The clouds by aristophanes

Table of Contents Plot Overview Strepsiades, the father of spend-thrift Pheidippides, cannot sleep because he is worried about the debts that he has incurred because of Pheidippides's expensive passion for racehorses.

The clouds by aristophanes

In fact, his plays are the main source of information about him and his life. It was conventional in Old Comedy for the Chorus to speak on behalf of the author during an address called the ' parabasis ' and thus some biographical facts can be found there.

However, these facts relate almost entirely to his career as a dramatist and the plays contain few clear and unambiguous clues about his personal beliefs or his private life. Such caricatures seem to imply that Aristophanes was an old-fashioned conservative, yet that view of him leads to contradictions.

An elaborate series of lotteries, designed to prevent prejudice and corruption, reduced the voting judges at the City Dionysia to just five. These judges probably reflected the mood of the audiences [21] yet there is much uncertainty about the composition of those audiences. The day's program at the City Dionysia for example was crowded, with three tragedies and a ' satyr ' play ahead of a comedy, but it is possible that many of the poorer citizens typically the main supporters of demagogues like Cleon occupied the festival holiday with other pursuits.

The conservative views expressed in the plays might therefore reflect the attitudes of the dominant group in an unrepresentative audience. The production process might also have influenced the views expressed in the plays.

Throughout most of Aristophanes' career, the Chorus was essential to a play's success and it was recruited and funded by a choregusa wealthy citizen appointed to the task by one of the archons.

The Internet Classics Archive | The Clouds by Aristophanes

A choregus could regard his personal expenditure on the Chorus as a civic duty and a public honour, but Aristophanes showed in The Knights that wealthy citizens might regard civic responsibilities as punishment imposed on them by demagogues and populists like Cleon. His plays often express pride in the achievement of the older generation the victors at Marathon [25] [26] yet they are not jingoistic, and they are staunchly opposed to the war with Sparta.

The plays are particularly scathing in criticism of war profiteers, among whom populists such as Cleon figure prominently. By the time his last play was produced around BC Athens had been defeated in war, its empire had been dismantled and it had undergone a transformation from being the political to the intellectual centre of Greece.

However it is uncertain whether he led or merely responded to changes in audience expectations. He won first prize there with his next play, The Babylonians also now lost.

Life and career

It was usual for foreign dignitaries to attend the City Dionysia, and The Babylonians caused some embarrassment for the Athenian authorities since it depicted the cities of the Delian League as slaves grinding at a mill.

The details of the trial are unrecorded but, speaking through the hero of his third play The Acharnians staged at the Lenaiawhere there were few or no foreign dignitariesthe poet carefully distinguishes between the polis and the real targets of his acerbic wit: Aristophanes repeatedly savages Cleon in his later plays.

But these satirical diatribes appear to have had no effect on Cleon's political career—a few weeks after the performance of The Knights—a play full of anti-Cleon jokes—Cleon was elected to the prestigious board of ten generals.

In the absence of clear biographical facts about Aristophanes, scholars make educated guesses based on interpretation of the language in the plays.

The clouds by aristophanes

Inscriptions and summaries or comments by Hellenistic and Byzantine scholars can also provide useful clues. We know however from a combination of these sources, [32] and especially from comments in The Knights [33] and The Clouds, [34] that Aristophanes' first three plays were not directed by him—they were instead directed by Callistratus and Philoneides, [35] an arrangement that seemed to suit Aristophanes since he appears to have used these same directors in many later plays as well Philoneides for example later directed The Frogs and he was also credited, perhaps wrongly, with directing The Wasps.

Thus for example a statement by the chorus in The Acharnians [37] seems to indicate that the 'poet' had a close, personal association with the island of Aeginayet the terms 'poet' poietes and 'director' didaskalos are often interchangeable as dramatic poets usually directed their own plays and therefore the reference in the play could be either to Aristophanes or Callistratus.

Similarly, the hero in The Acharnians complains about Cleon "dragging me into court" over "last year's play" [38] but here again it is not clear if this was said in reference to Aristophanes or Callistratus, either of whom might have been prosecuted by Cleon. Frogs in fact won the unique distinction of a repeat performance at a subsequent festival.

We know that a son of Aristophanes, Araros, was also a comic poet and he could have been heavily involved in the production of his father's play Wealth II in One of the guests, Alcibiadeseven quotes from the play when teasing Socrates over his appearance [54] and yet there is no indication of any ill-feeling between Socrates and Aristophanes.

Plato's Aristophanes is in fact a genial character and this has been interpreted as evidence of Plato's own friendship with him [55] their friendship appears to be corroborated by an epitaph for Aristophanes, reputedly written by Plato, in which the playwright's soul is compared to an eternal shrine for the Graces.

For example, conversation among the guests turns to the subject of Love and Aristophanes explains his notion of it in terms of an amusing allegory, a device he often uses in his plays.

He is represented as suffering an attack of hiccoughs and this might be a humorous reference to the crude physical jokes in his plays. He tells the other guests that he is quite happy to be thought amusing but he is wary of appearing ridiculous.

The orator Quintilian believed that the charm and grandeur of the Attic dialect made Old Comedy an example for orators to study and follow, and he considered it inferior in these respects only to the works of Homer.

For Aristophanes' contemporaries the works of Homer and Hesiod formed the cornerstones of Hellenic history and culture. Thus poetry had a moral and social significance that made it an inevitable topic of comic satire. These include not only rival comic dramatists such as Eupolis and Hermippus [67] and predecessors such as MagnesCrates and Cratinus[68] but also tragedians, notably AeschylusSophocles and Euripidesall three of whom are mentioned in e.

Aristophanes was the equal of these great tragedians in his subtle use of lyrics.


Aristophanes achieves an effect resembling natural speech through the use of the iambic trimeter corresponding to the effects achieved by English poets such as Shakespeare using iambic pentameters.

His realistic use of the meter [72] [73] makes it ideal for both dialogue and soliloquy, as for instance in the prologue, before the arrival of the Chorus, when the audience is introduced to the main issues in the plot.

The Acharnians opens with these three lines by the hero, Dikaiopolis rendered here in English as iambic pentameters: How many are the things that vex my heart! The use of invented compound words is another comic device frequently found in the plays.

These are long lines of anapeststrochees or iambs where each line is ideally measured in four dipodes or pairs of feetused in various situations within each play such as: Anapestic rhythms are naturally jaunty as in many limericks and trochaic meter is suited to rapid delivery the word 'trochee' is in fact derived from trechein, 'to run', as demonstrated for example by choruses who enter at speed, often in aggressive mood [78] However, even though both these rhythms can seem to 'bowl along' [72] Aristophanes often varies them through use of complex syntax and substituted meters, adapting the rhythms to the requirements of serious argument.

In an anapestic passage in The Frogs, for instance, the character Aeschylus presents a view of poetry that is supposed to be serious but which leads to a comic interruption by the god, Dionysus:Socrates enlightens Strepsiades, proving to him that the gods do not exist and that the weather patterns are produced by a Chorus of Clouds.

Socrates fleeces Strepsiades of his coat and hustles him inside. The Clouds [Aristophanes] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The satire in this, one of the best known of all Aristophanes' comedies, is directed against the new schools of philosophy/5(24).

Oh! most mighty king, the boundless air, that keepest the earth suspended in space, thou bright Aether and ye venerable goddesses, the Clouds, who carry in your loins the thunder and the lightning, arise, ye sovereign powers and manifest yourselves in the celestial spheres to the eyes of your sage.

(The Clouds of Aristophanes, produced in , is the best-known example.) Although Socrates himself wrote nothing, he is depicted in conversation in compositions by a small circle of his admirers—Plato and Xenophon first among them.

He is portrayed in these works as a man of great insight, integrity,. (The Clouds of Aristophanes, produced in , is the best-known example.) Although Socrates himself wrote nothing, he is depicted in conversation in compositions by a small circle of his admirers—Plato and Xenophon first among them.

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The Clouds - Aristophanes - Ancient Greece - Classical Literature