There were three famous writers of tragedies in Athens: the elder – Aeschylus, the middle one – Sophocles and the younger – Euripides. Aeschylus was mighty and majestic, Sophocles clear and harmonious, Euripides tense and paradoxical. Once having looked, the Athenian viewers could not forget how Fedra was tormented by his passion for stepchild for a long time, and his Medea with chorus stands up for the rights of women. The old people looked and cursed, and the young admired.
Aeschylus died long ago, back in the middle of the century, and Sophocles and Euripides died half a century later, in 406, almost simultaneously. Immediately went disputes between lovers: which of the three was better? And in response to such disputes, the playwright Aristophanes put the comedy “Frogs” about it.
“Frogs” means that the choir in the comedy is dressed in frogs and begins its song with croaking lines: “Breckecakex, coax, coax! / Breckecakex, coax, coax! / We are the children of swamp waters, / We will tighten the hymn, the friendly chorus, / A long groan, ringing our song! “
But these frogs are not simple: they live and croak not somewhere, but in the hellish river Acheron, through which the old shaggy boatman Charon carries the dead to the next world. Why in this comedy needed that light, Acheron and frogs, for that is their reasons.
The theater in Athens was under the auspices of Dionysus, the god of wine and
Here is the palace of the underground king of Aida, at the gate sits Aeak. In myths, this is a great judge of the sins of men, and here – a screaming slave-doorkeeper. Dionysus throws a lion’s hide, knocks. “Who’s there?” “Hercules has come again!” “Oh, you villain, ah, you scoundrel, you’re the one who took Kerbera away from me just now, my dear little dog!” Wait, I’m going to put all the hell’s monsters on you! ” Eak leaves, Dionysus in horror; He gives the slave to Hercules a skin, puts on his dress himself. They come again to the gate, and in them a servant of the underground queen: “Hercules, our dear, the landlady remembers you so much, such is your meal prepared, come to us!” Rab radehonek, but Dionysus grabs him for his cloak, and they, changing their heads, change again. Eak comes back with an infernal guard and can not understand at all who is the master, who is the slave. They decide: he will steal them in turn with rods, – whoever screams first, then, is not a god, but a slave. It beats. “Oh oh!” – “Aha!” – “No, I was thinking: when will the war end?” – “Oh oh!” – “Aha!” – “No, it’s a thorn in my heel… Oh-oh! … No, it’s me that recalled the bad poems… Oh-oh! … No, it’s me Euripides quoted.” – “Do not understand me, let God alone Hades himself understands.” And Dionysus and the slave enter the palace.
It turns out that in the next world there are also competitions of poets, and Aeschylus was still the best, and now this new Euripides contests this glory. Now there will be a court, and Dionysus will be a judge; now there will be poetry “measuring elbows and weighed weights”. True, Aeschylus is unhappy: “My poetry did not die with me, but Euripides died and is near him.” But he is humbled: the court begins. Around the already judging new choir – croaking frogs are far away in Acheron. The new choir is the souls of the righteous: at that time the Greeks believed that those who lead a righteous life and took initiation into the mysteries of Demeter, Persephone and Iakha will be not unfeeling but blissful in the next world. Iakh is one of the names of Dionysus himself, so this choir is quite appropriate here.
Euripides accuses Aeschylus: “The plays are boring: the hero is standing, and the choir sings, the hero will say two or three words, then the play and the end.” The words are old, bulky, incomprehensible, but everything is clear to me, everything is as in life, and people, and thoughts, and words. ” Aeschylus objected: “The poet must teach good and truth.” Homer is so glorious that he shows examples of valor, and what example can your depraved heroines serve? “High language requires a high language, and the subtle speeches of your heroes can teach citizens only to disobey the superiors “.
Aeschylus reads his poems – Euripides finds fault with every word: “Here you have Orestes over his father’s grave, praying for him” to hear, to hear… “, and” to hear “and” to hear “is a repetition!” Euripides reads his poems – Aeschylus finds fault with every line: “All the dramas you begin with the pedigrees:” Hero Pelop, who was my great-grandfather… “,” Hercules, which… “,” That Cadmus, which… “,” That Zeus, who… “. Dionysus separates them: let them speak one line at a time, and he, Dionysus, weighs in his hands, in what more weight. Euripides pronounces a clumsy and cumbersome verse: “Oh, if the rook stopped its running…”; Aeschylus – smooth and harmonious: “River flow, through the meadow flowing…” Dionysus suddenly yells: “Aeschylus is heavier!” – “But why?” – “
Finally the poems are put aside. Dionysus asks the poets about their views on political affairs in Athens and again makes a helpless gesture: “One answered wisely and the other answered wisely.” Who of the two is better, whom to bring out of the underworld? “Aeschylus!” – declares Dionysus. “And he promised me!” – outraged Euripides. “I did not promise my language,” Dionysus replies with Euripides’ verse. “You are guilty and not ashamed?” “There’s no guilt where no one can see,” Dionysus replies with another quote. “Do I laugh at the dead?” – “Who knows, life and death are not the same?” – answers Dionysus with a third quote, and Euripides pauses.
Dionysus and Aeschylus set out on their journey, and the subterranean god instructs them: “To such a politician, and to such and such a miracle, and to such a verse, say that they have long been time for me…” Chorus escorts Aeschylus to the praises and poet and Athenes: in order to quickly gain victory and get rid of such and such politicians, and from such and such vultures, and from such and such verses.