Essay on Comparing Plato 's ' Comedy ' The Clouds '

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In Aristophanes’ comedy the Clouds, Socrates is charged with the corruption of the youth, by teaching them to disregard the traditional values of piety, and the authority of the laws of Athens. Plato, one of the primary advocates and followers of Socrates attempts to defend Socrates from these charges in his dialogues Euthyphro and the Apology by characterizing him as a martyr of justice against a city corrupted by fear in realizing its own fragility. Plato’s depiction of Socrates’ defense in both dialogues is ironic and mocking of the city’s principles. This is because from the start of Socrates’ trial, he is almost certain that he will be convicted unjustly of the crimes laid against him, and thus he makes no attempt to placate the jury by doing anything that might compromise his character. The charges made by Aristophanes in the Clouds are portrayed as one of the primary reasons that Socrates is up for trial. Since the Clouds was a comedy that was most likely seen by many people in Athens, Socrates claims that the citizens held prejudices against him “from childhood,” and were “more dangerous” than the recent accusations against him. (Loc. 699) Prejudices formed in youth are indeed hard to undo, however Aristophanes’ play was not a direct political attack on Socrates, and did not aim to persecute him for whatever he did or did not believe in. Although it must have had roots in truth in order to appeal to the audience, the Clouds was a comedy meant to parody…

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