The Socratic Narrative: A Democratic Reading of Plato’s Dialogues
Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Plato wrote dialogues. While there has been attention to the dramatic elements of Plato’s dialogues by a number of scholars, there has been much less attention to the narrative style of the dialogues. I argue that we should consider whether the dialogues are recited or presented like dramatic works with each character speaking his own words—or as a mixture of these narrative forms. By employing this interpretive tool to read the Republic, I illustrate how paying attention to the narrative style enables us to see a democratic Socrates who undermines readings of the Republic famously offered by Karl Popper and Leo Strauss. Plato appears then as neither a defender of the “closed society” nor an advocate of the elite rule of the wise over the many.
Published online before print August 26, 2009, doi: 10.1177/0090591709345461
Political Theory December 2009 vol. 37 no. 6 728-753