As the actors who took part in this comedy dressed and acted as nearly as possible like Alcibiades and Socrates, you can imagine that the play, which was very comical and clever, made the Athenians roar with laughter.

Everybody talked about it, repeated the best jokes, and went again and again to see and laugh over it. We are told that Socrates went there himself one day; and, when asked why he had come, he quietly said, “I came to find out whether, among all the faults of which I am accused, there may not be some that I can correct.”

You see, the philosopher knew that it was never too late to mend, and fully intended to be as perfect as possible. He knew, of course, that he could not straighten his crooked nose or make his face goodlooking, but he hoped to find some way of improving his character.

“The Clouds” amused the Athenians for about twenty years; and when Alcibiades turned traitor, and caused the ruin of his country, the people still went to see it. In their anger against Alcibiades, they began to think that perhaps Aristophanes was right, and that the youth they had once loved so dearly would never have turned out so badly had he not been influenced for evil.

As the teacher in the play was blamed for all the wrongdoing of his pupil, so Socrates was now accused by the Athenians of ruining Alcibiades. Little by little the philosopher’s enemies became so bold that they finally made up their minds to get rid of him. As he was quite innocent, and as there was no other excuse for dragging him before the Tribunal, they finally charged him with giving bad advice to young men, and speaking ill of the gods.

From: H. A. Guerber, The Story of the Greeks; edited for this online publication, by ELLOPOS BLOG