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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 extant 'comedy of ideas' but also a brilliant and successful example of that genre. The play gained notoriety for its caricature of Socrates ever since its mention in Plato's Apology as a factor contributing to the philosopher's trial and execution.

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