Aristophanes (approx. 445-386 BC e)
The famous writers of tragedy in Athens were three: the eldest - Aeschylus, the middle - Sophocles and the younger - Euripides. Aeschylus was mighty and majestic, Sophocles is clear and harmonious, Euripides is tense and paradoxical. Once watching, the Athenian audience could not forget for a long time how his Phaedra was tormented by passion for the stepchild, and his Medea chorus advocated for the rights of women. The old men watched and cursed, and the young ones admired.
Aeschylus died a long time ago, in the middle of the century, and Sophocles and Euripides died half a century later, in 406, almost simultaneously. Immediately disputed amateurs: Which of the three was better? And in response to such controversies, the playwright Aristophanes put the "Frog" comedy about it.
"Frog" means that the chorus is dressed in frogs in a comedy, and begins to sing its quill lines: "Brekekeks, koaks, koaks! / Brekekeks, Coax, Coax! / We are the children of the wet waters, / Let's hymn, friendly chorus / / Grooming, ring our song! "
But these frogs are not simple: they live and quake not somewhere, but in the hell river of Aheron, through which the old shabby boatman Charon carries the dead to that light. Why in this comedy needed that light, Aheron and the frogs, that is, their reasons.
The theater in Athens was under the patronage of Dionysus, the god of wine and terrestrial vegetation; Dionysus was portrayed (at least sometimes) by a soft-skinned youth. This Dionysus, worried about the fate of his theater, thought, "I will go down to the afterlife and bring back the light of Euripides, so that the Athenian scene will not be completely deserted!" But how to get to that light? Dionysus asks Hercules about this - after all Hercules, the hero in a lion's skin, went down there for the terrible three-headed hellish dog, Kerber. "It's easier than lungs," Hercules says, "swear, poison or throw yourself out of the wall." - "Too stuffy, too tasty, too cool; show better as you walked. " - "Here is a submarine boatman Charon will carry you through the scene, and find yourself there." But Dionysus is not alone, with him a slave from the luggage; can not I forward it to my fellow traveler? That's just the funeral procession. "Hey, calf, grab our bucket with you!" Putin is ready to rise up on the stretcher: "Do you give two drachmas?" - "No way!" - "Hey, grave-diggers, carry me on!" - "Well, come down at least half a dead!" indignant: "Let me re-live!" There is nothing to do, Dionys and Charon are drowning through the scene, and the slave from the luggage runs around. Dionysus is unusual to roar, crushes and curses, and the frozen choir mocks at him: "Brekekeks, koaks, koaks!" They meet at the other end of the stage, exchange with the afterlife impressions: "Have you seen sinners here, and thieves, and false witnesses, and bribes?" - "Of course, I saw, and now I see," - and the actor shows on the ranks of the audience. Spectators laugh.
Here is the palace of the underground king Aida, at the gate is Aak. In myths, this is the great judge of the sins of men, and here - a loud servant-gatekeeper. Dionysus throws a lion's skin, knocks. "Who is there?" "Hercules came again!" "Oh, the villain, ah, wicked, this you've got Kerbera, my dear dog!" Wait a minute, here I'll let you all the hellish monster! "Eac goes, Dionysus in horror; gives the slave a Hercules skin, he puts on his dress. Again they approach the gates, and they are the maidservant of the underground queen: "Hercules, our dear, the mistress is remembering you so much, you cooked it for you! Come to us!" Rab Radehonek, but Dionysus grabs him for a cloak, and they, peering off , dress up again. Eac comes back from the hellish guards and can not quite understand who the owner is, who is the slave here. Decide: he will toss them in turn in turns, - who will first scream, that, therefore, not god but slave Beats "Oh oh!" - "Yeah!" - "No, I thought: when will the war end?" - "Oh oh!" - "Yeah!" - "No, this is my silos in the heel ..." Oh oh! .. No, it's my poems I remembered bad ... Oh oh! .. No, this is what I wrote to Euripides. " - "Do not understand me, let God god Aid himself understands." And Dionys and the slave enter the palace.
It turns out that there are also poetry competitions in that light, and so far Aeschylus has heard the best, and now it has this fame challenged by the newly formed Euripides. Now will be the court, and Dionysus will be the judge; Now will be poetry "to measure the elbows and weigh weights". True, Aeschylus is dissatisfied: "My poetry did not die with me, but Evripidova died at his hand." But they are taken away: the court begins. Around the judging is the new choir - the croaking frog remained far in Aheron. The new choir is the souls of the righteous: at this time the Greeks believed that those who lead a righteous life and embraced the sacraments of Demetra, Persephone and Jacob would be in that light not insensible, but blessed. Jakch is one of the names of Dionysus himself, so this chorus is quite appropriate here.
Euripides blames Aeschylus: "You play boring: the hero stands, and the choir sings, the hero will say two or three words, here is the play and the end. The words are old, cumbersome, incomprehensible. And I have everything clear, everything is in life, and people, and thoughts, and words. " Aeschylus argues: "The poet must teach goodness and truth. Homer is so glorious, that shows all examples of valor, and what example can your degenerate heroes submit? High tongues are good, and the thin speeches of your heroes can teach the citizens only to not obey the bosses. "
Aeschylus reads his verses - Euripides finds out to every word: "Here you have Orest at the grave of his father praying for him to" hear, understand ... "and, after all," to hear "and" to understand "is a repetition!" ("Awesome, calms down" his Dionysus, "Orestes turns to the dead, but here, as many as you repeat, you will not call!") Euripides reads his poems - Aeschylus stumbles to every line: "All the drama you begin with the pedigree:" Hero Pelop, who was my great-grandfather. .. "," Hercules, which ... "," That Cadm, who ... "," That Zeus, which ... ". Dionysus breaks them: let them speak one line, and he, Dionysus, will judge with weight in his hands, in what more weight. Euripides utters a clumsy and cumbersome verse: "Oh, if the roar stopped her boat ..."; Aeschylus - smooth and euphoric: "River flow, through the meadow rolling ..." Dionis shouts unexpectedly: "Aeschylus is heavy!
At last the poems are put aside. Dionysus asks the poets for their opinion on political affairs in Athens, and again he breeds with his hands: "One answered wisely, and the other was wise." Which of the two is better, who to withdraw from the underworld? "Aeschyla!" - declares Dionysus. "And he promised me!" Euripides is indignant. "I did not promise my tongue," Dionysus replies in the same verse as the Euripides (from the "Hippolytus"). "Are you guilty and not ashamed?" - "There is no guilt where no one sees," Dionys responds with another quote. "Do you laugh at me over the dead?" - "Who knows, life and death are not one and the same?" Dionysus answers the third quotation, and Euripides crumbles.
Dionysus and Aeschylus get on their way, and the underground god gives them an oath: "To such a politician, and to such a world-class, and to such a verse-pack, tell me that it's time for me to come to me ..." The choir escorts Aeschylus with praise and poet and Athens: so that they will soon be able to win and get rid of such politicians, and from such world-loves, and from such a verse-pack.