The acknowledged master of Greek comedy, Aristophanes brilliantly combines serious political satire with bawdiness, pyrotechnical bombast with delicate lyrics. "Lysistrata and Other Plays" features his four most celebrated masterpieces: THE CLOUDS, THE BIRDS, LYSISTRATA, and THE FROGS. This edition features wonderful translations of "The Clouds", "The Birds", "Lysistrata", and "The Frogs". The humor and satire is well-managed within the translation, particularly within "Lysistrata". The bantering dialogue within the play is hilarious from the exhortations of the women to their fellow sisters to abstain from sex with their men (regardless of their own strong, womanly desires) to the tongue-in-cheek dialogue between a teasing wife and her impatient husband, to the final division of land to be 'presented' in the form of a nude lady acting as a visual aid. "Lysistrata and Other Plays " includes THE CLOUDS. The most controversial of Aristophanes' plays, it is a brilliant caricature of the philosopher Socrates, seen as a wily sophist who teaches men to cheat through cunning argument. THE BIRDS: This portrayal of a flawed utopia called Cloudcuckooland is an enchanting escape into the world of free-flying fantasy that explores the eternal dilemmas of man on earth. LYSISTRATA: In the twenty-first year of the Peloponnesian War, the women of Athens and Sparta, tired of the incessant fighting between their men, resolve to withhold sex from their husbands until peace is settled. THE FROGS: Visiting the underworld, the god Dionysus seeks the counsel of the dead tragedians Aeschylus and Euripides on how to bring good writing back to Athens. A fierce debate - full of scathing insults and literary satire - ensues between the two dramatists.
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Aristophanes was born, probably in Athens, c. 449 BC and died between 386 and 380 BC. Little is known about his life, but there is a portrait of him in Plato's Symposium. He was twice threatened with prosecution in the 420s for his outspoken attacks on the prominent politician Cleon, but in 405 he was publicly honored and crowned for promoting Athenian civic unity in The Frogs. Aristophanes had his first comedy produced when he was about twenty-one, and wrote forty plays in all. The eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes are published in the Penguin Classics series as The Birds and Other Plays, Lysistrata and Other Plays, and The Wasps/The Poet and the Women/The Frogs.
Alan H. Sommerstein is head of the classics department at Nottingham.
Alan H. Sommerstein is head of the classics department at Nottingham.Language Notes:
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek
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