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Euripides``The Cyclops` is the only satyr play to have survived from antiquity. Satyr plays were comic performances given at the end of a day of tragic performance; normally, a full day at a tragic theatrical festival consisted of three tragedies and a satyr play by the same playwright. The satyr play was distinguished by having Silenus and a troop of satyrs as a chorus.
`The Cyclops`is based on Book IX of the Odyssey, but adds to it the element of satyrs and Silenus also captured by Polyphemus. Much of the comic business includes homosexual encounter and drunkeness involving the satyrs. Rather than being a figure of terror, Polyphemus is more of a buffoon in the Euripidean version. The essential plot elements, with the exception of the presence of the satyrs, are similar.
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