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Aristophanes: Clouds

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Aristophanes

  "A work of unusual excellence and an indispensable tool for all who are interested in understanding Aristophanes."--Hermathena  "A splendid book, easily the best edition of a play of Aristohanes yet to appear in this country."--Classical … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Aristophanes
Publisher: CreateSpace
1 review about Aristophanes: Clouds

A great playwright mocks a great philosopher

  • Aug 13, 2010
Rating:
+5
This is one of the near 10,000 books that people can upload for free from [...].

This comedic play by the fifth century BCE Athenian Greek playwright Aristophanes was written to satirize the playwright's contemporary philosopher Socrates, who is portrayed in a ridiculous fashion in the play. Strepsiades, a name meaning slippery and scheming, is upset because his son is addicted to horse racing and betting has put him in debt. He goes to the "thinking shop" where Socrates is teaching to find out from the man who he considers a faker, wretch, humbug, trickster, and quack, how he can deceive his creditors and not have to pay his son's debts.

Strepsiades finds Socrates' students lying on the ground with their head on the earth and their rumps high so that they can learn about the underworld while their rump is studying astronomy. He sees Socrates hanging from the roof in a basket because if one wants to speculate about the sun, one needs to do so near the sun.

Strepsiades conversation with Socrates is filled with nonsense designed to show that Socrates was at best a shyster who played with language but made no sense. The playwright shows that Socrates is neglecting religion and morality and that he is turning justice into nothing more than a sophistical sleight of hands. Socrates is made to say such things as Jupiter is not god; the true gods are the clouds; and thunder is not produced by Jupiter but by the clouds farting. Socrates advice to Strepsiades is similar illogical and nonsensical ideas. Indeed, Aristophanes portrays Socrates as a ridiculous Sophist, the group of people who trained their disciples how to persuade others through the use of language, a group that Plato, Socrates' pupil, says that Socrates despised.

Strepsiades realizes all these faults that Aristophanes portrays Socrates to have, and in disgust ends the play by setting fire to Socrates' "Thinking Shop."

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