Euripides (yew-RIH-pih-deez), the tragic poet and a perennial butt of Aristophanes’ satire, depicted in the broad strokes appropriate to farce. He is about to be punished by the Thesmophoriazusae, women who are celebrating the Feast of Demeter, because he has presented unflattering portraits of women on the stage and has, in the process, given away too many secrets of the sex. He does not know what fate is in store for him, but he wishes to have a friend at court if possible. He attempts to persuade Agathon to disguise himself as a woman, to mingle with the Thesmophoriazusae, and to speak up for him if need be. When Agathon refuses, Mnesilochus agrees to attempt the deception. In spite of his promise to rescue his friend should the trick not carry, Euripides is obviously much more interested in his own safety than in saving Mnesilochus from discomfiture, but after the disguise is penetrated, he comes to the rescue when Mnesilochus begins to hurl small wooden images from the temple, each inscribed with a plea for help, a parody of a device used by Euripides himself in his Palamedes. Once on the scene, Euripides joins Mnesilochus in befuddling the women by reciting wildly burlesqued passages from his own tragedies. When Mnesilochus is arrested and fastened to a post (a situation that permits Euripides to play first Echo and then Perseus to Mnesilochus’ Andromeda), Euripides disguises himself as an...
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