The Complete Plays - Aristophanes, Paul Roche What I appreciated most about this version of Aristophanes was the effort gone into the translation by Paul Roche. The Introduction briefly lays out Roche's difficulties in maintaining the subtilties from a polysyllabic language into one seldomly so. His attempt to faithfully translate the Greek results in a deliberate recreation of the assonance, consonance, alliteration and rhyme found in the original text. Roche's numerous footnotes help assure the reader that the spirit and content of the translation is faithful despite his use of modern colloquialisms (plus, I'm just a sucker for foonotes). For example, one of my favorite exchanges of this ancient Greek text...


Cario, servant of Chremylus, confronting Plutus (the god of wealth) who is wandering blind and disguised:

CARIO: Look here,
are you going to let us know who you are
or must I use a little artificial stimulus?
Be quick about it,

PLUTUS: Go fuck yourself!

CARIO: [to CHREMYLUS:]: Did you gather who he said he is?

CHREMYLUS: He said it to you, not me,
and the way you approached him was rather rude and extremely

[sidling up to PLUTUS all smiles:]

Good sir,
if straightforwardness and manners matter to you,
please tell us who you are.

PLUTUS: Fuck yourself-- you, too!

A taste of Aristophanes comedic sensibilities, and a rather tame one at that. There's plenty of phallus pulling, ass jokes and other good-time crassness that even Andrew Dice Clay would consider good source material.

I never knew that 5th century Greece was such a bawdy place.

Other thoughts-

Ecclesiazusae (A Parliament of Women) a play about a communistic utopia that so acutley mirrors and parodies Plato's Republic that it calls into question the chronology of the ideas. The fact that the Republic would have to been published approximately 20 years after Aristophanes' play raises a chicken-or-the-egg situation. Did Plato build his philosophical ideas off of Aristophanes' comedy or were the issues such a common source of debate in 392 B.C. that both were responding to the current Athenian intellectual climate? An interesting question raised in the Oates & O'Neill edition and one to remember as I meander to Plato on the Great Books list.

Useful prayer before court...


O Lord Apollo, King, who's next my very door,
Deign to accept this novel ritual, King, for my father.
Cleanse the harshness and the hardness of his temper.
Sweeten his heart with the sweetness of a little honey
To deal with others more
Gently in everything,
And favor the accused rather than the accuser;
And let a tear drop for a pleader,
And abandon his bad temper
And draw the sting
Frin his anger.

*Note to self: get Athenian court waterclock as mentioned in The Wasps

In Lysistrata, is Aristophanes attempting to distance himself from Euripides' perceived misogyny (as mocked in his other plays) or is he simply laying the foundation to present Mnesilochus' mocking in Women at Thesmophoria Festival which was performed later in the same year 411 B.C?

If only Hitchcock could've done a version of Aristophanes' Birds.