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Aristophanes' THESMOPHORIAZUSAE (The Women's Festival) Complete

A Literal Translation, with Notes.

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In despair Mnesilochus sends urgent messages to Euripides to come and rescue him from his perilous predicament. The latter then appears, and in successive characters selected from his different Tragedies--now Menelaus meeting Helen again in Egypt, now Echo sympathising with the chained Andromeda, presently Perseus about to release the heroine from her rock--pleads for his unhappy father-in-law. At length he succeeds in getting him away in the temporary absence of the guard, a Scythian archer, whom he entices from his post by the charms of a dancing-girl.

As may be supposed, the appearance of Mnesilochus among the women dressed in women's clothes, the examination of his person to discover his true sex and his final detection, afford fine opportunities for a display of the broadest Aristophanic humour. The latter part of the play also, where various pieces of Euripides are burlesqued, is extremely funny; and must have been still more so when represented before an audience familiar with every piece and almost every line parodied, and played by actors trained and got up to imitate every trick and mannerism of appearance and delivery of the tragic actors who originally took the parts.

The 'Thesmophoriazusae' was produced in the year 412 B.C., six years before the death of Euripides, who is held up to ridicule in it, as he is in 'The Wasps' and several other of our Author's comedies.

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