Emotion in Plato's Trial of Socrates

Dissertation, City University of New York (2022)
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Abstract

My dissertation argues that Plato composed the figure of Socrates as a three- dimensional literary character who experiences and confronts emotions in ways that other studies have overlooked. By adopting a dramatic, non-dogmatic mode of reading the dialogues and emphasizing the literary elements of the texts and their dramatic connections, this dissertation offers a new and compelling portrait of Socrates in the dialogues that relate his finals weeks of life: Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo. This study in turn provides new insights into the genre of Plato’s texts and demonstrates how he exploited the dramatic nature of the prose dialogue to capture social-historical realities surrounding the trial and execution of Socrates. By emphasizing emotional and interpersonal aspects of Plato’s texts, my dissertation shows that Plato’s dialogues are profitably read through a literary lens to recover their complex reconstruction of Socrates’ place and time in history.

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Thomas W. Moody
Hunter College (CUNY)

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