The Frogs By Aristophanes Analysis

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Deception, Disguise and What Lies Beyond: Aristophanes’ “The Frogs”

Aristophanes’ comedies are numbered among the greatest creations of the human spirit, they are a triumph of the creative imagination over the debilitating constraints of reality, a flight into a realm of absolute freedom. “It is to this absolute freedom of spirit which is utterly consoled in advance in every human undertaking”, wrote G.W.F. Hegel, “that Aristophanes conducts us”. As a playwright, Aristophanes is associated with the tradition of the Old Comedy, or comoedia prisca, as the Roman poet Horace termed it and he used the power of comedy throughout his long career to ridicule and condemn the shortcomings of his society.

The Peloponnesian War (c. 431- April
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He does indicate that his stand is of the traditionalist, but he is not forcing his choice over anyone. It is just a small hint, a slight nudge towards the direction he would want the Athenians to follow, but the ultimate decision is theirs and theirs only.

The ultimate deception occurs in the character of Dionysus- his development from the timorous, almost despicable figure at the beginning of the play to serve as arbiter in a contest of the gravest consequences at its end. The journey that he makes into Hades to bring back Euripides is merely superficial, it is also his journey from illusions and self-deception to realisation and self-knowledge. From the start, one sees Dionysus, as anyone but Dionysus- he is the “son of Winejar”, disguised as Heracles, changing places with his servant Xanthias, but by the end of the play, he has not only regained his identity but also celebrated for the God that he is. Dionysus, at the beginning of the play, would not have sided with traditionalists, he did not seem to know or care much about old virtues, but the disillusionment does take place finally. In Dionysus’ sudden decision of choosing

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