I. Historical Setting: Lenaea festival, Jan. 405 B.C
A. Political Situation:
1. 406 B.C. Athens won B. of Arginusae; Sparta offers peace.
2-Athens had tried & executed 6 generals after Arginusae (Sokrates against)
3. Athens- pro-war faction strong; Why?
4. leadership poor, chaotic (role-reversal in “Frogs” emphasizes this)
B. Aristophanes' Viewpoint & meaning(s) of the “Frogs”
II. Critic of demos, but a patriot-uses play to teach moral lesson that Athens' survival depends upon good leaders & none exist.
1. Aristophanes is of Antikleon's' generation--pro-democracy, but pro-peace, pro-old (pre-Empire) democratic values.
B. The Play-meaning, symbolism:
1. Title =part of split chorus-, other half is "Initiates"
2.Main character: vehicles for 'role-reversals'- symbolic of polit. chaos at Athens. Dionysos & slave Xanthias= govt. & demos
3. Scene 1. role reversal, Dionysos, as Herakles, but in yellow woman's nightgown.; Slave-Xanthias rides donkey, Dionysos walks (ref. to freed slaves who rowed at Arginusae)
4.Plot: Dionysos visits Herakles to get advice on how to "'get to Hades"-,purpose: bring back a dead poet;need good advice to "save Athens."
5. Jokes-personal, political-e.g, compares Euripides to pea soup; trip to Hades; Persephone's maid likes Herakles
6.'Parabasis’ used to ‘tell off’ audience about the way they treat "best men"'
7. Agon-- Aeschylus wins. Why? symbolic?