Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Figuring out The Frogs

I finally understand what makes The Frogs so special. It's a farce.

The idea of Dionysus going to the underworld in the middle of a celebration of the tragic form while he himself is the god honoured at this celebration is altogether overwhelming. The situation it puts forth is nothing short of what you get in a comedy like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

On top of that, Euripides has challenged Aeschylus for the honour of sitting beside Hades at the feast, and Dionysus is sure to be entangled in the contest.

What's got me chuckling though, is the enthusiasm I read in scenes like the one between Xanthias and Aeacus. These two slaves bond over learning their masters' foibles and betraying them behind their backs and it's all worth a good guffaw.

What had me close to outright laughter, is the scene where Dionysus and Xanthias keep switching clothes between knocks, as Dionysus tries to avoid the trouble that seems to be happening within Hades' hall.

Along with coming to enjoy the plays comedy more, I also find myself appreciating B.B. Rogers' translation anew. I know very little about ancient Greek poetry aside from its having lines longer than most English poetry. But Rogers manages to move the Chorus' rhyming sections into English with some skill, even while keeping the lines long.

It's definitely growing on me, this play.

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