ISBN : 9780190907402
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.
Map: Greece and Attica
An Overview of Wasps
Cleon, Politics, and the Peloponnesian War in 422 B.C.
The Jury System of the Athenian Democracy
Philocleon the Juror
The Chorus of Wasps
Social Values in Wasps
The Culture of Symposium Society
The Comedy of Wasps
The Festivals of Dionysus at Athens and Aristophanic Comedy
Wasps in Aristophanes' Career
The Structure of Wasps
Stage, Costume and Performance
The Language of Aristophanes
Appendix A: A Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms
Appendix B: Legal Procedure and Language
in Classical Athens and Wasps
Appendix C: The Structure and Meter of Wasps
Appendix D: Scansion of Meters in Wasps