Aristophanes Quotes


Inspirational Quotes by Aristophanes

 

“Comedy too can sometimes discern what is right. I shall not please, but I shall say what is true.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Acharnians


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Aristophanes Quotes about Life & Comedy


 “I pained folk but little and caused them much amusement; my conscience rebuked me for nothing.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Peace


“[Choir of] Women: It should not prejudice my voice that I’m not born a man, if I say something advantageous to the present situation. For I’m taxed too, and as a toll provide men for the nation.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Lysistrata


“[Choir of] Men: There is no beast, no rush of fire, like woman so untamed. She calmly goes her way where even panthers would be shamed.

[Choir of] Women: And yet you are fool enough, it seems, to dare to war with me, when for your faithful ally you might win me easily.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Lysistrata


“Praxagora: Woman is adept at getting money for herself and will not easily let herself be deceived; she understands deceit too well herself.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Ecclesiazusae

 


 “Informer: My friend, I am asking you for wings, not for words.

Pisthetaerus: It’s just my words that gives you wings.

Informer: And how can you give a man wings with your words?

Pisthetaerus: They all start this way. […]

Informer: So that words give wings?

Pisthetaerus: Undoubtedly; words give wings to the mind and make a man soar to heaven. Thus I hope that my wise words will give you wings to fly to some less degrading trade.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Birds


 “Demosthenes: Do you dare to accuse wine of clouding the reason? Quote me more marvellous effects than those of wine. Look! when a man drinks, he is rich, everything he touches succeeds, he gains lawsuits, is happy and helps his friends. Come, bring hither quick a flagon of wine, that I may soak my brain and get an ingenious idea.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Knights


 “Demosthenes: A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.”

“Demosthenes [to the Sausage-Seller]: Mix and knead together all the state business as you do for your sausages. To win the people, always cook them some savoury that pleases them. Besides, you possess all the attributes of a demagogue; a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, crossgrained nature and the language of the market-place. In you all is united which is needful for governing.”

“Sausage-Seller: You [demagogues] are like the fishers for eels; in still waters they catch nothing, but if they thoroughly stir up the slime, their fishing is good; in the same way it’s only in troublous times that you line your pockets.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Knights


“Chorus: [We] must look beneath every stone, lest it conceal some orator ready to sting us.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Peace


 “Lamachus: Ah! the Generals! they are numerous, but not good for much!”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Acharnians


“Leader of the Chorus: An insult directed at the wicked is not to be censured; on the contrary, the honest man, if he has sense, can only applaud.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Knights

 


Epops: Yet, certainly, the wise learn many things from their enemies; for caution preserves all things. From a friend you could not learn this, but your foe immediately obliges you to learn it. For example, the states have learned from enemies, and not from friends, to build lofty walls, and to possess ships of war. And this lesson preserves children, house, and possessions.

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Birds


 “Megarian: What else? When I left for the market, the authorities were taking steps to let us die in the quickest manner.

Dicaeopolis: That is the best way to get you out of all your troubles.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Acharnians

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Aristophanes Quotes about Society & Ethics


“Praxagora: I want all to have a share of everything and all property to be in common; there will no longer be either rich or poor; […] I shall begin by making land, money, everything that is private property, common to all. […]

Blepyrus: But who will till the soil?

Praxagora: The slaves.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Ecclesiazusae


“Chremylus: And what good thing can [Poverty] give us, unless it be burns in the bath, and swarms of brats and old women who cry with hunger, and clouds uncountable of lice, gnats and flies, which hover about the wretch’s head, trouble him, awake him and say, “You will be hungry, but get up!” […]

Poverty: It’s not my life that you describe; you are attacking the existence beggars lead. […] The beggar, whom you have depicted to us, never possesses anything. The poor man lives thriftily and attentive to his work; he has not got too much, but he does not lack what he really needs. […] But what you don’t know is this, that men with me are worth more, both in mind and body, than with [Wealth]. With him they are gouty, big-bellied, heavy of limb and scandalously stout; with me they are thin, wasp-waisted, and terrible to the foe. […] As for behavior, I will prove to you that modesty dwells with me and insolence with [Wealth]. […] Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy. […]

Chremylus: Then tell me this, why does all mankind flee from you?

Poverty: Because I make them better. Children do the very same; they flee from the wise counsels of their fathers. So difficult is it to see one’s true interest.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Peace


“Hierocles: You will never make the crab walk straight.”

– Aristophanes, as quoted in Peace

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