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Why was Frogs so successful?

            There is ample evidence for the success of Frogs; it was awarded first prize at the Lenaia in 405BC and was performed again in the following year. This restaging was an unprecedented event, even more so after the Athenian State, historically "well able to look after itself both in peace and in war' had suffered a decisive defeat by the Spartans. The need for a repeat performance indicates that the play had more than a simple comic appeal.
             More than any other of Aristophanes" plays, Frogs was centred upon Athens and it is the worry for the city's political, military and social problems that made it so successful. The play's main concern, revealed in the parabasis, is the prominence of "rascals" and "knaves" who now inhabit the assembly. Frogs suggests that these men are not as "honest, capable [and] patriotic" as they should be, but inefficient and corrupt. The advice to the audience is to trust and support the "men of good birth and breeding" as they are desperately "needed by the nation", otherwise, Athens "will come to grief". This idea is reiterated several times throughout the play, most memorably in comparison with Athenian coinage. The metaphor asserts that the "loyal kinsmen", such as Alchibiades are the "noble silver drachma" of the city and should be recalled to replace the "newcomers" who are likened to "shoddy silver-plated coppers, inferior to their "well-schooled" counterparts. This favouring of the long-standing traditions is also seen in the contest (agon) between Aeschylus and Euripides; perhaps the older tragic poet armed with "words of might" is better equipped to "save the City" than the contemporary, more comic Euripides, whose only weapon is a "sword of wit".
             Frogs also stressed the need for peace and stability in Athens, indeed Dionysus is descending to Hades for this very reason; he requires a poet "who can write" in order to "save the city". This presentation of drama as educating and restoring is continued throughout the play; Euripides states that as well as technical skill, a poet should "make people into better citizens" and the Chorus declare that poets themselves were "clever and wise".

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