Clouds vs. The Apology

1652 words 7 pages
Clouds vs. The Apology

In Aristophanes' Clouds and in Plato's Apology we see extensive fictional representations of the historical figure, Socrates, who left us no literary works under his own name. When comparing these two representations, readers often assume, as a result of the nature of the comedic genre, that Aristophanes' portrayal of Socrates is exaggerated and fallacious. On the other hand, Plato's account is often taken more seriously as a result of the philosophical genre and the respected reputation Plato has as wildly influential thinker in Western culture. Nevertheless, there are more congruencies between the two representations than one would initially think. I'll discuss some similarities between the two works that
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“Worse argument,” however, is represented as much more powerful and damaging to society: “Worse argument: ‘He can have it; whatever his line, I’ll shoot him down with phrases fine, concepts novel and though sublime” (Aristophanes IX 941-943). Although it is a comedy, Aristophanes still gets the point across about Socrates. After viewing such a play, it is difficult not to see Socrates in a different, more negative light. The overall depiction of Socrates in this play is very self-serving, brash, inconsiderate, ignorant, and morally reprehensible. In The Apology, Plato suggests that the real Socrates is a man very different from the man depicted in Clouds. In The Apology, Socrates stands in front of an Athenian jury after he is charged by Meletus with corrupting the young. Socrates may be facing a sentence of death, and he does his best to persuade the jury that he is not guilty of the accusations against him, and that Meletus accuses him for his own selfish purposes. Socrates also mentions that it is very narrow minded and thoughtless to use “clouds” in any serious decisions. Socrates tells us, “Socrates is guilty of wrongdoing in that he busies himself studying things in the sky and below the earth; he makes the worse into the stronger argument, and he teaches these same things to others. You have seen this yourself