Dimitris Karantzas

The Clouds
by Aristophanes


Aristophanes’ masterful comedy was first presented at the Great Dionysia in 423 BC and attacks Socrates’ teachings and the philosophical ideas of the time. The elderly, largely uneducated Athenian Strepsiades, is in debt owing to the extravagant lifestyle of his profligate, pampered son, Pheidippides. Strepsiades tries to convince him to enrol in Socrates’ Phrontisterion (Thinking Place), where he will be taught the difference between right and wrong reason and will learn to defend himself in court against his creditors. When Pheidippides refuses to comply, Strepsiades enrols himself, despite his advanced age. There, impressed by the wealth of ideas he comes across he asks to meet the master himself. Socrates appears and the induction ceremony of the elderly student begins. However, Strepsiades proves to be an inept student. Ultimately, Pheidippides succumbs to his father’s threats and is forced to enrol in the school. Father and son watch as the Superior (Right) and Inferior (Wrong) Reason clash, each arguing they can offer the best education to Pheidippides. The Wrong Reason emerges victorious. Strepsiades later returns to pick up his son, now transformed into a paragon of intellect. Strepsiades makes a feast at his house to celebrate his son’s transformation and even drives away two creditors who show up asking Pheidippides to appear in court. When Pheidippides threatens to beat his father, using the arguments he has been taught, a raging Strepsiades decides to destroy Socrates’ school.

With Greek and English surtitles