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Aristophanes's The Clouds

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Aside from all the prodigious number of Greek tragedies in history, stands a collection of Greek comedies which serve as humorous relief from the powerful overtone of the tragedy. These comedies were meant to ease the severity and seriousness sometimes associated with the Greek society. The ideas portrayed in the comedies, compared to the tragedies, were ridiculously far-fetched; however, although abnormal, these views are certainly worthy of attention. Throughout his comedy, The Clouds, Aristophanes, along with his frequent use of toilet humor, ridicules aspects of Greek culture when he destroys tradition by denouncing the importance of the gods' influence on the actions of mortals, and he unknowingly parallels Greek society with today's. Aristophanes also defiantly misrepresents an icon like Socrates as comical, atheistic, and consumed by ideas of self interest, which is contradictory to the Socrates seen in Plato's Apology or Phaedo.

Aristophanes denounces the importance of the gods' influence on the actions of mortals. In the usual tragedy, the gods play an extremely important role towards the actions of the mortal characters. Through fear of the alternative and examples of the past, Athenians carried out their everyday lives under the guidance of the gods' wishes. Aristophanes challenges the audience, and Greek culture as a whole, by offering a different view on the answers and directions of life, than that of the gods. He denounces the parables and explanations to answers in life that involve the gods. Instead he explains that such things as the aerial whirlwind, and especially the clouds, are the reasoning behind all of natures actions. On the surface these comments were seen as a mockery and very humorous. Underlying this humor is a scary truth, most likely ignored by the congregations witnessing this play. How many times has a character in a tragedy been so willing to contradict the gods? Dominant characters like Creon and Prometheus have blatantly disobeyed the gods. The alternative explanations serve a hidden truth in the hearts of many of the Athenian people. This truth is always again repressed by the end of each play, tragedy or comedy; because their was too great of a fear to upset the higher beings.

Aristophanes, although he wrote in 420 BC, parallels much of Greek society with that of today's. He disrupts the audiences' comfort thro...

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...ety whom should be scorned and laughed at. Also, in the Apology, Socrates and the other great teaching elite, were suspected of accepting money for their skills which could have place him in a category with his portrayal in The Clouds, but he was able to dispel those rumors in his defense.

Throughout his comedy, The Clouds, Aristophanes ridicules aspects of Greek society when he destroys tradition by denouncing the importance of the gods' influence on the actions of mortals, and he unknowingly parallels Greek society with today's. Disguised by laughter, he digs deep into the truth by which citizens of Greek and future cultures will abide. Aristophanes challenges humans' strength in belief systems, fortitude of character, and ability to deal with the complexity of parenting. He also defiantly misrepresents an icon like Socrates as comical, atheistic, and consumed by ideas of self interest, which is contradictory to the Socrates seen in Plato's Apology or Phaedo. However different from each other, each writing contained a role for Socrates, which symbolized the messages trying to be conveyed in each. So even if the name is alike, the ultimate purpose of a good character was met.
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