Aristophanes was a Greek comic poet, famous for writing plays, especially comedies such as The Birds for the two Athenian festivals: the Dionisia and the Lenea. Many of his plays were political, and he is known to have been prosecuted for Athenian law's equivalent of libel more than once. A famous comedy, The Frogs, was given the unprecedented honor of a second perfomance.He appears in Plato's Symposium, giving a humorous mythical account of the origin of Love. The Clouds pokes fun at famous figures, notably Socrates, and may have contributed to the common conception of the philosopher as a Sophist. Lysistrata was written during the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta and presents a pacifist theme in a comical manner: the women of the two states deprive their husbands of sex until they stop fighting. This play was later illustrated at length by Pablo Picasso.The WaspsThe BirdsThe FrogsThe ThesmophoriazusaeThe EcclesiazusaePlutus
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Aristophanes ca. 446 BC – ca. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his 40 plays survive virtually complete. These, together with fragments of some of his other plays, provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, and they are used to define the genre. Also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. His powers of ridicule were feared and acknowledged by influential contemporaries; Plato singled out Aristophanes' play The Clouds as slander contributing to the trial and execution of Socrates although other satirical playwrights had also caricatured the philosopher. His second play, The Babylonians (now lost), was denounced by the demagogue Cleon as a slander against the Athenian polis. It is possible that the case was argued in court but details of the trial are not recorded and Aristophanes caricatured Cleon mercilessly in his subsequent plays, especially The Knights, the first of many plays that he directed himself. "In my opinion," he says through the Chorus in that play, "the author-director of comedies has the hardest job of all."
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