Aristophanes: Wasps

(2192 words)

Aristophanes had a strong start to his career: Wasps was at least his sixth production in his first five years. Produced in 422 BCE at the Lenaia festival, it came in second place—losing to Proagon (‘Precontest’), which sources suggest Aristophanes also wrote (but did not produce, and so presumably bent but did not break the usual rule of one comedy per poet in a competition).

Wasps is arguably the most overtly civic-minded of all Aristophanes’ plays, but like all the others it is predicated on a single “big idea”, a fantastic proposition conceived on stage and carried to a silly extreme. In this case: What if Athenian citizens began holding trials at home? This idea develops as the …

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Kovacs, George. "Wasps". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 December 2012
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]