Aristophanes – Clouds

By Socrates

Clouds! That play caused me a lot of trouble. I didn’t realize it at the time, but people started thinking differently about me after seeing that play. In those days, playwrights liked to make plays about real people. And for comedic effect, people were portrayed in their caricature form. So although it was me in the play, it was not the real me.

It was certainly funny. I laughed out loud at the silly lines. But I clearly would never say the things my character said. So, I decided to stand up so that people could see the real me. I just stood there for most of the play… motionless, allowing people to compare the character on stage with the real person (Navia 2007, Chapter 2). As it turned out, I think people preferred to remember the character rather than the real me. The reputation of that character stuck in people’s minds and undoubtedly influenced their vote during my trial.

I am reading the play again. It still makes me laugh. Aristophanes came third place for his play. There were only three entries in the competition. I wonder if the people portrayed in the other plays were also executed.

Here’s the play:
Aristophanes – Clouds

— Socrates

References
Vlastos, Gregory (1991). Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Cambridge University Press
Navia, Luis E. (2007). Socrates: A Life Examined. Prometheus Books

Filed under Articles, Socrates' Meditations