By Michael C. Niu
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Conclusions and consequences This reading of the Clouds parabasis creates a new starting point for a study of the plays which arguably relies on categories of intention formulated by the poet himself. These involve (1) intellectual orientation (against Socrates and towards the ‘sophists’); (2) poetic rivalry (which is essentially political); (3) political stance (on the side of one radical democrat, Hyperbolus, against another, Cleon, and opposed to the conservatism of such groups as the Knights); (4) the use of disguised caricature.
The chorus’ dance at 321f. is possibly a kordax (cf. Clouds 540). The following features also connect it with other comedy. It has a parabasis which deals directly with the contrast between Aristophanes’ own comedy and that of his rivals (729–74). The figure called Trygaeus has a name the root of which is not only pertinent to his claimed expertise as a vine-grower (190), but also to comedy (cf. the use of the trug- root at Ach. 499–500). Clouds The text we have is a revision of the play which came third at Dionysia 423.
Fr. 89), but also those of their rivals (Cratin. fr. 213, Eup. fr. 89, Plato fr. 86). Even though we lack almost any clue about the nature and content of almost all the plays against which Aristophanes competed, nonetheless, it is a premiss which we can work with, precisely because it locates quite specific material from which we can begin to test it. It does, of course, have repercussions for our understanding of other plays besides Clouds. It predicts, for example, that the Thracian scene in Acharnians, with its use of the circumcised phallus (158f ), will be a parody of something in Eupolis.