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Egislation As A Tragedy: On Plato's Laws VII, 817B-D

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Chapter Summary

During a discussion of tragedy and comedy in Book VII of Plato's Laws, the Athenian envisages an emissary of tragic poets who inquire whether they will be admitted into the city for whom he and his two interlocutors are devising legislation. Tragedy is one of two forms of theatrical drama prevalent in Plato's Athens, the other being comedy. It develops into its characteristic form in Athens in the fifth century BCE and continues to have a high public profile and great prestige in the fourth century. The constellation of views we have just examined in Statesman and Laws imply that the Magnesian politeia is an imitation of the best politeia, and that its legislators are attempting to imitate the legislative activity of the expert statesman.

Keywords: laws; legislation; Plato



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