Can a modern audience fully enjoy a performance of Aristophanes’s The Frogs?

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It is certainly possible for a modern audience to fully enjoy a performance of Aristophanes’s The Frogs, for the play contains plenty of themes that are universally significant, and it also offers quite a bit of entertainment value. Let’s look at this in more detail.

This play explores the themes of rivalry, identity, deception, art, and fame, all of which are still extremely important to modern people. We see, for instance, the rivalry between the playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides and how silly it makes them seem. They both want more fame and are not content with the fame they have. In the process, we are encouraged to think about the value and quality of art. As Bacchus and Xanthias try to deceive others by switching identities, we are invited to think about identity and deception.

Of course, the play is also entertaining. In fact, it is quite funny in places. It shows humanity in all its folly. The dialogues between Bacchus and Xanthias are hilarious, and Pluto’s weariness with the whole lot of them is something most of us can probably relate to at one time or another. Indeed, this is a play that both entertains us and shows us to ourselves, and that is why modern people can and do still enjoy it.

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