The Frogs as literary criticism or satire


Question: Discuss “The Frogs” as literary criticism or satire. The Frogs as literary criticism or satire


“The Frogs” is a master comedy of having versatile aspects. Literary satire or criticism is one of the important aspects of the play in which Aristophanes (446-386) has shown the appreciation of two great tragedians who are finely fine.

Literary Criticism

Criticism means the expression of disapproval of something or someone on the basis of perceived faults and mistakes. Literary criticism or literary satire or literary studies is the study of evaluation and interpretation of literature. In this play, the contest between Euripides and Aeschylus has been in such a perfect label that makes the comedy as literary satire or criticism for the purpose of selecting the talented poet to meet the demand of the time.

Preface of the competition

Before starting the competition, Euripides and Aeschylus engage in harsh quarreling and condemning. Euripides condemns Aeschylus in various ways.

“creator of savages, a boorish loudmouth, / with an unbridled, unruly, ungated mouth”

Aeschylus also attacks Euripides and he says:

Babble collector, / you creator of beggars, you stitcher of old rags”

Thus, pre-contest attacks inform that the contest is going to held in a satirical way.

Evaluation of general issues

The general evaluation of the contest starts with the chorus’s declaration about the sharp arguments between Euripides and Aeschylus. Euripides tries to expose his rival as the charlatan and quack. He also satirizes his obnoxious use of words. Aeschylus in his defense questions Euripides what qualities of a poet should be admired. He responds with ‘skill and good counsel’ because they make people better. Then Aeschylus tells him that he has ruined people. Aeschylus defenses objection against his obnoxious use of language in the following manner:

“Great thoughts / and ideas force us to produce

expressions that are equal to them”.

So, evaluation of general issues of the poets’ literary work through a contest is a proper token of modern literary criticism.

Prologues and lyrical qualities

In the literary competition between Euripides and Aeschylus in the hades, the prologue and lyrical qualities of the poet are mocked in a pungent way. Euripides begins by examining one of the prologues of Aeschylus –a line from the Oresteia.  He also condemns by saying all of Aeschylus’s lyrics have the same pattern; he cites a few examples from the Myrmidons and Ghost Riders. Such evaluation and criticism are some of the pivotal features of literary satire or criticism.

Weighing of the Verses

In the weighing of verse, there are a number of series, and each time Aeschylus goes lower but in the final weighing he is victorious with lines of,

 “Chariot upon chariot, and corpse upon corpse”

He laughs that Euripides could put his whole family and book altogether against him and he would still lose. This stage of competition can be compared with all the literary criticism of the modern and post-modern periods of English literature.

Appreciation of the political sagacity of the poets

Dionysus is really helpless and confused to select one bringing back to human society for the protection of Athens. But the time comes to him since Euripides fails to be perfect regarding political urgency and Aeschylus wins because he shows sufficient wisdom and intelligence to protect the demos of Athens. By the final stage of the contest, it is proved that Aeschylus is chosen as he has a proper interpretation of life. Finally, Dionysus changes his previous longing and proclaims that he is choosing Aeschylus as the chorus says while his journey to Hades.

 “Grant fine idea that will bring fine blessings”


 In termination, we can say that “The Frogs” is not only a play of literary criticism or satire but also a guideline for the critics in the question of how to write literary criticism or satire.


Biswazit Kumar
Biswazit Kumar
Articles: 64

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