Essay Clouds vs. The Apology

1649 Words May 18th, 2014 7 Pages
Clouds vs. The Apology

In Aristophanes' Clouds and in Plato's Apology we see extensive fictional representations of the historical figure, Socrates, who left us no literary works under his own name. When comparing these two representations, readers often assume, as a result of the nature of the comedic genre, that Aristophanes' portrayal of Socrates is exaggerated and fallacious. On the other hand, Plato's account is often taken more seriously as a result of the philosophical genre and the respected reputation Plato has as wildly influential thinker in Western culture. Nevertheless, there are more congruencies between the two representations than one would initially think. I'll discuss some similarities between the two works that
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This argument is called the “worse argument,” and the play focuses on this speech tactic. In the play, Strepsiades decides that his son can learn the “worse argument” and use it to free Strepsiades of his debts: “So if you could learn this Worse Argument for me, then all these debts I owe on our account I wouldn’t have to pay, not even a penny!” (Aristophanes I. 116-118). Aristophanes is suggesting, in a comical way, that Socrates would support such immorality, and that he would be willing to teach the “worse argument” solely for this purpose.
Socrates spends much of his time thinking of ridiculous theories and playing with words. Most of the topics he mentions are absurd and do not show the sophistication that Socrates claims to strive for. Also, Socrates seems very sure of his arguments despite the fact that he has no real evidence to prove them: “Clouds fill up with lots of water, then they’re forced to move about, sagging suddenly with rain, then getting heavier perforce, collide with one another, breaking up and making crashing sounds” (Aristophanes IV. 375-380). Whenever Strepsiades is confused or disagrees with the words of Socrates, he is quickly attacked and ridiculed. Socrates is portrayed as an arrogant, “all-knowing,” and rude old man who is turning the younger generation into a bunch of corrupt, selfish, and egotistical men who have no…

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