The fascination of Plato's dialogues rests not only on the range of arguments and opinions expressed by the participants, but also on the richness of his literary style. He captures the imagination and stimulates the curiosity of his readers through his expert use of techniques devised by the rhetoricians and even the poets of his time; Plato, the critic of art and poetry, shows himself a consummate artist. This book is not a study of Plato's philosophy, but a contribution to the literary interpretation of the dialogues, through analysis of their formal structure, characterization, language and imagery. The dialogues considered in these interrelated essays include the "Gorgias", the "Symposium", the "Republic" and the "Phaedrus". Special attention is paid to the personality of Socrates, Plato's remarkable mentor, and to his interaction with other characters in the dialogues. The book includes discussion of particular problems such as the sources for our knowledge of Socrates, the origins of the dialogue form, Plato's use of myth and the "totalitarianism" of the "Republic".