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In Aristophanes Clouds character plays a significant part in the comedy. Strepsiades is a country bumpkin who has a very practical concern to avoid paying his debts. Strepsiades has the brilliant idea to use Socrates to accomplish this but is far to simple to actually manage it. Pheidippides is originally the wild free-spending youth, a typical archetype in comedy. He is the original cause of Strepsiades' debt and his initial hope to be the one to wield Socrates' methods. Eventually Pheidippides relents and learns the Inferior Argument from Socrates. From this point his character changes into the youthful sophisticate. He uses clever tricks and plays on words to get his father out of his debt but this same cleverness has led Pheidippides to lose all respect for anyone else including Strepsiades. This leads to Strepsiades, a simple and at heart conservative farmer, to wish he had never let the sophistication of Socrates into his life. So in a simple man's typical solution, he burns Socrates' Pondertorium down.

here Socrates is pictured in his entrance as he tries to study the heavens

Socrates here is another common comic character: the foolish wise man. He shows a vast knowledge of generally useless things and a deep irreverence for any other ideologies. This is hilarious precisely for the academic intolerance and the thoroughly unsupported assertions that any person with a modicum of education can identify as ludicrous. In many ways this reinforces Pheidippides' new character by showing how weak the veneer of the sophisticate is.

Socrates is not displayed with any of the rounded features of his actual life. Instead he is an incredibly flat blocking figure representing everything wrong in Athenian education. Strepsiades starts as a very flat debtor looking to use cleverness to escape his debts but becomes more rounded as he learns the price of Socrates' teachings late in the play and decides to burn the Pondertorium.

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