One of the main accusers against Socrates was the satirist Aristophanes who accused him of sophistry and of corrupting the youth of Athens. In his play Clouds, Aristophanes portrays Socrates of being a sophist lacking any respect for the laws and Gods. The play then shows his students mimicking his acts. In Plato’s Apology, an account of Socrates’ trial, the Clouds is used by his accusers as an accurate portrayal of his character. However, Aristophanes is a well-known satirist and it seems plausible to believe that his character in the Clouds is a comic exaggeration. Further, although Aristophanes claims that Socrates charges money for his teachings both Xenophon and Plato markedly point out that Socrates never claimed he knew anything and correlatively taught anything. He considered himself more akin to a midwife, assisting others to give birth to theories of their own.

It is widely accepted that Plato presents the most accurate picture of Socrates through his Dialogues. However, as Plato uses Socrates in almost all his works it becomes hard for one to separate Socrates’ ideas and theories from that of Plato. As Socrates is considered to never have developed a coherent theory, the more structured aspects of the dialogues are attributed to Plato whereas the rest are associated with Socrates. However, this is debatable and attempts to separate Plato from Socrates have preoccupied philosophers for centuries, and are far from being resolved.