Strepsiades (strehp-SI-eh-dees), an old, plodding, and stolid citizen of Athens who is hounded by creditors and burdened with debts incurred partly through the excesses of his horse-loving son, Phidippides. Resolving to cure his financial troubles, he sends his son to study the new science, taught by Socrates in the Thoughtery, a plan Strepsiades believes will guarantee the confutation of his creditors and the preservation of his fortune. His son, however, refuses to be tutored. Strepsiades resolves to attend the Thoughtery himself, but he proves himself a bumbling pupil, exhausting the patience of Socrates. Strepsiades then convinces his son to sit under Socrates. Socrates calls up the Just and Unjust Discourses to instruct Phidippides. In a violent dialogue, the Unjust Discourse wins and converts Phidippides to a modern position. After returning home, Phidippides demonstrates that he has been an apt pupil of the Sophists. He beats his father unmercifully, justifying himself by his new learning. Outraged at Socrates and his disciples, Strepsiades, with the help of a servant, burns down the Thoughtery.
Phidippides (fihd-DIHP-eh-dees), the son of Strepsiades, converted from his lethargic, spendthrift ways by the Sophists into a man who discovers the joys of defying established laws. By subtle reasoning, he justifies beating his father...
(The entire section is 520 words.)