The Clouds, Aristophanes
The Clouds
Aristophanes
1:44 h Novels Lvl 8.58
The Clouds is a Greek comedy play written by the playwright Aristophanes. A lampooning of intellectual fashions in classical Athens, it was originally produced at the City Dionysia in 423 BC and was not as well received as the author had hoped, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year. It was revised between 420 and 417 BC and was thereafter circulated in manuscript form. This book is a version translated by William James Hickie in 1853. Retrospectively, The Clouds can be considered the world's first extant "comedy of ideas" and is considered by literary critics to be among the finest examples of the genre. The play also, however, remains notorious for its caricature of Socrates and is mentioned in Plato's Apology as a contributor to the philosopher's trial and execution.

The Clouds

by
Aristophanes

Translated by William James Hickie


Dramatis Personae

Strepsiades
Phidippides
Servant of Strepsiades
Disciples of Socrates
Socrates
Chorus of Clouds
Just Cause
Unjust Cause
Pasias
Amynias
Witness
Chaerephon

Scene: The Interior of a Sleeping-Apartment:

Strepsiades, Phidippides, and two servants are in their beds; a small house is seen at a distance. Time: midnight.

Strepsiades (sitting up in his bed).
Ah me! Ah me! O King Jupiter, of what a terrible length the nights are! Will it never be day? And yet long since I heard the cock. My domestics are snoring; but they would not have done so heretofore! May you perish then, O war! For many reasons; because I may not even punish my domestics. Neither does this excellent youth awake through the night; but takes his ease, wrapped up in five blankets. Well, if it is the fashion, let us snore wrapped up.

[Lies down, and then almost immediately starts up again.]

But I am not able, miserable man, to sleep, being tormented by my expenses, and my stud of horses, and my debts, through this son of mine. He with his long hair, is riding horses and driving curricles, and dreaming of horses; while I am driven to distraction, as I see the moon bringing on the twentieths; for the interest is running on. Boy! Light a lamp, and bring forth my tablets, that I may take them and read to how many I am indebted, and calculate the interest.

[Enter boy with a light and tablets.]

Come, let me see; what do I owe? Twelve minae to Pasias. Why twelve minae to Pasias? Why did I borrow them? When I bought the blood-horse. Ah me, unhappy! Would that it had had its eye knocked out with a stone first!

Phidippides (talking in his sleep).
You are acting unfairly, Philo! Drive on your own course.

Strep.
This is the bane that has destroyed me; for even in his sleep he dreams about horsemanship.

Phid.
How many courses will the war-chariots run?

Strep.
Many courses do you drive me, your father. But what debt came upon me after Pasias? Three minae to Amynias for a little chariot and pair of wheels.

Phid.
Lead the horse home, after having given him a good rolling.

Strep.
O foolish youth, you have rolled me out of my possessions; since I have been cast in suits, and others say that they will have surety given them for the interest.

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