Peace Written by Aristophanes in 421 BCE

1538 Words Jan 29th, 2018 6 Pages
In the opening scene of the play, two Athenian slaves are kneading cakes made of dung for the pet dung beetle of their master Trygaeus (Peace 1-2). Cakes are generally viewed as a decadent treats. However, theses cakes are not made out of appetizing ingredients but dung. These dung cakes are meant to parody Athenian obsession with food. After all, scholars agree that Aristophanes lived in a “food obsessed comic world” (Compton-Engle 326). The dung beetle also appears to serve a role in satirizing the aristocracy, “this beast…no food is good enough unless I first waste a whole day handling it…Go on, eat the lot, you big shit beast… the gluttonous beast! Look at him” (Peace 35-38). In this instance, the beetle will only eat the dung after it has been kneaded into a cake for one day. It is possible that the dung beetle represents members of the Athenian aristocracy, of which would be most selective with the preparation of their food.
In Peace, the automatist utopian trope of food is used to satirize war. In an early scene, the comic hero, Trygaeus is overlooking the god, War, tossing different types of food into his mortar. In this passage, the food that War tosses into his mortar are meant to be representative of different Greek city-states,
“War:(Takes a bunch of leeks and drops them into the mortar)
In you go, Leek City,…