This paper explores the biography of Protagoras of Abdera as well as tragic irony as a poetic device in Plato's dialogues. I discuss ancient sources (Diogenes Laertius, Timo of Phlius, Plato) as well as modern interpretations related to the life - and especially the death - of Protagoras. Contrary to common consensus, I argue that the sophist's fleeing from Athens to escape conviction, and his accidental death at sea, are historical facts. Far from contradicting later accounts, Plato's references to Protagoras' long-lasting good reputation further support the evidence, e.g. when Protagoras, as a Platonic character, parades his unfailing success. Protagoras' ill-founded and slightly ridiculous over-confidence should be construed as an instance of irony on Plato's part: comparative material makes it clear that Plato is in fact maliciously hinting at the sophist's impending fate. In so doing, Plato proves to master the well-established technique of tragic irony, which he brilliantly adapts to the new genre of Socratic dialogue.

Platone e la storia : la fine di Protagora e lo statuto letterario dei dialoghi socratici / A. Capra. - In: ACME. - ISSN 0001-494X. - 53:2(2000), pp. 19-37.

Platone e la storia : la fine di Protagora e lo statuto letterario dei dialoghi socratici

A. Capra
2000

Abstract

This paper explores the biography of Protagoras of Abdera as well as tragic irony as a poetic device in Plato's dialogues. I discuss ancient sources (Diogenes Laertius, Timo of Phlius, Plato) as well as modern interpretations related to the life - and especially the death - of Protagoras. Contrary to common consensus, I argue that the sophist's fleeing from Athens to escape conviction, and his accidental death at sea, are historical facts. Far from contradicting later accounts, Plato's references to Protagoras' long-lasting good reputation further support the evidence, e.g. when Protagoras, as a Platonic character, parades his unfailing success. Protagoras' ill-founded and slightly ridiculous over-confidence should be construed as an instance of irony on Plato's part: comparative material makes it clear that Plato is in fact maliciously hinting at the sophist's impending fate. In so doing, Plato proves to master the well-established technique of tragic irony, which he brilliantly adapts to the new genre of Socratic dialogue.
Protagora; censura; biografia; Platone; dialoghi
Settore L-FIL-LET/02 - Lingua e Letteratura Greca
Settore M-FIL/07 - Storia della Filosofia Antica
ACME
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/41100
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