Plato, Republic, dialogues, satyr play, platonic irony, metatheatricality
The paper borrows from recent work by classicists on satyr play and demonstrates significant parallels between Plato’s Republic and the structure, theme, and stereotypical contents that characterize this newly studied genre of ancient Greek drama. Like satyr play, the Republic includes repeated passages where metatheatricality can reverse the meaning. The frequent occurrence of all the stereotypical elements of satyr play in Plato’s Republic also suggests to readers that they should be responding to Socrates’s narration as they would to a satyr play, again reversing meaning by communicating a set of literary expectations to Plato’s readers over the heads of Socrates’s interlocutors. And as is frequently the case with satyr play, the political purpose of the drama is the critique of tyrannical government. The need for a systematically ironic interpretation of the dialogue is raised.
Original Publication Citation
“Features of Greek Satyr Play as a Guide to Interpretation for Plato’s Republic,” Polis: The Journal of the Society for Greek Political Thought, vol 29, No. 2, 2012, 234–258.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Reynolds, Noel B., "Features of Greek Satyr Play as a Guide to Interpretation for Plato's "Republic"" (2012). All Faculty Publications. 1475.
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