PLUTUS by Aristophanes, Part 01
CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY
CARIO, Servant of Chremylus
PLUTUS, God of Riches
BLEPSIDEMUS, friend of Chremylus
WIFE OF CHREMYLUS
A JUST MAN
AN OLD WOMAN
A PRIEST OF Zeus
CHORUS OF RUSTICS
(SCENE:-The Orchestra represents a public square in Athens.
In the background is the house of CHREMYLUS. A ragged old
blind man enters, followed by CHREMYLUS and his slave CARIO.)
What an unhappy fate, great gods, to be the slave of a fool! A
servant may give the best of advice, but if his master does not follow
it, the pool slave must inevitably have his share in the disaster; for
fortune does not allow him to dispose of his own body, it belongs to
his master who has bought it. Alas! 'tis the way of the world. But the
god, Apollo (in tragic style), whose oracles the Pythian priestess
on her golden tripod makes known to us, deserves my censure, for
surely he is a physician and a cunning diviner; and yet my master is
leaving his temple infected with mere madness and insists on following
a blind man. Is this not opposed to all good sense? It is for us,
who see clearly, to guide those who don't; whereas he clings to the
trail of a blind fellow and compels me to do the same without
answering my questions with ever a word. (To CHREMYLUS) Aye, master,
unless you tell me why we are following this unknown fellow, I will
not be silent, but I will worry and torment you, for you cannot beat
me because of my sacred chaplet of laurel.
No, but if you worry me I will take off your chaplets, and then
you will only get a sounder thrashing.
That's an old song! I am going to leave you no peace till you have
told me who this man is; and if I ask it, it's entirely because of
my interest in you.
Well, be it so. I will reveal it to you as being the most faithful
and the most rascally of all my servants. I honoured the gods and
did what was right, and yet I was none the less poor and unfortunate.
I know it but too well.
Others amassed wealth-the sacrilegious, the demagogues, the
informers, indeed every sort of rascal.
I believe you.
Therefore I came to consult the oracle of the god, not on my own
account, for my unfortunate life is nearing its end, but for my only
son; I wanted to ask Apollo if it was necessary for him to become a
thorough knave and renounce his virtuous principles, since that seemed
to me to be the only way to succeed in life.
CARIO (with ironic gravity)
And with what responding tones did the sacred tripod resound?
You shall know. The god ordered me in plain terms to follow the
first man I should meet upon leaving the temple and to persuade him to
accompany me home.
And who was the first one you met?
This blind man.
And you are stupid enough not to understand the meaning of such an
answer! Why, the god was advising you thereby, and that in the
clearest possible way, to bring up your son according to the fashion
of your country.
What makes you think that?
Is it not evident to the blind, that nowadays to do nothing that
is right is the best way to get on?
No, that is not the meaning of the oracle; there must be another
that is nobler. If this blind man would tell us who he is and why
and with what object he has led us here, we should no doubt understand
what our oracle really does mean.
CARIO (to PLUTUS)
Come, tell us at once who you are, or I shall give effect to my
threat. (He menaces him.) And quick too, be quick, I say.