Aristophanes’ Clouds - What's the Significance of 3ʳᵈ Place?


After 20 years, I've circled back to reevaluate the Clouds (motivated primarily by a learned hatred of lawyers, and government in general). I think Wikipedia does a fine job of presenting the work indicating:

The Clouds can best be understood in relation to Plato's works, as evidence of a historic rivalry between poetic and philosophical modes of thought.

The work appears to almost literally poo poo Philosophy. link to play

Student: He was up on the roof, looking up with his mouth open, studying the motions and revolutions of the moon. Well, just then, suddenly, right out off the darkness, a lizard runs by and shits on his face!

Strepsiades: Ha! Love it! A lizard, shitting on Socrates’ face! Good one!

Is there a significance to the 3ʳᵈ place reception / grading that the play is said to have received? Is this grading historically accurate, or is it included in the play itself? I suppose the fact that Aristophanes was not sentenced to death indicates something...

Ronnie Royston

Posted 2017-01-31T01:23:05.433

Reputation: 667

Why do you think that there is a "deep meaning" in the comedy's original grade ? – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-01-31T07:30:06.583

"the fact that Aristophanes was not sentenced to death..." Why so ? The comedy is about Socrates, that has been sentenced. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-01-31T07:31:29.817

@MauroALLEGRANZA well, I found that the meaning in Plato's written reflections on Socrates, for example, were often hidden in plain sight. I remember re-reading sentences. Only upon a re-read, or re-re-read would I get the issue. So, I suppose that's where it comes from. I'm suspicious of the face value of any of this old Greek stuff. Even now, living in the modern West, I find myself looking at a 1 oz Gold coin with a face value of $50 and a market value of $1,200. Capiche?

– Ronnie Royston – 2017-01-31T17:22:41.113

Not sure to understand... Agreed that Aristophanes' play is mocking "philosophers" : sophists as well as Socrates, and probably for A (or at least his play) there is no big differences between the two, According to Plato, A's "accusations" of impiety may have helped the accusations against Socrates: maybe. But I think that there is no "political" issue behind the play's grading and I think that there were no accusations against A. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-02-01T08:57:28.837

All this is based on historical sources (more or less reliable) and thus has quite nothing to do with the (undeniable) difficulty of reading Plato's dialogues. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA – 2017-02-01T08:58:51.450

No answers