In Athens, the dream of Setanus existed with a relatively high degree of tolerance and
difference. The Athenians, despite all their rhetoric, had an extreme interest and an
acceptance of the other.
We have autothony and social homogenaiety... on the one hand, metics are treated
poorly, but on the other, they!re recognized as important.
In the ideal world, as Xenophon describes it, the man and woman work together to
strengthen the oikos.
The nature of democracy itself; kleon says all ofﬁces should be paid for, pseudo-
xenophon says democracy is terrible, and all these different people live side by side.
Fundamental political difference is entailed by democracy.
So, how did Athenians embrace difference?
-Drama. Drama allows Athenians to “play the other.” They often villify the other and
denegrate it in order to build up the self (Medea, Lysistrata). Also, though, we use the
other to expand the idea of what it means to be self; there are not only negative
lessons to be learned from the other!
A send-up of sophistic moral relativism and their obsession with rhetoric (think
Part of what made Socrates so challenging to Athenians was the way he went against
the norms and values of his society; this is precisely what Clouds does. It is not clear in
Clouds that Aristophanes meant to criticize Socrates.
158 - 159: The Clouds speak on behalf of Aristophanes, reproaching the demos
(audience) for not giving him ﬁrst prize in his last play, and explains to the audience why
he deserves ﬁrst prize. He emphasizes novelty, how he avoids old/tired jokes. The poet
claims that he is not just giving the audience the pastry of good comedy, but the
medicine of good advice.
Strepsiades and Son: what do they represent? Traditional education vs. sophistic
education, law/old virtues vs. rhetoric, duty vs. pleasure.
Strepsiades: means “the twister,” exhorts virtue and talks his way out of his debts.
Twists language, etc.
The son!s tastes are too rich for the father!s income. The clash is between the old
middle class and the nouveau riche (the son). Strepsiades wants to get out of his debt,
meanwhile, goes to the “think-pot,” which is kind of like saying “think-o-rama.”
-He goes because he wants a better way of life to learn “bad reason, which can plead
the wrong and make it the right.”
-The ﬁrst time Strepsiades sees the students, all he sees is a wall of asses facing him,
as the students are upside down, facing things in the earth.
-We see education through the eyes of an average Athenian; education can help him
avoid his obligations, but he doesn!t see the point of it for its own sake. The map was
this great, new geographical invention