Saturday, August 14, 2010

Classics Interlude: Aristophanes!


I've never read any of Aristophanes' plays, not even one, not even when I was taking college courses in Classics. So I decided to fix that and read The Clouds, Aristophanes' satire of Socrates--and the rhetorical schools that Socrates did not actually belong to. This play shows Socrates as a loud atheist, denouncing Zeus and all other gods, and it was apparently influential in getting Socrates put on trial for atheism and corrupting the youth, which of course led to his execution.
The story involves a father whose son's extravagant spending is ruining his fortunes. He decides to send his son to the Thinkery (the Phrontisterion) so he can learn to talk his way out of the debt collectors' clutches. The son refuses, so Dad goes himself and meets Socrates and the other philosophers. He is too stupid, however, to learn and gets thrown out; his son then goes in. But the son learns his craft too well...


I also read Lysistrata, one of Aristophanes' most famous plays. Lysistrata is an intelligent woman who decides to rally all the Pelopennesian women to stop the idiotic war their husbands are embroiled in. They simply refuse to sleep with their husbands, and within a few days everyone (both women and men, but the women hold out) is so unhappy that they decide to end the war.


2 comments:

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Kudos to you! Don't know if I could do this.

Jennifer
5minutesforbooks.com

Jean said...

Well, we'll see how it goes. :)