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Dialogues of Plato | Study Guide


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Course Hero. "Dialogues of Plato Study Guide." October 13, 2017. Accessed June 9, 2023.


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Years Written

c. 399–360 BCE





At a Glance

Plato wrote at least 30 dialogues. In fact, most of his philosophical output was in dialogue form. These dialogues almost invariably feature Greek philosopher Socrates as the main character with whom one or more interlocutors (dialogue partners) engage in conversation. The format of the conversation is question and answer. Typically, a question arises about the meaning of a particular concept, and the ensuing philosophical discussion centers around attempts to provide a complete answer.

The dialogues take either a dramatic or a narrated frame. Dramatic dialogues present the conversation in a firsthand manner: Socrates and his interlocutor engage in direct philosophical dialogue. Narrated dialogues present an indirect account of a discussion between Socrates and his interlocutor. For example, Phaedo, one of Socrates's students present at Socrates's execution, recounts the discussion and events leading up to and including Socrates's death.

The way Plato presents the dialogues also provides the reader with vivid accounts of Athenian society. Often the dialogues begin with a description of the setting where the discussion takes place—from a religious festival to a gymnasium. In addition, the dialogues feature historical characters. While there is debate among scholars over how accurately Plato portrays Socrates, it is generally agreed that both Socrates and many of his interlocutors were real historical figures. Plato's brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, for example, are featured in Plato's Republic (c. 360 BCE).

About the Title

The Greek philosopher Plato wrote at least 30 dialogues, the form he used for most of his works. This study guide offers a selection of six famous dialogues. Each one presents the philosopher Socrates, Plato's teacher, in a conversation with a dialogue partner about the meaning of a concept.


This study guide and infographic for Plato's Dialogues of Plato offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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