The Play of Character in Plato's Dialogues

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This book is an interpretation of Plato in general, and several dialogues in particular, from the point of view of dramatic characterization. It thus forms part of the growing movement towards reading Plato "dramatically", as opposed to reading him as if he wrote treatises like most philosophers. At the same time, it is intended to show traditional "analytical" philosophical interpreters the significance of such "literary" features for understanding the philosophical issues at stake. Its overall goal is to bridge the gulf still existing between such interpreters and more "literary" readers.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Blondell has produced a fine study of Plato's use of characterization, one that must be reckoned with--and will be read with pleasure--by all serious students of the dialogues." Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"How are we to understand that Plato, the champion of transcendent and impersonal ideals, is also a brilliant depicter of human individuality? Blondell confronts this paradox in the most comprehensive and insightful treatment available of Plato's representation of human character.... highly recommended for college and university libraries; for upper-level undergraduates and above." Choice

" and insightful...What to some Plato scholars was an exasperating and perplexing doctrine is productively contextualized by Blondell. We can now read Theaetetus with richer understanding than before. What more can one ask of scholarship?...Blondell has given us a narrative of Platonic development that...allows us to read the Platonic corpus in a way that makes sense of its many parts...we have a new perspective on Plato, a deeper appreciation than before of his commingling of literary power and philosophical wisdom." New England Classical Journal

"An impressive piece of scholarship worthy of close and considered attention." Ancient Philosophy

"B. has produced a richly detailed and complex study of an aspect of the dialogues which is often overlooked and her book is a valuable contribution to Platonic scholarship." - Tania Gergel, King's College London

Rather than distinguishing between the literary and philosophical dimensions of the ancient Greek dialogues, as was long the convention, Blondell (classics, U. of Washington) joins a growing movement to accord due weight to both content and form and to address their interrelationship. She finds characterization as the opening, because the form of the dialogue necessarily entails representing individuals and a concern with human character. She makes no mention of plans for a stage production yet. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521793001
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 464
  • Lexile: 1620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruby Blondell is Professor of Classics at the University of Washington and author of two books and many articles on Greek drama and philosophy.
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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Drama and dialogue; 2. The imitation of character; 3. The elenctic Sokrates at work: Hippias Minor; 4. A changing cast of characters: Republic; 5. Reproducing Sokrates: Theaetetus; 6. Putting Sokrates in his place: Sophist and Statesman; Bibliography; General index; Index of passages cited.
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