The frog and man

Topics: Dionysus, The Frogs, Hades Pages: 2 (518 words) Published: February 23, 2014
The Frogs tells the story of the god Dionysus, who, despairing of the state of Athens' tragedians, travels to Hades (the underworld) to bring the playwright Euripides back from the dead. (Euripides had died the year before, in 406 BC). He brings along his slave Xanthias, who is smarter and braver than Dionysus. As the play opens. Xanthias and Dionysus argue over what kind of jokes Xanthias can use to open the play. For the first half of the play, Dionysus routinely makes critical errors, forcing Xanthias to improvise in order to protect his master and prevent Dionysus from looking incompetent—but this only allows Dionysus to continue to make mistakes with no consequence. To find a reliable path to Hades, Dionysus seeks advice from his half-brother Heracles, who had been there before in order to retrieve the hell hound Cerberus. Dionysus shows up at his doorstep dressed in a lion-hide and carrying a club. Heracles, upon seeing the effeminate Dionysus dressed up like himself, can't help laughing. When asked which road is the quickest to get to Hades, Heracles replies that you can hang yourself, drink poison, or jump off a tower. Dionysus opts for the longer journey, which Heracles himself had taken, across a lake (possibly Lake Acheron). When Dionysus arrives at the lake, Charon ferries him across. Xanthias, being a slave, is not allowed in the boat, and has to walk around it, while Dionysus is made to help row the boat. This is the point of the first choral interlude (parodos), sung by the eponymous chorus of frogs (the only scene in which frogs feature in the play). Their croaking refrain – Brekekekèx-koàx-koáx (Greek: Βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ) – greatly annoys Dionysus, who engages in a mocking debate (agon) with the frogs. When he arrives at the shore, Dionysus meets up with Xanthias, who teases him by claiming to see the frightening monster Empusa. A second chorus composed of spirits of Dionysian Mystics soon appear. The next encounter is with Aeacus, who mistakes...
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