It was the fall of 422 B.C. and the peloponnesian war had been on for ten years! The two opponent cities, athens and sparta, had reached the point of exhaustion in all fields. Immediately after the amphipolis battle, where the two bloodthirsty leaders Cleon and Brasidas where killed, the efforts for negotiations finally began. Aristophanes’ longing for peace was clearly depicted in the homonym play he staged at the great dionysia of the following spring. the play was rendered in gentle yet deeply soulful lyricism, the kind that simple folk would be able to feel, as they are the ones that no matter which side are on, always seem to suffer the greatest in every war. At the same time, in this play the poet gives an incisive analysis of the causes of war by exposing and fiercely attacking the culprits which of course are the same through the years. In this play it’s as if Aristophanes is standing on a high pedestal so that his passionate pacifist sermon is heard throughout the world.
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