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Peace


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A: Aristophanes Pf: 421 bc, Athens Tr: 1840 G: Greek com. in verse S: Mount Olympus and a farm near Athens, 5th c. bc C: 15m, 5f, extras, chorus (m) Trygaeus, an Attic farmer, is weary of the war and so resolves to fly up to Mount Olympus on a dung-beetle to plead with the gods to create peace. Hermes comes to the door of heaven and explains that the gods have moved further away from the turmoil on earth, leaving War in charge. War has cast Peace into a deep cave. When Trygaeus calls on his fellow Greeks to release Peace, Hermes intervenes to warn that Zeus will strike dead anyone attempting to open the cave. Trygaeus flatters and cajoles Hermes into letting them release Peace, and she is freed, with her two beautiful maidservants. Trygaeus resolves to marry one of the maidens and returns to earth with her. Unwelcome guests, especially those dealing in arms, are sent away, and a happy wedding takes place.

A: Aristophanes Pf: 421 bc, Athens Tr: 1840 G: Greek com. in verse S: Mount Olympus and a farm near Athens, 5th c. bc C: 15m, 5f, extras, chorus (m)

Performed a year after the death of Cleon, and with hopes of an end to the Peloponnesian War in sight, Peace is a much gentler play than the earlier ones that survive from Aristo-phanes. The fun of flying up to Olympus, using the comic actor's standard phallus as a joystick, the thrill of outwitting Hermes, and the optimistic conclusion of the release of Peace and the joyful wedding, all stand in contrast to the often bitter satire which characterizes much of Aristophanes' other work. A version of the play by the East German writer Volker Braun was staged in 1979 as a parable of Communist Utopia.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Aristophanes (c. 448—380 bc) Greek comic dramatist


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