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The Clouds

Aristophanes

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Suggested Essay Topics

full title · The Clouds, or The School for Sophists

author · Aristophanes

type of work · Drama

genre · Satire; tragi-comedy

language · Attic Greek, translated into English

time and place written · Prior to 427 BCE in Athens, Greece

date of first performance · First performed in 427 BCE. The version we now possess is a later (incomplete) revision.

publisher/producer · Produced by Kallistratos at the festival of the City Dionysia at Athens

narrator · Not applicable (drama)

point of view · Not applicable (drama)

tone · Humorous, but with an undercurrent of seriousness

tense · Not applicable (drama)

setting (time) · Fifth-Century BCE

setting (place) · Athens, Greece

protagonist · Strepsiades

major conflict · Strepsiades's burden of debt, sustained in satisfying the expensive taste of his son Pheidippides for race horses.

rising action · Strepsiades attempts to enroll in Socrates's special school for sophists in order to learn the slippery, dishonest Unjust Argument that will help him best his creditors in court. He learns many weird and wonderful things about atheism, natural sciences, and proper nouns. However, he proves an impossible pupil and enrolls his spend-thrift son Pheidippides instead. Pheidippides masters the slippery rhetoric of the Unjust Argument.

climax · Pheidippides uses the tricky sophistry he learned at Socrates's academy to physically and verbally abuse his father Strepsiades.

falling action · Strepsiades and his slave Xanthias burn down Socrates's school as revenge for the slighted gods and for Strepsiades's own misfortune.

themes · The question of how to reconcile science with religion; the quest to find the proper education; playwriting is educative; the question of how to reconcile education with daily life, or with the outside world

motifs · Old and New; currency; gendered nouns

symbols · The Clouds; insects; the flea-ridden bed

foreshadowing · As Strepsiades commits his son Pheidippides into the tutelage of Unjust Argument, at the very end of Act One, the Chorus of Clouds warns him that "…soon / [He'll] sing a less ecstatic tune" (I.ii.1114), and that his "harvest will the whirlwind be" (I.ii.1114), meaning that nothing but chaos and trouble will come from his decision.

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'Fair is foul,and foul is fair,

by Shehanaz, June 11, 2013

“Man is not the creature of circumstances
Circumstances are the creatures of man.”
Macbeth, throughout the play, is presented as one much above the ordinary beings, and, as such, he fulfils the basic -requirements of being a tragic hero. Shakespeare, introduces him as a brave general, a bold, resolute man of action who through as also referred to “Valor’s minion”, “Bellona’s bridegroom’’, the king’s ‘’valiant cousin’’, a very “eagle’’ among ‘’sparrows’’, a ... Read more

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6 out of 8 people found this helpful

'Fair is foul,and foul is fair,

by Shehanaz, June 11, 2013

“Man is not the creature of circumstances
Circumstances are the creatures of man.”
Macbeth, throughout the play, is presented as one much above the ordinary beings, and, as such, he fulfils the basic -requirements of being a tragic hero. Shakespeare, introduces him as a brave general, a bold, resolute man of action who through as also referred to “Valor’s minion”, “Bellona’s bridegroom’’, the king’s ‘’valiant cousin’’, a very “eagle’’ among ‘’sparrows’’, a ... Read more

0 Comments

2 out of 2 people found this helpful

Hover through the fog and filthy air.'

by Shehanaz, June 11, 2013

The forces of evil are always ready to ensnare man, but they have their limitations. They do not, indeed cannot, force man into evil; they can merely tempt man to choose to follow evil ways. Experiencing temptation is not sinful, but deliberately choosing to give in to temptation is an evil.
[“Have I not reason, beldams as you are,
Saucy and over-bold? How did you dare
To trade and traffic with Macbeth
In riddles and affairs of death?”] (HECATE SCENE, Act 3, SCENE 5)

Macbeth deliberately chooses-not once bu

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3 out of 3 people found this helpful

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