Aristophanes' Wasps

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2018-09-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Aristophanes' Wasps (422 B.C.) is an entertaining comedy that plunges us into the life of a family in classical Athens, while treating themes that readers of any time and place can appreciate. A father and son argue about politics, household servants try to please their master, a disruptive gang of the father's friends decide to intervene, a dog becomes a lightning-rod for his antics in the kitchen, attempts are made at reform and reconciliation, and it all ends with a drinking party that goes disastrously wrong. The father, Philocleon, and his friends, the chorus of wasp-like old men for whom the play is named, are some of the great creations of comic drama.

The characters of the Wasps make constant references to the everyday world they are living in: its political demagogues, court system, religious rituals, social niceties, class distinctions, diseases, clothes, food, toilets, paychecks, geography, weather, household items, literary and mythological allusions, military experiences, and much more. These references give the play its immediacy, but their unfamiliarity to modern students can pose a challenge. This edition provides a full introduction devoted to the political, social, and literary background of the play, as well as notes to the text explaining historical details.

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