ABSTRACT

Rhetoricians usually consider Plato's Republic as a work dedicated to political philosophy. As such, it is ostensibly antidemocratic and thus antirhetorical. But if we focus on the reason for the political allegory—the investigation of justice in the soul—it is clear that Plato is interested in Burke's question: “What is involved, when we say what people are doing and why they are doing it?” Accordingly, this article employs the terms of Burke's pentad in order to articulate the rhetorical significance of Plato's own drama of psychic motivation. Ultimately, I read the degenerating constitutions of the Republic as a rhetorical typography that not only identifies audience types and how to influence them, but also offers a map of psychic transformation that addresses Socrates's famous challenge to rhetoric in the Phaedrus.

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