Soul, death and immortality
Plato’s dialogues are great theatrical performances. These representations put into the scene something that none of the Greek tragedians or comedians dared to treat before Plato: philosophy. Each dialogue is therefore a play that deals with a topic, or many topics of philosophy, which makes Plato responsible for “philosophy” first meaning and connotation. The Phaedo was, of course, interpreted in many different ways. In the Phaedo, we do find a set of ideas opposed to a pure and simple empiricism; we do find the theory of the immortality of the soul; we do find logical and argumentative inconsistencies. However, in order to make sense of all that, we must stop seeing Phaedo as treatise on philosophy. Thus, Phaedo must be read as a theatrical work that brings into play a unique situation – the last day of Socrates’ life – with unique characters discussing philosophy, or, in other words, what is philosophy for them. And they argue – and this is really what Plato puts into play – with all the complexity of feelings that they sometimes experience: pleasure and pain, tears, smiles and laughter, groans and commotion. In this last day, in Socrates’ cell, a synthesis of all these men’s lives is shown.
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