Sunday, June 14, 2020


Normal and Abnormal

K.J. Dover, ed., Aristophanes, Clouds (1968; rpt. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), p. liii:
He drew one basic distinction, between the normal man and the abnormal man. The normal man works and fights, and takes as much as he can of song, dance, food, drink, sex, sleep, and good company. The abnormal man is essentially parasitic on the normal; he does no real work, he undermines the loyalties on which the city's continued existence depends,2 and he casts a shadow over the ordinary pleasures of life by the unspoken implication that there may be other, secret pleasures accessible to him alone.

2 The extent to which the survival of the city-state depended on the physical toughness of its adult male citizens must never be forgotten. It helps to explain not only the attitude of characters in comedy but Plato's whole approach to the construction of an ideal state.

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