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This article is about the play by Aristophanes. The dramatis personæ in ancient comedy depends on interpretation of the clouds aristophanes pdf evidence. This...

This article is about the play by Aristophanes. The dramatis personæ in ancient comedy depends on interpretation of the clouds aristophanes pdf evidence. This list is based on Alan Sommerstein’s translation.


Greek comedy play written by the celebrated playwright Aristophanes. BC and was not as well received as the author had hoped, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year.

BC and was thereafter circulated in manuscript form. No copy of the original production survives, and scholarly analysis indicates that the revised version is an incomplete form of Old Comedy. This incompleteness, however, is not obvious in translations and modern performances.

Retrospectively, The Clouds can be considered the world’s first extant “comedy of ideas” and is considered by literary critics to be among the finest examples of the genre. The play also, however, remains notorious for its caricature of Socrates and is mentioned in Plato’s Apology as a contributor to the philosopher’s trial and execution. The play begins with Strepsiades suddenly sitting up in bed while his son, Pheidippides, remains blissfully asleep in the bed next to him. Strepsiades, having thought up a plan to get out of debt, wakes the youth gently and pleads with him to do something for him.

Pheidippides at first agrees to do as he’s asked then changes his mind when he learns that his father wants to enroll him in The Thinkery, a school for wastrels and bums that no self-respecting, athletic young man dares to be associated with. Strepsiades explains that students of The Thinkery learn how to turn inferior arguments into winning arguments and this is the only way he can beat their aggrieved creditors in court. Pheidippides however will not be persuaded and Strepsiades decides to enroll himself in The Thinkery in spite of his advanced age.

Impressed, Strepsiades begs to be introduced to the man behind these discoveries. The wish is soon granted: Socrates appears overhead, wafted in a basket at the end of a rope, the better to observe the Sun and other meteorological phenomena. The philosopher descends and quickly begins the induction ceremony for the new elderly student, the highlight of which is a parade of the Clouds, the patron goddesses of thinkers and other layabouts.

The Clouds arrive singing majestically of the regions whence they arose and of the land they have now come to visit, loveliest in all being Greece. Introduced to them as a new devotee, Strepsiades begs them to make him the best orator in Greece by a hundred miles. They reply with the promise of a brilliant future.

Socrates leads him into the dingy Thinkery for his first lesson and The Clouds step forward to address the audience. Putting aside their cloud-like costumes, The Chorus declares that this is the author’s cleverest play and that it cost him the greatest effort. It reproaches the audience for the play’s failure at the festival, where it was beaten by the works of inferior authors, and it praises the author for originality and for his courage in lampooning influential politicians such as Cleon. The Chorus then resumes its appearance as clouds, promising divine favours if the audience punishes Cleon for corruption and rebuking Athenians for messing about with the calendar, since this has put Athens out of step with the moon.

Socrates returns to the stage in a huff, protesting against the ineptitude of his new elderly student. He summons Strepsiades outside and attempts further lessons, including a form of meditative incubation in which the old man lies under a blanket while thoughts are supposed to arise in his mind naturally. The incubation results in Strepsiades masturbating under the blanket and finally Socrates refuses to have anything more to do with him. The Clouds advise him to find someone younger to do the learning for him.

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