Have you ever wondered why Plato tells us only what Socrates said in his own defense and says almost nothing about how the prosecution won its case? Given the fact that the jury was as large as it was and that just about every Athenian knew or knew of every other Athenian one would have to believe that the prosecution would have to have had an exceptionally strong case to not only win a conviction, but to also win the death sentence. Surely if there were any weaknesses in the prosecutions case Plato would certainly have brought them to our attention. Instead, he chose silence. In the face of an accusation of biased and bad reporting he still chose silence. Why?
Have you ever wondered why Plato never appears in any of his dialogues? And have you ever wondered what Plato and Socrates might have discussed whenever they were alone together? Again we are tempted to ask why Plato remained silent on this subject as well. Was it modesty on Platos part or had he some other motive for his reticence.
Obviously these four dialogues are hypothetical, but not entirely without some basis in what has become known as the Socratic/Platonic tradition. However, these dialogues are an attempt to see certain aspects of that tradition from a somewhat different point of view. Hopefully it is a point of view that some may find rather enlightening, and if not enlightening it is hoped that at least they may find it modestly entertaining.
This, of course, raises another question. Were Platos dialogues really intended to be Menippean Dialogues? There are those who think they were. It seems there was an unknown comic playwright named Plato about whom we know nothing except that he wrote comedies none of which have survived. Could he have been our Plato? Are there not those who consider Plato the equal of Aristophanes as a comic playwright? Were there really two Platos, one a philosopher and one a comic author, or was there only one Plato who wrote both philosophy and comedies, or only comedies? Who was that mysterious other Plato?
Sunnyvale, CA 1998 e. j. p.