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The title of Aristophanes "The Frogs"

Dionysus, along with his slave Xanthias, sets out on a journey to Hades with the purpose of bringing Euripides back to earth. Dionysus and Xanthias must cross over the Acherusian Lake to reach their desired destination. Upon their arrival at the Lake, they receive  greetings from the frogs inhabiting the Lake waters. Aristophanes  gives the title to this play after the name of these frogs. However as the frogs appear in only one small scene of the play, this title has generated some debate. Yet, it must be admitted that the title is very significant because of the purpose the playwright aimed at in writing the play.
The frogs is a play

Firstly, Aristophanes had a theatrical purpose in using the frogsa as one of the two groups of Choruses in the play. According to some Critics, this chorus is probably an off-stage Chorus and is heard but not seen by the spectators. They mock noisy spectators at the theatre.The noise created by the spectators in the theatre is not based on fact but on emotional euphoria that results from their not judgingth the performances of the playwrights on their merits. It is not difficult here to find some connections between the noise of the spectators and the croakings of the frogs. Aristophanes shows disliking to the emotional noise of the spectators devoid of any worthy common sens.These spectatos with poor dramatic judgment are mocked at here by the croaking of the frogs

Secondly, the playwright had a purpose of mocking at the performances of the playwrights belonging to his age. The frogs greet Dionysus and his Xanthias at the gateway of Hades with their famous croakings of "Brekekekex, co-ax, co-ax/ ko-ax, ko-ax, ko-ax!At the surface the croakings might apparently seem to be a meaningless ode, deep inside, however, it is significantly meaningful. It might be a parody of the meaningless performances made by the unckilled and incapable playwrights of his time. This frogs chorus is says a critic a satire on contemporary poetasters whose poems contained an overflow of croaking or whose dramatic productions did not leave any other acoustic memory than a monotonous and ill-sounding brekekekex." The fact to consider here is that Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were the greatest playwrights of Athens. They made people enamoured by their delightful dramatic performances. They represented Athens by recording its history and events as skilfully as possible. They presented their performances with certain dramatic vision in their mind, which could help Athens in its trouble. They were the advisers of their homeland. Athens misses them now greatly. The playwrights who are producing performances now go nowhere near to the skills of the dead playwrights. To Aristophanes the performances being produced by his contemporary playwrights are like nothing but the croakings of the frogs. In this sense, this title is very well-directed.

Thirdly, Dionysus being greeted to Hades by none but the frogs is also significant in its own right. Is it possible to call it greeting? Possibly not. These frogs are surrogate for the playwrights of his age in whom he found almost no worth to represent Athens or, in his own words, to "save the city". Hence, the greeting of Dionysus by the frogs stands for the greeting of these poor-skilled playwrights offered to him. Dionysus, the patron god of poetry and drama, has no other way but to swallow it. This absurd greeting acts as some kind of justification for Dionysus' journey to Hades to bring back to Athens one of its greatest playwrights. From these perspectives, The Frogs as the title of this play successfully underscores the ideas that the author tries to bring to the notice of his readers. It is clearly linked with the intention of Dionysus to have a great dead playwright of Athens brought back to earth. The contemporary playwrights are only producing croakings in the name of dramas. This title excellently encapsulates this sad feeling of Aristophanes about the degradation of the Athenian theatre on the heels of the death of all of its three great tragedians.


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