How is the Better Logos defeated by the Worse Logos within Aristophanes' Clouds?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The Better Logos is defeated by the Worse Logos within Aristophanes' Clouds in a debate in the form of a stichomythia, a battle of words that is formed with the use of short responsive dialogue in which the opponents often split metrical units, with one contestant saying the first half of a verse line and the second saying the second half but expressing an opposing viewpoint. Within this genre, the second speaker is favoured because the winning technique is to take the prior speaker's words and twist them in such a way as to discredit them; the Worse Logos describes this technique as follows:

{Worse:} I'll twist your words around and everything you say I'll contradict.

I'll claim that Justice doesn't even exist.

The final point on which the Better Logos loses is that of reputation. He argues that people who follow the just path will be well-respected; the Worse Logos answers that in fact often people who use underhanded arguments and act unethically do get ahead in practical life and points to successful members of the audience who are unjust.


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