A Comparison of the Clouds and the Greeks

Subject: Art
Type: Compare and Contrast Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 587
Topics: Art Comparison, Ancient Greece, Book, Community, Plays

The Clouds

‘The Clouds’ is a theatrical play written by Aristophanes during in ancient Greece. The play depicts the story of Strepsiades a father who suffers from insomnia brought about by unendingly worrying over his massive debts. Strepsiades is the father of Pheidippides who the play depicts as a child who loves spending his father’s limited resources on his expensive ambitions for horse racing. This spend-thrift behaviour on her passion has resulted in him incurring massive debts on his father’s account. As such, his enraged father wakes him up one night and pleads with him to enroll in a nearby school where he will be able to learn the art of sophistry (The Clouds, 2016). In so doing, he will thus be able to help his father win a court case filed by his creditors. Pheidippides stubbornly refuses his father’s offer prompting his father to enroll him forcefully. Here, he is able to learn about sophistry and proceeds to help his father cheat his way out of debt. However, Strepsiades uncouth means of victory later come to haunt him when his son uses his knowledge on sophistry to beat up his father when Strepsiades fails to properly recite an ancient poem. As such, the scene ends with a remorseful Strepsiades wishing he hadn’t traded his son’s passion for expensive horses for the immense knowledge he now possesses on sophistry (The Clouds, 2016).

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A comparison between The Clouds and The Greeks 

The book ‘The Greeks’ by Robin Sowerby is a classic introduction to the culture of ancient Greece. In the book, Sowerby discusses a host of wide ranging topics including ancient Greek literature, drama, philosophy and art in a bid to reveal the social and historical cultures embraced by the people of ancient Greece. For instance, in Chapter four, Sowerby focuses his arguments on literature where he discusses the elements of Aristophanic comedy embraced during the Aristophanes era. In his view, key elements of Aristophanic comedy encompass a persistent form of indecent behaviour exhibited by characters in various plays (Sowerby, 2014). This is largely true in the play ‘The Clouds’ when Pheidippides decides to beat up his father on the pretext that Strepsiades had failed to properly recite traditional poetry.

On the bright side however, Sowerby praises Aristophanic comedy for their huge incorporation of Chorus. This is due to the fact that Chorus helps spice up on-stage play as characters shift from one scene to the next. This is largely true in the play ‘The Clouds’. This is due to the fact the play has embraced chorus to help shift between scenes. For instance, when Strepsiades beats up his second creditor for begging him to pay up the accumulated interest in his debt, a Chorus sings a song warning him that his evil will inevitably come back to haunt him (The Clouds, 2016). This prediction is later revealed in the next scene when Pheidippides beats up his father for failing to properly recite the traditional poetry (The Clouds, 2016). Lastly, Sowerby in his book also instigates that ancient Aristophanic plays often portray their characters as people with a great desire to succeed through intense competition. This is evident in the play when Strepsiades expresses his determination to succeed in his court case by enrolling his son in school to enable him master the art of winning through sophistry (The Clouds, 2016). As such, when the day scheduled for hearing ensues, Strepsiades exudes confident of winning the case filed against his creditors despite the numerous debts he owes them.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Sowerby, R. (2014). The Greeks: an introduction to their culture. Routledge.
  2. The Clouds. (2016, March 2). Bergen Community College Presents the Bergen Stages Production of the Clouds by Aristophanes.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76lkcYbjdFk
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