Did Shakespeare read Plato? The evidence suggests that Shakespeare not only read Plato, but also consulted him as though he possessed wisdom of the highest sort. With a focus on comparing the Phaedo and Symposium to Timon of Athens, I show that Shakespeare’s genius is at least in part due to his uncanny ability to transform Platonic wisdom into fully realized dramatic action. Previous attempts at interpreting the play have overlooked the extent to which Timon of Athens mirrors Socratic warnings against flattery, sophistry, and uncivil philosophy.


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