Essay about The Clouds Analysis

612 Words May 5th, 2013 3 Pages
Anthony Sarno
Professor Tritle
April 16, 2013

Analysis of The Clouds
By: Aristophanes

Anthony Sarno
Professor Tritle
April 16, 2013
The Clouds
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
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The “new” learning style simply clouds the minds of its students and often times show them how to disarm claims in very complex ways. Perhaps this sounds very familiar to the current judicial system in the United States where the “just” cause isn’t always the “winning” cause in the eyes of the law, but this is an analysis for another day.
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.
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