52 in 52 Week 47: The Clouds by Aristophanes

I thought this was on my list, but it was not, but it was pretty painless to read. This play is referenced to in Plato's Apology as contributing to the trial and execution of Socrates. Since I read Apology recently, it was valuable to read this play. 

This play involves a father who is enraged by his son's spendthrift ways. He begs him to enroll in a school to learn about esoteric science and sophistry in order to outwit his creditors in court. 

What is sophistry?

soph•ist•ry \ˈsä-fə-strē\ noun
(14th century)
1 : subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation
2 : sophism 1


soph•ism \ˈsä-ˌfi-zəm\ noun
(15th century)
1 : an argument apparently correct in form but actually invalid; especially : such an argument used to deceive

 Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. (10th ed.). 

Here is a summary from Wikipedia: 
Faced with legal action for non-payment of debts, Strepsiades, an elderly Athenian, enrolls his son in the "thinkeria" (the "Phrontisterion") so that he might learn the rhetorical skills necessary to defeat their creditors in court. The son thereby learns cynical disrespect for social mores and contempt for authority and he subsequently beats his father up during a domestic argument, in return for which Strepsiades sets The Thinkery on fire. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clouds
This is about the battle between old and new ideas. Socrates is portrayed unfavorably in this play as a thief, fraud, and sophist, and there is strong support that it did contribute to his demise!









Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Snapfish versus Shutterfly

1. The Game with Minutes by Frank C. Laubach

8. Prayer: The Mightiest Force in the World by Frank C. Laubach