The Clouds essay - 1 Taylor Brean 32.153 1 The Clouds...

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Taylor Brean 32 .153 February 28 , 2008 1 . The Clouds contains some truly biting satire at the expense of the sophists and their teachings . What specific charges does Aristophanes lay against the sophists? What harm does he believe they are causing in Athens? What alternatives does he support and/or suggest to their views and methods? Aristophanes’ The Clouds is a critical satire of the Athenian sophistic movement and its impact on ethics and education as illustrated by a man and his son , Strepsiades and Pheidippides . Sophists are described as men who possess an arcane knowledge and had untraditional views . These men were typically aiming for power and had systematic technical , intellectual and social skills. Although The Clouds finished last in the Athenian festival in 423 BC , today it is seen as one of the best and most influential plays. This can be credited to the fact that fifth-century Athens was a democracy ; a new, radical idea in which “all decisions affecting the governance and welfare of the state were made by the direct and unappealable vote of the demos” (Aristophanes, The Clouds, 2) . These “demos” were simply sovereign males that were at least eighteen years of age . Aristophanes , like many other comic poets, used his plays to reach out to the demos and persuade them to change their mind about issues that had been decided but might be changed . As the introduction of The Clouds explains , “The point of the play is to satirize 1
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and to expose the fraudulence of sophistic teaching by showing its ruinous effect on traditional values as they are exemplified by one family” (10) . It is evident that Aristophanes thought the current state of Athens was in turmoil and he attempted to save it by criticizing the sophists and exploiting their amoral lifestyle . Throughout The Clouds , Aristophanes “portrays the sophists and their pupils in the most unfavorable light” (11) . When Aristophanes describes the students that attend the Thinkery , he explains them as the complete opposite of how true men of that time
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course WESTERN CI 32.153 taught by Professor Halfond during the Spring '08 term at Mass Colleges.

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The Clouds essay - 1 Taylor Brean 32.153 1 The Clouds...

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