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Synopsis

The Clouds is a comedy written by the celebrated playwright Aristophanes lampooning intellectual fashions in classical Athens. It was originally produced at the City Dionysia in 423 BC and it was not well received, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year. It was revised between 420-417 BC and thereafter it was circulated in manuscript form. No copy of the original production survives, and scholarly analysis indicates that the revised version is an incomplete form of Old Comedy. This incompleteness, however, is not obvious in translations and modern performances. The Clouds can be considered not only the world's first 'comedy of ideas' but also a brilliant and example of that genre. The play gained notoriety for its caricature of the philosopher Socrates ever since its mention in Plato's Apology as a factor contributing to the old man's trial and execution.

Aristophanes (circa 446 BC – 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his 40 plays survive virtually complete. These, together with fragments of some of his other plays, provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, and they are used to define the genre. Also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. 

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