Aristophanes was a ribald playwright whose raucous plays were brilliantly brought to life by Fred Beake, David Slavitt, Palmer Bovie, and Jack Flavin. The first two of the four plays in Aristophanes, 1, The Acharnians and Peace were written during the Peloponnesian War between Athens, Sparta, and their allies. It was a terrible war consuming all of Greece, and Aristophanes was one of the first peace advocates. In The Acharnians, Dikaiopolis (which means "Good Citizen"), tries to convince the Assembly to discuss peace terms, only to be shut out of the discussion. So he hires Amphitheus, who claims to be a son of a god ordered to bring peace, to go to Sparta and make a treaty between Sparta and his family. In Peace, Trygaeus flies to heaven on a beetle to talk Zeus into advocating peace but Zeus went on vacation because he couldn't stand the fighting anymore and left War in charge. War buried Peace and Trygaeus had to rescue her to bring Peace to Athens.
The third play in the series, Celebrating Ladies, was a raucous attempt by Euripides, the famous Tragedian, to send his brother-in-law to the women's assembly to find out what the women are saying about him. So he dresses up as a woman and learns the women want to kill Euripides for writing so many disparaging things about them. Mnesilochus, the brother-in-law, speaks up for Euripides and the women try to kill him too. He's finally rescued when Euripides promises to change his behavior.
Finally, Wealth, represented the last of the extant plays of Aristophanes. Chremylus and his slave discover Wealth, a god blinded by Zeus because Zeus was afraid he might visit honest men. Chremylus claims he can restore his sight if he'll only visit with honest men. Wealth agrees, and with his sight restored, sprreads wealth to honest men and the lying informers are made to suffer in poverty.
The four plays in Aristophanes, 1 span the gamut from Old Comedy to New Comedy. The former was characterized by vulgar and slapstick humor with a Chorus used to interact with the audience. As comedy evolved, the Chorus played less a role and there was a softening of the ribald humor so characteristic of Old Comedy.
To make the plays more readable and understandable without losing any of the humor of the plays, the translators often made references to Twentieth Century phrases instead of the original Greek phrases. This might be annoying to the scholar but makes these plays eminently enjoyable to the general reader