of Frogs was first written down, whether by Aristophanes himself or by somebody in his circle, or if it is a later version from a few years after the original performance. In any event we do not have that text. The Greek text of Frogs that we have today has been meticulously reconstructed from over eighty manuscripts from the tenth to sixteenth centuries CE and two papyrus texts from the fifth and sixth centuries CE. These versions have been corrected, edited, and interpreted by many scholars from the medieval period on, and were probably copies of texts collected and edited by the Alexandrian scholars in the Hellenistic period. Scholars today are still involved in interpreting the text we have based on new information about Athens at the time, and the latest interpretations of both existing and emerging texts. It does seem clear that there were very few copies, and perhaps only one edition, of Frogs in the hundred years following the first performance, and the play did not become more widely copied until Alexandrian scholars and others became interested in establishing collections of classical playwrights.
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