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Aristophanes' Critique of the Gods


: March 18, 2011
Author: Wayne Ambler
Download: mp3

Aristophanes' famous comedy Clouds presents a rollicking and raunchy but also profound critique of Socrates, a critique to which Plato had his Socrates respond in the Apology. But while the Clouds takes Socrates to task especially for his apparent atheism, Aristophanes' plays are themselves hardly reflective of conventional piety toward Zeus and his Olympian colleagues; and three of Aristophanes' eleven surviving plays—Peace, Wealth, and especially Birds—feature mortal heroes who find fault with Zeus, challenge his authority, and even prove victorious over him. Dr. Ambler explores Aristophanes' hilariously radical, but yet not atheistic, critique of the gods in these three comedies.

About the Speaker

Dr. Wayne Ambler taught at the University of Dallas (Irving and Rome campuses) for nearly 25 years. He is now a faculty member of the Herbst Program of Humanities for Engineers at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Ambler has a PhD in Political Science from Boston College. He has published articles on Aristotle and translations of works by Xenophon.

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