Philosophy of Human Nature: Aristophanes’ portrait of Socrates

Format Chicago/Turabian
Academic Level: Undergraduate/Bachelor
Volume of 5 pages (1375 words)

Discipline Philosophy
Assignment type : Essay

Aristophanes’ comedy, Clouds (first performed in 423 B.C.), tells the story of how
Strepsiades, driven into debt by his horse-crazed son Phedippides, seeks to learn from Socrates
how to defeat his creditors in court. The play reflects a popular conception of who Socrates was
and what he was about, and is referred to by Socrates in Plato’s Apology as partly responsible for
Meletus’ bringing charges against him. Aristophanes counts among the “old accusers.”
The purpose of this assignment is for the student to present the portrait of Socrates drawn
by Aristophanes in Clouds, show how that portrait is reflected and (perhaps) refuted by the works
of Plato we’re looking at in class, and discuss the validity of the charges of which Socrates was
This is not a research assignment. There are many difficulties involved in determining the
historical facts about the life, trial, and death of Socrates, and they are addressed in the secondary
literature. Rather than jump into this literature, the student should carefully read the play and the
relevant Platonic texts (Euthyphro, Apology, Phaedo) in order to come to a considered judgment
as to who Socrates was, what his concerns were, and why he was put death.
Thus, the pedagogical purpose of this paper is for the student to read a text, understand it, and
integrate it into their understanding of the material covered in class.
The essay is to be written in the THIRD-PERSON. This style forces the student to take a
reflective attitude toward his or her thesis, and fosters objectivity. USE OF THE FIRST-PERSON

You Need a Professional Writer To Work On Your Paper?