Written in 388 B.C., during the Corynthian War, Aristophanes’ last surviving comedy marks a transition from the Attic Old Comedy to the New Comedy, as evidenced by the reduced role of the chorus, the limited political commentary, the subject matter (polis and the citizens), the happier undertones without too much obscene language, and, overall, a more explicitly moralistic tone. The main hero is Chremylos, a bankrupt farmer who is at a loss to understand why he lost his fortune, despite being honest and pious. Chremylos and his slave, Carion, nurse Plutus to health. Blinded by Zeus, Plutus is unable to distinguish between the just and the unjust, the honourable and the dishonourable. When Plutus finally regains his sight, justice is accordingly restored. Aristophanes’ comedy is a wink to the audience, indicating what he would consider fair in an ideal polis: everyone getting their just deserts.
From Aristophanes’ time to our own, Plutus (Greek for “wealth”) is invariably the most powerful deity on the face of the earth; the driving force behind everything. Today’s inequality in wealth distribution is striking: the 100 richest people on the planet have accumulated more wealth than half the world’s population. Whether Wealth is blind or has the ability to see is completely irrelevant: what matters is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Direction: Nikita Milivojević