Why did Plato Write Dialogues?
A Brief Summary of Plato’s Dialogues
To most of us, Plato is just another philosopher. How many of us have really tried to study Plato’s work and his philosophy? Very few, I must say. Philosophers like Plato, Socrates, Heraclitus and Aristotle etc. are born once in centuries; and the knowledge and teachings they impart to the people of that era are to be written in gold and saved as eternal script.
Background Information on Plato
Born in 427 B.C to a wealthy family of Athens, Plato was expected to be a supporter of aristocracy. When he grew up, he experienced extreme repulsion for the corrupt practices of Athenian politics so, he decided to divert his focus to philosophy. He became a student of Socrates who was a teacher of philosophical approach and contributed a lot towards the area of ‘Know Thyself’.
Beginning of a Greek’s Quest for Knowledge
Plato was close to Socrates and was badly shaken when his mentor was sentenced to death as per the laws of politics. This death ignited Plato’s soul to spend his entire life in the quest of knowledge. So he traveled from place to place and reached at a point when he decided to sum up the marrow of what he has learned, experienced and his personal thoughts in written form.
An In depth Glance into the Dialogues
Interestingly, Plato has presented all his knowledge in the form on written dialogues. Readers wonder why Plato has used dialogues as a tool to communicate with others. Plato opines that learning can best be done in dialogue form because it has an alluring effect on the readers.
Socrates: The Only Interlocutor
When you skim through the dialogues, you will notice one thing clearly that in all of his dialogues, the interlocutor is only Socrates. Now one would question: why Socrates and not any other character? Well, whatever Plato has learned was basically an extended version of Socrates philosophy. For all the years that Socrates lived, he never penned down his noises.
Plato was greatly influenced by Socrates and wanted to let the world study the mind and soul of the humble brainiac therefore, he introduced Socrates as the lead character. Some theories suggest that Plato has expressed his own philosophy in the guise of Socrates; in this way, he has conveyed his true teachings while paying tribute to the great teacher.
Stages of Plato’s Dialogues
There are three stages of Plato’s dialogues. The early dialogues purely focus on Socrates and his philosophy; the middle age dialogues are partially representing the philosophy of Plato in Socrates pretense; and the late dialogues are purely a reflection of Plato’s philosophy and regarded as the most difficult of his works.
Popular Dialogues of Plato
- The Republic
- Laches or Courage
- The Seventh Letter
- Lysis or Friendship