The Frogs

The Frogs Character List

Dionysus

The god of both wine and ecstatic mystical religion, Dionysus is the protagonist of the play, first seeking to travel to Hades to bring back a poet of wise counsel to help Athens, and then judging the poetic contest between Euripides and Aeschylus. He is cocky but cowardly, self-seeking and crass.

Xanthias

The keen-witted and ambitious slave of Dionysus, Xanthias likes to complain about and compete with his master.

Heracles

The famous son of Zeus who completed the Twelve Labors. Heracles in this play provides Dionysus with advice on traveling to the underworld. Heracles's past deeds there are vilified by Aeacus and the innkeepers.

Charon

The ferryman on the river Styx; in the play he takes Dionysus across the lake to Hades.

Aeacus

The doorman of Pluto's house in Hades; he hates Heracles for stealing Cerberus and thus tries to torture Dionysus and Xanthias when they are disguised as Heracles.

Maid of Persephone

Thinking Heracles has arrived at Pluto's house, she invites him in for Persephone's meal and dancing girls.

Innkeeper

The woman who runs the inn in Hades; he dislikes Heracles for his behavior on his visit there.

Plathane

Another female innkeeper in Hades who dislikes Heracles for his bad behavior when he traveled there.

Slave of Pluto

Speaks with Xanthias about how he criticizes his master behind his back, and gives information about the upcoming contest between Aeschylus and Euripides.

Pluto

The god of the underworld and husband of Persephone, Pluto calls the contest between poets and allows the winner to return to Athens.

Euripedes

The recently deceased poet whom Dionysus originally intends to bring back from the underworld. Euripides was a tragic poet who often wrote of the common people. Aeschylus criticizes him for wanton verse and witty but decadent intellectualism.

Aeschylus

The renowned tragic poet who engages in a contest with Euripides to see who holds the chair of honor next to Pluto. While Euripides mocks him as stentorian and verbose, Dionysus finds his verse more traditional, sagacious, and necessary to help Athens in their time of need, and thus brings him back to the world above.

Chorus of Frogs

Sings for Dionysus while he takes Charon's boat across the Styx, jesting and teasing with their rambunctious croaking and singing.

Chorus of Initiates

Part of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Initiates help Dionysus and Xanthias on their path and also sing of the rites and members of the Mysteries, the glories of Demeter and Iacchus; they also poke fun at notable politicians and poets.

Persephone

The daughter of Demeter and the wife of Pluto.