Aristophanes: the Complete Plays
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A brand-new translation of the world's greatest satirist.
With a signature style that is at once bawdy and delicate, as well as a fearless penchant for lampooning the rich and powerful, Aristophanes remains arguably the finest satirist of all time. Collected here are all 11 of his surviving plays-newly translated by the distinguished poet and translator Paul Roche.
taunts us over and over again. MNESILOCHUS: By God, I haven’t told you anything you weren’t itching to hear. MICA: There’s nothing more for you to say. You’ve emptied yourself to the last drop. MNESILOCHUS: Not a bit of it! Not even the thousandeth part. I haven’t said a word, for instance, about how we take those things you scratch your back with in the bath, you know, and use them to scoop up the grain from—705 MICA: You should be rubbed out. MNESILOCHUS: Or how we whip the sacrificial
go and find Cleisthenes and let the prefects know what this man has done. [MICA and MANIA leave.] MNESILOCHUS: Well now, what plans can I make to save my skin? What scheme advance, what strategy pursue? The man who plunged me into all of this is not to be seen, at least not yet. So what I’ve got to do is somehow get a message to him. . . . I know what: I’ll borrow from Euripides, his Palamedes,716 and imitate the fellow who wrote his message on oar blades. Ah, there’s a hitch! Not an oar
the seven islands in the Ionian Sea—the modern Corfu. It was famous for its double-thonged hide whips. 568 Once again Aristophanes can’t resist having a go at Cleonymus, who threw away his shield in battle and fled. See footnote on page 350. 569 A women’s festival named after Thesmophoros (Demeter-the-lawgiver), which involved days of fasting and sexual abstinence. 570 One whose rights to Athenian citizenship were questionable. 571 An uncouth tribe of gods or men living in upper Thrace.
is not enough. One is trying to bring over not only words but thoughts, feelings, and connotations, which the words themselves sometimes merely adumbrate. And here lies a pitfall difficult to avoid: when one discovers that in one’s efforts to bring out the fullness of the Greek one has leapt from the legitimate boundaries of translation and landed in the realm of mere paraphrase. Fidelity to the original, too, can be a stumbling block. Fidelity, yes, but this should not mean being a slave to the
courthouse paling. LEADER: Bear up! Have no fear! Just let yourself down, my brave heart, and look to your gods with a prayer. LOVECLEON: Lycus,301 lord and champion, hear me, taking pleasure in the same things I do, the daily groans of plaintiffs and their wailings— sitting near them not to miss a tear—then I beg you hear me and save your next-door neighbor. I promise not to piss or fart near your railings in disfavor. [The scene now focuses on the front door, where HATECLEON and