Unable to find in the upper world the poet who could guide his beloved city away from disaster, Dionysos decides to descent to Hades and bring Euripides back to life. He pays a visit to Herakles, who had traveled to Hades before in order to get the monstrous dog Kerberos, and asks him for advice about the journey. Dressed up as Herakles, Dionysos together with his slave Xanthias, reach the banks of the Acherousia lake, the border of the world of the dead. A company of deafening frogs provides Dionysos with his first trial: a forceful fight against enthusiastically dissonant shrieks, which of course ends, albeit in a rather unorthodox manner, with the god's final victory. At the other bank of the lake, as they enter the kingdom of Pluto, Dionysos and Xanthias meet a chorus of blissful dead: they are those who were initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries while they were still alive and are, thus, graced with eternal happiness. In the course of the journey, Dionysus' masquerade proves unexpectedly problematic. Herakles' passage through Hades has left sour impressions to most of its inhabitants, who remember him as a crook and a thief. In order to escape their rage, panic-stricken Dionysus begins a game of dress exchanges with Xanthias, which, however, brings about the opposite results than those the god had intended. When he finally reaches an impasse, Dionysos decides to disclose his true identity -but nobody believes him. Xanthias, outraged by his master's attitude, tries his best to undermine him. Dionysus and Xanthias are forced to undergo a flagellation trial in order to be decided which of the two is the real god. The trial fails to reach a conclusion and the issue is referred to Pluto himself. Master and slave are led indoors. After the parabasis, where the chorus of initiates comments on the political situation of Athens at the time, we learn about the crisis that broke out in Hades recently. When Euripides arrived, he claimed the position of the 'Best Poet', a position which until then was held by Aeschylus. Dionysus is called to find a solution and acts as a judge in a relentless contest, where aesthetics mix with the weigh-bridge of a grocer and the heat of a boxing ring. The contest ends with no result. Dionysus cannot decide which of the two poets is more worthy to be resurrected. Eventually, he decides to choose the one 'whom his soul desires' -and so he chooses Aeschylus. Together they depart for the world of the living.