Dionysus “the raucous god of theatre and inebriation" wants to visit the Underworld and see his favorite playwright, the recently deceased Euripides. Accompanied by his slave Xanthius, Dionysus first consults Heracles and then departs, alive, down into Hades. The pair, who cross into the underworld with the hellish boatman Charon, are mocked by a chorus of frogs, try to fool Heracles’ rival Aeacus with a game of disguises, and eventually become embroiled in an infernal rivalry between Euripides and Aeschylus. Dionysus is called upon by Pluto to judge which was the better playwright, with the winner being returned to the land of the living to provide comfort to war-ravaged Athens.
The Frogs, written just one year after Euripides’ death, is a good-humored homage to the great Tragedarian and his contemporaries Aeschylus and Sophocles. Like many of Aristophanes’ comedies, there is also a political message in the play, and many scholars believe that the conflict between Euripides and Aeschylus is meant to metaphorically represent the Peloponneisian war.
The Frogs guide sections