Classical Quarterly 43 (1):112-130 (1993)

Plato targets the encomiastic genre in three separate dialogues: the Lysis, the Menexenus and the Symposium. Many studies have been devoted to Plato's handling of the funeral oration in the Menexenus. Plato's critique of the encomium in the Lysis and Symposium, however, has not been accorded the same kind of treatment. Yet both of these dialogues go beyond the Menexenus in exploring the opposition between encomiastic and philosophic discourse. In the Lysis, I will argue, Plato sets up encomiastic rhetoric as a foil for Socrates' dialectical method; philosophic discourse is both defined and legitimated by way of its opposition to eulogy. In the Symposium, Plato offers a much more complex critique. First, he illustrates and comments on the vices that inhere in the encomiastic genre. Second, he juxtaposes Socrates' ironic ‘praises’ of his interlocutors with traditional encomiastic discourse, thus inviting the reader to explore the relation between Socratic irony and the rhetoric of eulogy. And, third, the Symposium exhibits two untraditional ‘encomia’ – Socrates' eulogy for Eros and Alcibiades' for Socrates – that illustrate and interrogate the false ontology underlying the rhetoric of praise.
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References found in this work BETA

Socratic Irony.Gregory Vlastos - 1987 - Classical Quarterly 37 (01):79-96.
The Classification of Greek Lyric Poetry.A. E. Harvey - 1955 - Classical Quarterly 5 (3-4):157-.
The Erotics of Philosophical Discourse.David L. Roochnik - 1987 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 4 (2):117 - 129.

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