80. Wealth, by Aristophanes (388 BC)

Plot: The God Wealth has been blinded by a jealous Zeus and cannot tell good men from bad, thereby bestowing his gifts on undeserving criminals and politicians. A poor farmer Chremylus and his slave Carion give him shelter and take him to the Temple of Asclepius where his sight is restored, and the good people of the city are finally rewarded.

The final play in the Penguin edition of Aristophanes’The Birds and other plays
My thoughts:  Like The Assemblywomen before it, Wealth comes from Aristophanes’ later years, and the magic has definitely faded. There is the trademark vulgarity intertwined with political comment, but the play comes across as half finished and tired, although I liked the fantasy aspects of the personifications of Wealth and Poverty. You can see the author has lost some of his skill as Poverty presents good arguments why she should be allowed to continue her rule, but the other characters cannot manage any comeback except to harangue her and banish her from the city.

Also like the previous play, there is not the strong sense of dramatic or comedic buildup to the storyline throughout, but an initial setup followed by several short vignettes which barely sustain interest. The role of the Chorus is further reduced, which is not unwelcome to me personally.
Favourite lines/passages:  Nothing magical lifted itself from the text.
Personal rating: 3, which is a disappointing conclusion to a great series of comic plays
Next : Back to Plato with Euthyphro, but I suspect in a darker vein, as we approach the trial and death of Socrates.

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