Aristophanes (Ἀριστοφάνης, ca. 446 – ca. 386 BC) was a prolific and much acclaimed comic playwright of ancient Athens. Of his 40 plays, 11, including The Clouds, have come down to us virtually complete. These, as well as fragments of some of his other plays, provide us with the only real example we have of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy and they are in fact used to define the genre. Also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. His powers of ridicule were feared and acknowledged by influential contemporaries, Plato among them.
At the time of the Peloponnesian Wars, Aristophanes had written a play entitled The Clouds, which satirized Sokrates. Sokrates took the play in stride, denying to a fellow hoplite that he had been on the comic stage during a performance but acknowledging that the actor's mask so resembled him that he stood up in the audience to show people.