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Aims of Aristophanes in The Wasps and The Frogs

            Aristophanes was one of the most successful Attic comedy playwrights of his time-.
             His comedies were distinct from others, because they were not just simply written for entertainment- his comedies provided not only entertainment, but it also informed the Athenians of political and social issues occurring at that time. This can clearly be seen in the prologue of The Wasps- "No, this is just a little fable, with a moralbut a bit more intelligent than the usual knockabout stuff." .
             Using The Frogs and The Wasps as a reference, I shall outline the aims of Aristophanes as a playwright, as well as how effectively he achieved it.
             The first obvious aim of Aristophanes as a playwright, was of course, to win the Drama competition. This event was held every year on the Fertility Festival day, at the City Dionysia. This was where the Greeks held the ceremony to honour Dionysus, whom was, the God of wine, ecstasy, fertility and theatre. A total of five plays would be performed on the day, and it had a competitive element- the judges had to declare the playwrights who gained 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Aristophanes must have had a great desire to be the 1st winner of the competition- this can be clearly seen in the parabasis of The Wasps, where the chorus leader says "So once again your Champion fought for you and sought to purge the land of grievous ills. And what did you do then? You let him down." This refers to when Aristophanes was depressed due to the failure of The Clouds, which was performed in the year before The Wasps. He wanted to win! In the parados of The Frogs, there is also another quote which represents the desire of Aristophanes of winning the competition- the chorus sings to Demeter, "Part in earnest, part in jest, we may shine above the rest, and our play in all men's eyes favour find, and win the prize.".
             Another major aim of Aristophanes was to entertain the audience. Without doubt, he is attempting to amuse the audience by the usage of comic devices such as slapstick, sexual innuendo, parody, pun, absurd farce and so on to achieve his aim of entertaining.

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