Classical Quarterly 65 (2):534-551 (2015)

Christopher Moore
Pennsylvania State University
This article argues that Aristophanes'Cloudstreats Socrates as distinctly interested in promoting self-knowledge of the sort related to self-improvement. Section I shows that Aristophanes links the precept γνῶθι σαυτόν with Socrates. Section II outlines the meaning of that precept for Socrates. Section III describes Socrates' conversational method in theCloudsas aimed at therapeutic self-revelation. Section IV identifies the patron Cloud deities of Socrates' school as also concerned to bring people to a therapeutic self-understanding, albeit in a different register from that of Socrates. Section V discusses a sequence of jokes connected to ‘stripping’ that give a concrete image to the search for self-knowledge. Both the action of the Clouds and the tales of cloak-stripping provide models for understanding self-knowledge in a Socratic key. Section VI argues that Socrates' other interest in thephrontistērion, myth-rationalization, is consistent with the promotion of self-knowledge. Section VII supports the claim that Plato'sPhaedrusalludes constantly to theClouds, and because thePhaedruspays careful attention to self-knowledge, Plato must think that theCloudsdoes too. It notes in particular that we can explain the Platonic Socrates' famous self-knowledge-related curiosity about his similarity to Typhon as Plato's allusion to Aristophanes, an allusion made apt by Aristophanes' coordination of Socrates with self-knowledge. Section VIII concludes the paper.
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DOI 10.1017/s0009838815000257
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References found in this work BETA

Review Article: Socrates Among the Mythographers.Christopher Moore - 2013 - Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought 30 (1):106-118.
Parodie d'une initiation dans les Nuées d'Aristophane.Simon Byl - 1980 - Revue Belge de Philologie Et D’Histoire 58 (1):5-21.
Pindar's Charioteer in Plato's Phaedrus.Christopher Moore - 2014 - Classical Quarterly 64 (2):525-532.

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