Synopses & Reviews
The plays in this volume all contain Aristophanes' trademark bawdy comedy and dazzling verbal agility. In The Birds, two frustrated Athenians join the birds to build the utopian city of 'Much Cuckoo in the Clouds'. The Knights is a venomous satire on Cleon, a prominent Athenian demagogue, while The Assembly Women deals with the battle of the sexes as the women of Athens infiltrate the all-male Assembly in disguise. The lengthy conflict with Sparta is the subject of Peace, inspired by the hope of a settlement in 421 BC, and Wealth reflects on the economic catastrophe that hit Athens after the war.
Included in this collection are "The Birds", the most graceful of Aristophanes' plays; "The Knights", a satire on Cleon, an Athenian demagogue; "Peace", which was inspired by the hope of peace with Sparta in 421 BC; and "The Assembly Women", about sexual equality and "wealth".
Part of the "Penguin Classics" relaunch.
About the Author
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.
Table of Contents
The Birds and Other Plays About the Author 7
Aristophanes in Antiquity 9
Aristophanes, Comedian and Poet 21
The Knights 29
The Birds 147
The Assemblywoman 215
Select Bibliography 336