Socrates is on trial for his life. He is charged with impiety and corrupting young people. He presents his own defense, explaining why he has devoted his life to challenging the most powerful and important people in the Greek world. The reason is that rich and famous politicians, priests, poets, and a host of others pretend to know what is good, true, holy, and beautiful, but when Socrates questions them they are shown to be foolish rather than wise.
Plato lived in Athens, Greece. He wrote approximately two-dozen dialogues that explore core topics that are essential to all human beings. Although the historical Socrates was a strong influence on Plato, the character by that name that appears in many of his dialogues is a product of Plato’s fertile imagination. All of Plato’s dialogues are written in a poetic form that his student Aristotle called “Socratic dialogue.” In the twentieth century, the British philosopher and logician Alfred North Whitehead characterized the entire European philosophical tradition as “a series of footnotes to Plato.” Philosophy for Plato was not a set of doctrines but a goal — not the possession of wisdom but the love of wisdom. Agora Publications offers these performances based on the assumption that Plato wrote these works to be performed by actors in order to stimulate additional dialogue among those who listen to them.