Ancient Athenian Drama
5th century BC, Ancient Greek.
The goddess is released from where she was imprisoned underground by the gods, and a dung beetle flies off to pull Zeus’s chariot for him.
'You just have to defocus your mind a little,' said Miranda. 'Try to forget about a goddess as the personification of peace and all the little details like the slander of contemporary figures and the anal humour – that's all just part of the comedy, part of the disguise. Just look upon the figure as a goddess, period. Then what's the story in a nutshell?' she asked.
'Trygaeus, an Athenian farmer,' replied Quintin, 'is tired of war. It is 421 BC. Athens and her allies have been engaged in a struggle with Sparta and her allies for over a decade in what later ages will call the Peloponnesian War...'
'A nutshell,' said Miranda.
'Trygeaus wants peace,' Quintin tried once more. 'But the soothsayers and those who claim to be able to intermediate with the gods seem able to offer only more conflict; so Trygeaus finds a way of flying up to the house of Zeus where War and Tumult have imprisoned Peace...'
'Stop!' said Miranda.
'A man wants to visit the father-god Zeus,' she said, 'who has imprisoned a goddess in a cave. The man buys a giant dung beetle which he considers to be a suitable vehicle to use to fly up to heaven where Zeus lives – and a fitting vehicle for bawdy jokes as well – and the man finds when he gets there that Zeus has lost all interest in human affairs and has scarpered. The goddess is released from where she was imprisoned underground by the gods, and the dung beetle flies off to pull Zeus’s chariot for him.
'All return to Earth, where the goddess takes over and celebrations are in order. The play ends on a joyful note, with eating and drinking and loads of sex!
'The disappearance of a father god and the return of the Goddess!' enthused Miranda.