Question: Give an account of Dionysus’s Journey to hades.
“The Frogs” is the last survived old comedy by Aristophanes (446-386) BC first performed in Lenaea in 405 BC. The play centers around the journey of Dionysus that is the greatest literary technique of the playwright to defense him since he comments on social and political issues of contemporary Athens in a sharp tone.
An account of Dionysus Journey to hades
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The background of the journey
Aristophanes wrote this play during the last year of the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta. The dramatist based on the patron of drama Dionysus asserts that the decline of Athens is the reason for god’s journey to Hades.
Purpose of the Journey
Dionysus who is the protagonist of the satirical comedy tells before Heracles, also known as Hercules in Roman and modern west, that he wants to go to Hades with his slave Xanthias of his free will. He basically plans to go down Hades because he needs a talented poet to revive tradition and morality in the demos of Athens which is why he longs for Euripides. It is in God’s tongue:
I need a talented poet, / ‘for some are gone, and those that live are bad.
“cast-offs and merely empty chatter. There are no “potent” poets left”
Thus, it is informed as the living poets are hypocrites just for futile fame, he must bring the talented poet.
Adventures of the journey
Aristophanes has described the epic-like adventures of Dionysus on the road of Hades particularly for two purposes.
- To arouse laughter is the fundamental term for a farce.
- To banter different social and political aspects of contemporary society.
Mocking on rank
Dionysus with his slave launches his trek after having instruction from Heracles. When they reach the shore of the Styx river or Acheron lake, the ferryman Charon relates that a slave is not allowed to cross the lake with his master. So, the servant has to take alternate. While crossing the lake round the bank, Xanthias is to face bizarre scenes. On the other hand, Dionysus is greeted by the song of chorus namely “Frogs” from which the name of the farce has been named.
“Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax”
Here, in scene 1, the audience with poor dramatic judgment is mocked in a humorous way by the croaking of the frogs.
The barrenness of Athens
Aristophanes can be compared with Eliot in respect of presenting waste Athens. He does not feel any hesitation to barter corruption of the officials and politicians, the selfishness of the citizens having no passion and compassion to each other and also all spheres of life and society. The following lines through the chanting of the chorus leader focus on the political barrenness of that contemporary time.
First, we think that all / citizens should be made equal, and their fears removed.
Next, I say that no one in the city should be disenfranchised.
The judgment of the contest
Aristophanes has the power to create humor and sagacity within human beings in a very exceptional since he is the first in the canon of western literature to manage a poetic debate between two greatest deceased poets Euripides and Aeschylus. He philosophically upholds psychological, social, and political issues by dint of such literary contest which at the same make people sensational and wise. Though it becomes tough for Dionysus as a judge to select the most talented poet because they are really sagacious. He chooses Aeschylus to bring back to the world after a series of debate because of Aeschylus’ strong political philosophy. As the Chorus extols, he is:
“A man who has / keen intelligence” and “eminent good sense.”
Thus, Dionysus takes the side of Aeschylus changing his first intention as to Euripides to meet the demand of the time. This is a very crucial message for human beings forever and ever and ever.
Click here: For All notes of The Frogs
From the perspectives of the above discussion, it is obvious that Dionysus’ journey to Hades is just a vehicle to vilify the contemporary crises of Athens and find the ultimate solution too.