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The Clouds

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University of Toronto St. George
Victoria Wohl

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, theyre 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 ofces 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! The Clouds A send-up of sophistic moral relativism and their obsession with rhetoric (think Thrasymachus). 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
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