-->The familiar chant from ''The Frogs''

Aristophanes was an Athenian comic playwright (5th-4th century BC). His works are often characterized as {{satire}}, which is quite remarkable--the Greeks never really went in for satire that much, to the point where they didn't even have a word for it (the genre was considered to be an innovation of the Romans, who were rather fonder of the style).

His notable plays include ''Theatre/TheClouds'' (''Νεφέλαι, Nephelai''), which famously lampooned Creator/{{Socrates}} (libeling him, and likely contributing to his sentence of death); ''The Wasps'' (''Σφῆκες, Sphékes''), a satire of [[OlderThanTheyThink contemporary litigious society]]; ''Theatre/TheBirds'' (''Ὄρνιθες, Ornithes''), which features the original {{Cloudcuckooland}}; ''Theatre/{{Lysistrata}}'' (''Λυσιστράτη, Lysistraté''), in which the women of Greece bring about the end of a war by going on a [[LysistrataGambit sex strike]]; and ''The Frogs'' (''Βάτραχοι, Batrachoi''), in which Creator/{{Euripides}} and Creator/{{Aeschylus}} contend in the afterlife for the title of Best Tragic Poet. (Many of his plays, in what was then a common convention, were named after the role adopted by the GreekChorus; ''Lysistrata'', named after the lead character, is the only exception out of those listed here.)

''Theatre/TheFrogs'' was loosely adapted into a musical by StephenSondheim ''et al''., with Creator/WilliamShakespeare and Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw as the contentious dramatists, and a much-expanded role for the frogs.
* {{Cloudcuckooland}}
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}
* LysistrataGambit

!!Works by Aristophanes with their own trope pages include:

* ''Theatre/TheAcharnians''
* ''Theatre/TheBirds''
* ''Theatre/TheClouds''
* ''Theatre/{{Lysistrata}}''
!!Other works by Aristophanes provide examples of:

* AnachronismStew: Some translations update terminology, and most update as many jokes as possible that the shows may remain side-splitters. For example, at one point in ''The Frogs'', we are given an excerpt from Creator/{{Aeschylus}}' now-lost play ''Myrmidons'', where the word "striking" figures repeatedly. One translation has Dionysus riffing "You struck out." Another has Dionysus complain that all the "striking" has made his groin sore.
* AsYouKnow: Opening of ''The Wasps'' -- with a fourth-wall-breaking lamp-shade hanging -- apparently this trope got tired early.
* BlackComedyRape
* BreakingTheFourthWall: ''Clouds'', ''Frogs'', ''The Wasps'' -- if not the UrExample, he may yet be the oldest surviving.
* CorruptPolitician: Several of his contemporaries are depicted in this way by Aristophanes. Most notably the populist leader Cleon, whose period in power featured the rise of a new breed of public informants. They were supposed to keep a watchful eye on the city and find out any anti-democratic conspiracies, leading the perpetrators to trial. Aristophanes repeatedly depicts both the informants and their master as corrupt people making absurd accusations against innocent targets.
* DirtyCoward: Many of Aristophanes' surviving works contain jokes about the supposed cowardice of Cleonymus. He was apparently a politician and military officer who lost his courage at the Battle of Delium (424 BC). He threw his shield away and fled from the battlefield, a dishonorable act which cost him the loss of several citizen rights. Aristophanes continued including jokes ridiculing the "shield-thrower" for at least a decade after the fact.
* DirtyOldWoman
* GagPenis: Rather memorably, he mocks the practice of having actors parade around in leather phalli during comedic performances in Theatre/{{Lysistrata}} - a few scenes before [[RagingStiffie the fact that every man in Greece has an erection]] [[HypocriticalHumor is the core of a joke]]. (We don't ''know'' that the cast members were performing in phalli, since the plays don't come with stage directions, but it seems rather likely.)
* GenderBender: Mnesilochus in ''The Poet And The Women''.
* GreekChorus: Necessarily, for an Ancient Greek playwright.
* HaveYouSeenMyGod
* HilarityEnsues: Duh.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall
* NoFourthWall
* NostalgiaAintLikeItUsedToBe: Aristophanes wasn't fond of modernity and clearly thought that Greece used to be a much sweeter place a few decades before his plays. Since most of his works were written during the Peloponnesian War, he wasn't completely wrong.
* RuleOfFunny
* SwappedRoles: Dionysos and his mortal servant disguise themselves as each other in ''The Frogs''.
* TakeThat: Creator/{{Euripides}} is one of the most frequent targets. Socrates is a close second - Theatre/TheClouds is all about what a sleazy fellow Socrates is, and there are various references to him in other plays, none at all flattering. It's often argued that Aristophanes' daemon-ization of Socrates was one reason the Athenians eventually condemned the philosopher to death. At least one critic holds that the Socrates of The Clouds and the Socrates of Plato are ''so'' incompatible that he is using a famous local philosopher to critique the Sophists rather than Socrates in particular, whether he was a Sophist or not. (He wasn't.) The REAL Socrates, with whom Aristophanes apparently hands out and is friends with in many Platonic dialogues, is merely unfortunate collateral damage toward that end.
** Cleon, though an important figure in his own right, is well-known for being a target of Aristophanes' plays. This is partially due to Cleon being NouveauRiche, coming from a tanner's family. However Cleon was well-known for being very supportive of continuing the war with Sparta, even convincing the Athenians to turn down the possibility of a very beneficial peace.
* ToiletHumor: A [[IncrediblyLamePun shitload.]] A few examples (but there are many, many more) are the opening of ''The Peace'' where two servants are kneading dung cakes for their master's [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext giant dung beetle.]] And a classic line from ''The Knights'', a play that lampoons politicians: "To steal, perjure yourself and make your arse receptive are three essentials for climbing high."
* UnreliableNarrator: Aristophanes himself when mentioning contemporary events. Along with the historian Thucydides, the playwright is one of our main sources of information on several key figures of the UsefulNotes/ThePeloponnesianWar, but the views of both men were oligarchic. They were, for example, both harsh critics of various policies which placed the Athenian nobility at a disadvantage. These same policies were very popular with the Athenian citizens.
* WarIsHell