The Clouds

Just vs. Unjust Speech: Comparing The Clouds and The Republic College

Socrates, a famous ancient Greek philosopher, is depicted as ridiculous in The Clouds by Aristophanes yet as thoughtful in The Republic by Plato. In the former, he runs a Thinkery that educates students, and when Pheidippides enrolls, Just and Unjust Speech bicker about how to best teach him. In the latter, a young man named Thrasymachus debates Socrates. Both are arguments about justice versus injustice; however, in The Clouds, Unjust Speech, who advocates for injustice, wins, while in The Republic, Socrates, who advocates for justice, comes out on top. Key similarities between the two arguments are rhetoric and conviction; the winning sides employ similar techniques, while the losing sides both fail to demonstrate strong conviction in their points.

Through argument by anecdote, the winning sides in both conflicts refute each point their opponent makes. In The Clouds, Unjust Speech employs argument by anecdote to prove his points. He argues that Heracles, the man that Just Speech claims “no man to be better than” (Clouds 1050), is associated with natural hot springs and thus cold baths, which Just Speech claims “are most evil and make a man cowardly” (Clouds 1046), cannot be truly unjust. Unjust Speech then declares that...

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