Just And Unjust Speech In Aristophanes' "Clouds"

578 words - 2 pages

Throughout Aristophanes’ “Clouds” there is a constant battle between old and new. It makes itself apparent in the Just and Unjust speech as well as between father and son. Ultimately, Pheidippides, whom would be considered ‘new’, triumphs over the old Strepsiades, his father. This is analogous to the Just and Unjust speech. In this debate, Just speech represents the old traditions and mores of Greece while the contrasting Unjust speech is considered to be newfangled and cynical towards the old. While the defeat of Just speech by Unjust speech does not render Pheidippides the ability to overcome Strepsiades, it is a parallel that may be compared with many other instances in Mythology and real life.
The dialogue between the Just and Unjust speech was handled very skillfully on the part of the Unjust speech. Although the points that the Just speech made were what many would consider to be true and right, Unjust speech exemplified a mastery of language by using wordplay and turning any suggestion made by its “stronger” opposition against itself. For example Just speech was implying sure infamy for Pheidippides if he followed Unjust speech’s advice. This is refuted when Unjust speech points out that almost all of the famous Athenians are infamous and that “infamy is perfectly compatible with a good reputation (Clouds, 159).” Just speech comprises its reasoning based off of old traditions that have been long dying in Greek culture. The Unjust even went as far as to state that Just was “ancient”. Although these traditions and ideas may be fading, they are not necessarily wrong. However, Unjust speech uses the fact that justice is ceasing to exist to imply that it is of no importance and does not necessitate a role on Greek...

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