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Wealth


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A: Aristophanes Pf: 388 bc, Athens Tr: 1659 G: Greek com. in verse S: A street in Athens, 4th c. bc C: 9m, 3f, extras, chorus (m)Chremylus has been to the oracle in Delphi to find out whether it makes sense to remain poor but honest, and the god Apollo tells him to follow the first person he encounters on leaving the oracle. He dutifully follows a blind beggar, who turns out to be the god of Wealth. Chremylus persuades Wealth to have his sight restored. Now Poverty appears, arguing that it is she who benefits humankind by making people more productive. She is sent on her way, but she says that she will return one day. After Wealth has been cured, Chremylus becomes hugely rich and soon receives a stream of visitors wanting to share in his riches. One of these is Hermes, bringing threats from Zeus. However, Hermes is so hungry that he agrees to take a job in Chremylus' household. The final visitor is the priest of Zeus, who is persuaded that the new god is Wealth.

A: Aristophanes Pf: 388 bc, Athens Tr: 1659 G: Greek com. in verse S: A street in Athens, 4th c. bc C: 9m, 3f, extras, chorus (m)

Wealth is the last of Aristophanes' extant plays and reflects the transition from the Old Comedy, in which the chorus was a central feature, to the New Comedy of Menander and the Romans, where the humour derives from primarily social situations and comic types. The role of the slave Carion is also much more prominent than in earlier pieces, and this too was to become a characteristic feature of much European comedy. The moral nature of the play made it popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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