Some of the salient points from our discussion. .

Terms to remember

  • parodos
  • parabasis
  • agôn

Who is the "hero"; what is his problem; and how does he try to solve it?

  • Our "hero" Strepsiades is not very heroic; he is plucky and persistent, but all along he only believes he has solved his problem;
  • His various attempts to use the methods taught at the Thinkery to wriggle (unjustly) out of his (just) debts drive the twists and turns of the plot
  • Strepsiades' penultimate solution works too well: Pheidippides has learned the Worse Argument, and uses it to justify beating his father and, to Strepsiades' horror, his mother.


Who or what is made the object of ridicule and in what respect?

  • The students at the Thinkery and, by exaggeration and association, the Sophists. Review the particulars of the intellectual, economic, and physical caricature that Aristophanes draws. Many Athenians probably would not have differentiated between diverse elements of Sophism and between Sophism and other intellectual traditions of the 5th century.
  • Socrates: intellectual pursuits, theology, rejection of traditional religion, arrogance, comic poverty. Is this a memorable caricature? Is it believable? Remember this comic exaggeration; we will discuss it again when we read Plato's Apology.
  • Strepsiades: rustic; dull-witted; trying to get out of paying debts
  • Political leaders in the audience? the whole dêmos?
  • How do Better and Worse Arguments (corresponding to old and new education) fare? The weaknesses of BOTH old and new education are demonstrated, yes?


What current issues does the comedy touch on?

  • relations between the generations
  • the new intellectualism versus traditional religion and traditional education
  • the war
  • "old fashioned" ideas vs. modern ones


What useful advice might an audience take away from this comedy?

  • about Socrates and the Sophists?
  • about families?
  • about traditional religion?
  • about the "unwritten laws" or "laws of the gods" (be sure you know what they are!)
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