Study Guide to Clouds (423):
With this play we turn back the clock 20 years before the Restoration of Democracy in 403; the original production came 2 years after Acharnians; 12 years before Lysistrata.
One problem with this play, however, is that it was given a significant revision some years later, perhaps around 415. So it is dubious to link the jokes to specific events.
Certainly original is the treatment of Socrates, the mentor of Plato, as the leader of a sophistic school (and it is for that perspective that we read the play now rather than earlier in the course).
Why does Strepsiades want to enroll in Socrates' Thinkery (Pondertorium=Phrontisterion)?
What sort of disciplines are taught at the Thinkery?
What do the chorus of Clouds represent?
Why does Streipsiades fail in his studies?
Why is his son Pheidippides so reluctant to go?
Focus on the Debate, lines 890-1112)...between 'Right' and 'Wrong Argument' = Just Speech and Unjust Speech. (often rendered, Philosophy vs. Sophistry, or the Stronger vs. Inferior Argument). There is some suggestion that these characters were costumed like fighting roosters. Each argues for the advantages of his own theory of education.
What are the main arguments on each side?
Pheidippides completes his course of study and soon proves the worth of a liberal education. How does he reward his father for that tuition?