Socrates in Drag: Images of Helen of Troy in Plato’s Phaedrus

Abstract

By way of the complex topography of the Phaedrus, Plato raises the question of his authorship and the consequences it has for the reader’s reception of Socrates, by likening Socrates’ changing status in the text to the complex mythological traditions surrounding the rape and abduction of Helen of Troy (amidst a grove of plane trees). As Socrates is likened to the excessive and “duplicitous” Helen and her various “eidolic” apeareances, the question of the dialogue appears to shift from “who is Socrates?” to a more postmodern formulation: which Socrates?

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Ashley Pryor
University of Toledo

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