The Spartan Drama of Plato's Laws

ebook Political Theory for Today

By Eli Friedland

cover image of The Spartan Drama of Plato's Laws

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Friedland presents the Laws, Plato's longest dialogue, as a drama that must be interpreted with close and sustained attention to each of its three characters. He argues that Megillos, seen by most commentators as the most obtuse character in the dialogue, is in fact a man of few words but of surprising capacity for reflection. This capacity, and the crisis to which it brings him, is key to understanding the Laws' exploration of human nature, permanently drawn both to what is beyond and beneath it. The political project outlined in the dialogue, with its almost programmatic focus on the mundane, is a genuinely philosophical opportunity to consider the relationship between competing demands for human beings - between divine and animal nature, and also including the always tense but necessary antagonisms and affinities between politics and human sexuality.
The Spartan Drama of Plato's Laws