The Clouds

The Clouds
Main Ideas
Main Characters
Debt-ridden Athenian farmer Strepsiades needs help, and a school called the Thinkery offers a solution: learn to argue his way out of debt. Before he can change his life, Strepsiades has to pass Socrates's bizarre initiation tests and please the school's goddesses—the Clouds.
New Education
Pious Greeks struggle to replace religion with science and rhetoric.
Winning with Language
Philosophers train to win any debate by using the unjust argument.
Worshipping weather
Heavenly goddesses watch over poets, prophets, swindlers, and lazy men.
Strepsiades
Pious simpleminded athenian farmer with financial troubles; joins the Thinkery.
Socrates
Eccentric, selfish philosopher and respected head of Thinkery, worships the clouds.
Pheidippides
Athletic, horse-racing youth, Thinkery scholar, and strepsiades's son. beats his father.
Chorus
Thereal, changeable women; transform in shape and control the weather,
Symbols
Clouds
Money
Insects
Stand for flexible, shape-shifting, sneaky persuasion techniques.
Represents need, greed, desire and manipulation
Symbolize insignificant details sophists use to win arguments.
Author
ARISTOPHANES c. 450-388 BCE
Aristophanes was one of the best known Greek comedic playwrights. His plays combine boisterous, lewd humor, parody, and choral poetry with sharp social satire. He frequently ridiculed Athenian political figures, as in The Clouds, which mocks Socrates and the Sophists—philosophers trendy in ancient Athens.
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