Aristophanes and Cleon

1. What was Aristophanes' main reason for attacking Cleon?

  • He wanted to avenge Cleon for attempting to prosecute him and blackmail the Athenians
  • He believed that Cleon had slept with his wife
  • He believed Cleon was attempting to make peace with Sparta
  • He was being paid by Pericles to publicly humiliate Cleon to steer voters away from him
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2. Who was Cleon?

  • Aristophanes estranged brother
  • A prominent politician
  • Athens' most skilled naval commander
  • A pro-war army general

3. Why was Cleon unsuccessful in prosecuting Aristophanes?

  • Aristophanes had the most expensive lawyer in Athens at the time
  • Playwrights could not be prosecuted for what anything said in a play
  • Playwrights were paid to attack and undermine politicians like Cleon
  • The Assembly did not like Cleon for blackmailing the Athenian citizens

4. Why are Aristophanes' attacks on Cleon entertaining in his plays?

  • The audience knew Cleon was dying
  • The audience could see Cleon's family in the theatre
  • The audience knew Cleon was sitting in the front seat of the theatre
  • The audience knew Aristophanes would soon be arrested

5. What reputation did Cleon have?

  • Funny, confident and intelligent.
  • Quiet, shy and timid in the Assembly.
  • Loud, obnoxious and easily offended.
  • A coward in battle but brave at sea.


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