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Aristophanes is the only comic playwright of the Classical Greek era whose works have survived. One of the most original dramatists of the Western tradition, his plays feature a brilliant combination of fantasy, social-political satire, and use of absurd characters and plots to shine a spotlight on his society's institutions and values--and to skewer Athenian politicians who continued to promote the disastrous Peloponnesian War. The Clouds famously caricatures the philosopher Socrates; Women at the Thesmophoria blends elaborate parody of tragedy with transvestite burlesque; and in The Frogs, the Greek tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides engage in a vituperative "literary criticism" of each other's plays in the Underworld--presided over by the god Dionysus.