Essay about The Clouds Analysis
April 16, 2013
Analysis of The Clouds
April 16, 2013
Aristophanes’ play, The Clouds, provides an illustration of the “new” style of education in Athens compared to that of the “traditional” style. It is a satirical comedy that pokes fun at the ideas and philosophies the sophists upheld. What is interesting is that the Socrates is portrayed as the leader of this educational movement. His teachings, while similar to the ones referred to in the play, aren’t necessarily in sync with Plato’s accounts of his mentor, Socrates. Considering Aristophanes motivations when writing this play were surely for entertainment purposes, it is safe to …show more content…
It is interesting to see how Aristophanes clearly disliked this new idea of education throughout the story. Plato’s works, such as The Apology, suggest that Socrates is grossly misrepresented in this story. The question now is why? Why would Aristophanes misrepresent Socrates? One feasible response to this question is that Socrates clearly wasn’t the typical Athenian. He rejected many of the ordinary concerns of life and wealth, which was a quite abnormal way of thinking in the city of Athens. As a comedic writer, one’s portrayal of someone who is different than the rest of society in a joking or exaggerated manner is a very common tactic among playwrights. It is safe to assume that Aristophanes simply was taking advantage of the comedic potential that the “unusual” Socrates granted him and this is why I believe his ideas are presented so negatively. The important thing to take away from this play is to understand that Socrates, who is revered as an important figure in the both the ancient and modern world, was under a lot of criticism, as would any other revolutionary over the course of history.