The plays of Aristophanes are the oldest comedies which still survive. They are famous for their comic characters, their fantastic plots, their farcical action, and their earthy humour. But they are also highly topical, full of comments, both comic and serious, on politics and other currentaffairs in classical Athens.This book provides an accessible introduction to Aristophanes' plays, focusing particularly on their relationship to Athenian politics and life, and to the effect that Aristophanes hoped to have on his audience. All passages quoted from them are given in new verse translations, and readers do notneed any knowledge of Greek. But scholarly problems are not ignored, and specialists will find here both new suggestions and summaries of different interpretations with recent bibliographical information in the notes.