Greek theaters seated thousands of people at a time. Source: Flickr
There were no videos or newspapers in the ancient world, and so the way they shared information was to listen to traveling storytellers, called Rhapsodes, and to go to the theater. Tragic and comic theatre were part of Athenian religious ritual, and so plays were written for the many festivals held each year. Prizes were awarded to the best plays. Among the comic plays, Aristophanes’ were voted among the best, if not the best.
Our reading this week provides many excerpts from his play “The Clouds”. It is a very funny play, and in it, Socrates is shown to be the nutty professor who hangs from the ceiling in a basket thinking great thoughts. However, as the chapter explains, it is a play with a message and that message is a strong criticism of the Sophists (Socrates included in that) and Aristophanes’ view of what they were doing to Athenian society.
Everyone both in Athens and surrounding city-states went to theaters to see this play and others. It was a way to help citizens come to grips with what was happening to their city and to their culture. In The Clouds, Aristophanes illustrates the damage relativism was doing and had done to the great civilization they had once been part of–now slipping away.
For this assignment, give a summary of the plot of the play. Then give a summary of all of the important points Aristophanes makes. Let the author of the text help you with this. (You can paraphrase the author of the text, but make sure you give a citation for any and all paraphrasing.)
Finally, listen to any late-night talk show–to the opening monologue. Give an example of what is said. Compare what you hear with the kind of remarks made by Aristophanes. Give examples. Do you think then that humor is an effective way to bring hypocrisy and foolishness to light and to ridicule those who do it such that we know not to take such people seriously? Can we win back our culture that way?
- Must be a minimum of 2 pages with standard 1-inch margins in Times New Roman or Garamond font.
- Must be double-spaced.
- Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
- Must include in-text citations and references in MLA style. No outside sources.
- Name, course, and assignment top left.
- Include a Title.
- Have some fun with this.
- No need to restate the questions. Just begin with a thesis statement and your own work.
- Note your originality report.
- Use information from the chapter and remember to use proper MLA citation.
- DO NOT PLAGIARIZE