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Socrates And Aristophanes's Real Life

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Sometimes the questions that philosophers ask upset many people. After Socrates explains to others why he is wiser than they are, Socrates knows that he is “hateful both to him and to many others. After this, then, I kept going to one after another, all the while perceiving with pain and fear that I was becoming hated” (Plato, 21e). Socrates knew that the questions he was asking were angering others, but philosophers must try to obtain knowledge at all costs. In Socrates’ real life, the Athenians get fed up with him and put him on trial, but in Aristophanes’ Clouds, Strepsiades gets so angry at Socrates for turning his son against him, he lights the thinkery on fire, yelling, “Someone bring me a torch! I too will make one of them pay the penalty…show more content…
In The Clouds, Strepsiades greets his son after being taught the weaker speech by Socrates by saying, “Now you have, first, a negating a contradicting look, and the local color is simply blooming on you: the ‘what do you mean?’ and the reputation for suffering injustice when (I know!) you are doing injustice and working evil” (Aristophanes, 1170-1175). Aristophanes sees the unjust things that philosophers do. They challenge the conventional beliefs of society, not always to a greater end. Reason can support immoral action just as well as it can moral action, and that inconsistency is demonstrated by Aristophanes in the scene where Pheidippides is beating his father and threatens to beat his mother (Aristophanes, 1320-1451). Aristophanes is showing us that the discord and immorality associated with philosophy does nothing but cause problems for the citizens. Therefore, philosophers should be considered dangerous people to a society that values stability such as…show more content…
Obviously, Socrates believes that he does nothing but improve life for Athens. He goes so far as to suggest for his punishment, after being found guilty of the charges, “to be given his meals in the Prytaneum, much more so than if any of you has won a victory at Olympia with a horse or a two- or four-horse chariot. For he makes you happy, while I make you be so” (Plato, 36d-36e). He sees himself as a champion for Athens. He believed that Athens’ system of government was flawed and that they needed a philosopher to point out those flaws. So he took it upon himself to be that philosopher to challenge the government of Athens, betting his own life against the laws which he did not believe were just. Aristophanes holds a polar opposite view of the situation. In The Clouds, the just speech speaks out against the unjust speech which Socrates teaches Pheidippides. The just speech warns Pheidippides that “he will persuade you to believe everything shameful is noble and the noble is shameful” (Aristophanes, 1020-1021). Aristophanes’ claim is that the challenges Socrates makes against the law are not good for the city or society as a whole. Though he might agree that some of the laws of Athens are not just, Aristophanes sees them as necessary to keeping the peace. To him, the philosopher is the one who stirs up rebellion or fights against order. The
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