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Dramatic prefiguration in Plato's 'Republic'

Rudebusch, George (2002) Dramatic prefiguration in Plato's 'Republic'. Philosophy and Literature, 26 (1). pp. 75-83. ISSN 1086-329X


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/phl.2002.0017


PLATO IS THE SUPREME STYLIST of European literature. His pre-eminent ranking is more nearly unanimous, and has been so for a longer period of time, than for any other author of our civilization. While his work is as perfectly lucid as any writing can be, at the same time his words shimmer with endless and inexhaustible reflections, casting ever more light upon themselves and his great themes. Plato's art appears artless, yet we are told that even in his eighties, "he did not cease from currying and wreathing his dialogues, and braiding them up in every way" (Dionysius of Hallicarnassis, de Compositione Verborum). I shall try to interpret some of that braidwork in the dramatic prefiguration which I find in the opening pages of the Republic. After defining dramatic prefiguration, I shall discuss three images: (1) the initial meeting between Polemarchus' party and the smaller group of Socrates and Glaucon; (2) the upcoming event of a relay race of torches carried on horseback; (3) the opening image of Socrates descending to the Piraeus. I begin with a review of dramatic apprehension and irony in the framework of the first book of the Republic.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: Copyright © 2002 The Johns Hopkins University Press. All rights reserved.
ID number or DOI: 10.1353/phl.2002.0017
Keywords: Plato; Republic; review; dramatic apprehension; framework
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Arts and Letters > Philosophy
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2015 22:16
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/1790

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