Aristophanes - The Clouds

Some of you could maybe think that ancient Greek literature is just serious and boring. You will maybe change your mind if you get to know this Comedy of the famous playwright Aristophanes who lived from 446 – 386 BC. Just like modern cartoonists, he criticized recent issues and persons in a funny way.

A perfect example is his Comedy „The Clouds” which is mainly a caricature of the famous philosopher Socrates. Sokrates, who is elsewhere portrayed as the perfect man who is always keeping the moral rules he teaches himself, is now shown as a crazy man with dubious theories.

The main characters of the play are Strepsiades and his son Pheidippides whose passion for horseraces made his father bankrupt. In order to outwid his creditors in court, Pheidippides is sent to the Thinkery, the school of Socrates, where he should learn how to win every discussion. In the end, Pheidippides turns into a boring nerd who can at first satisfy his father by winning the arguments in court but then drives him crazy because he beats him up with the reason that he only returns the love and care he has experienced as a child to him. Strepsiades, in his anger, attacks together with his slave the school of Socrates and sets fire to the roof. The chorus of clouds, after which the play is named, appears during the scenes, makes comments and directly addresses the audience.

If you are now interested in this play which has really funny situations, you can find it of course translated in nearly every language. You will be surprised how modern this ancient play will seem to you!  

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