Talk:The Birds (play)

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Correct name of protagonist?[edit]

What is the most widely used translation of Peisetairos' name? I see at least two in the article.

Old content of the Birds (theater) (below) needs to be merged into this article. The Birds is a comedy by Aristophanes. It tells the story of two men fed up with life in wartime Athens who set off in search of the ideal city. They make their way to the sky, where they persuade the birds to found a realm occupying the strategic position between heaven and earth. The new city of Cloudcuckooland, like all would-be utopias, quickly collapses from egalitarian state to dicatorship as the human ruler of the bird-city acquires a fancy for tyrrany and hubris, leading his state into ruin.

I think I've added the stuff I didn't already mention...I didn't know there already was a page, as it didn't show up in a search (either on Wikipedia itself or on a site search on Google). I searched for it last week sometime when I was adding to the Aristophanes page, and yesterday when I wrote this one. That's weird...oh well. Adam Bishop 17:39, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)

No. 'The Birds (theater)' was created earlier today. Mintguy 20:31, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Ah...I see now. That is even stranger :) Adam Bishop 20:40, 25 Aug 2003 (UTC)


I'm of the opinion that Cloudcuckooland deserves its own entry separate from this article. Does anyone agree, or care to write it? I'm sure someone out there can do I better job than I. -R. fiend 21:01, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Why are you of that opinion? Adam Bishop 21:03, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Cloudcuckooland, unlike the myriad Pokemon articles for example, is often made mention of outside the context of Aristophenes, making it exactly the sort of thing that someone completely unfamiliar with the term would want to look up. For that reason alone I think stand out articles are beneficial. It's obviously not too important, as long as it's covered sufficiently here with a redirect, but it's own article could be more in-depth, if necessary. Also, the fact that someone made a link of its mention in this article (which redirects back to this page) makes me think I'm not alone. Do you oppose this? Or think it's unnecessary? I admit it's not essential. -R. fiend 21:20, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I don't oppose it, I was just curious :) (I would imagine there are more people who know the term Cloudcuckooland than there are who know this play or Aristophanes.)

Eugene O'Neill, Jr.[edit]

One of the translations I found for The Birds was by someone named Eugene O'Neill, Jr. Anyone know if that is the famous playwrite Eugene O'Neill, or perhaps his son or other relative?


This article presents The Birds as being anti-utopian, claiming that Cloudcuckooland "collapses" as Pisthetairos becomes more authoritarian. The problem with this is that this is only one reading of the text. Granted, I actually agree with this reading, but it is not the only one and many scholars dispute this reading (particularly as Cloudcuckooland doesn't collapse; in the end, it is supremely powerful with Pisthetairos as lord of the universe, and thus arguably the fantastic hero, battling and overcoming the injustices of Athens). So, the article should be changed to either reflect a more neutral, straight-forward telling of the events of the play, or the multiple ways in which this play has been read by the scholarly community. --MS

Ian Johnston[edit]

There is a blue link to the name of a translator, Ian Johnston. This link takes you to the article of a famous australian doctor, who is also named Ian Johnston. I don't think that that Ian Johnston is the translater of the play. The Ian Johnston with the article died in 2001 and this translation comes from 2003.--Fantastic fred 01:31, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Descendant of Tereus?[edit]

The synopsis of the play claims that Euelpides and Pistetairos meet a descendant of Tereus. I have read multiple translations of the play and in each this character is Tereus himself, not a descendant. I have not changed the article as I don't want to step on anyone's toes and am wondering on what this claim is based? Is it in a particular translation? Do the translations I have read miss or omit something from the Greek (I do not know Greek)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:50, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Also, the synopsis incorrectly claims that the play begins with them reaching the sky and that it does not explain how they get there. This is completely incorrect as in the first scene they are clearly on the ground, and the dialogue explains how it is they are later able to reach the sky (eating a particular plant allows them to grow wings). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:56, 2 May 2008 (UTC)


Can't be a hummingbird, as these only became known post-1492 AD. Maybe a kinglet. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 16:01, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Nav. box[edit]

I have restored the nav box (linking to Aristophanes' plays) to the top of the article because it allows for easy cross-referencing between plays and because it is a useful reminder that each play is best understood in the context of all the plays. Lucretius (talk) 00:18, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Removing tag[edit]

I just removed a tag, according to which the play's summary is too long, and which invited contributors to reduce the summary. I removed the tag because it demonstrates a failure to understand the issues involved: 1) There are already 2 summaries - a short summary (1 paragraph) and a detailed summary (5 paragraphs plus 4 lines of anapestic tetrameter catalectic); reducing the detailed summary on the grounds that it is too detailed is quite absurd. We might as well get rid of the short summary and write just one summary, which denies the reader a choice. The detailed summary is in fact quite short already and it skips over many parts of the plot. 2) This is an article about a play by the ancient Greek dramatist, Aristophanes, which ofter bares little or no resemblance to modern versions of it; a detailed summary allows the reader to note points of difference. 3) The Birds is Aristophanes' longest play (about 25% longer than his other plays), yet the detailed summary here is not much bigger than the other summaries for his plays. You might as well tag all of them.

Whether or not the detailed summary can be better written is of course a different matter. P.S. I wrote the existing summaries under my previous username Lucretius. Amphitryoniades (talk) 01:39, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

I've done a little bit of re-structuring and I've edited out some florid over-writing in the summary. I think it was the over-writing at the start of the summary that invited the tag. I'll revisit again later and see what else I can do. Amphitryoniades (talk) 03:59, 14 June 2010 (UTC)