46. The Clouds, by Aristophanes (423 BC)

One of my favorite comedies of the ancient world.


Plot : Strepsiades, an elderly farmer being driven bankrupt by his son Pheidippides’ horse racing debts, goes to the Thinkery run by Socrates, to learn how to argue so well that he cannot be sued in the courts. After failing to remember anything he has been taught, he takes the Clouds’ advice and enrols his son instead. But this backfires, as his son, instructed by Wrong Argument, now argues eloquently that he can beat his father black and blue with impunity.

My copy is again the Penguin edition Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds, translated by Alan H. Sommerstein (ISBN 0140442871)

PS The image accompanying this post is from Simon Fraser University’s Philosophers’ Cafe website

My thoughts : Naturally enough, the atmosphere is so completely different from the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles. There are no mighty heroes of legend, no violent deaths or tragic doom filled pronouncements, but pratfalls…

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