Can you compare the portrayals of Socrates in Plato's Apology and Aristophanes' Clouds?  

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Plato's "Apology" and Aristophanes' The Clouds do certainly present two deeply contrasting and opposing portrayals of Socrates. It is worth remembering that when Socrates was put on trial, it was on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth. "Apology" was largely a response against those charges and a defense of Socrates's character and teaching. Aristophanes' depiction of Socrates paints a very different picture. In Aristophanes, Socrates is first and foremost a sophist.

The sophists were rhetorical teachers of Classical Greece. Theirs was a quite popular profession in Athens (which should not be surprising, given the nature of Athenian democracy), but they tend to be understood as intellectual mercenaries of a sort, who encouraged the use of rhetorical tricks and flourishes solely for the purpose of winning, rather than for upholding any moral or intellectual integrity. Plato often depicts Socrates in opposition to the Sophists. For Plato, Socrates utilizes his rhetorical and...

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