Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Plato. Crito.; Oral interpretation;


Although scholars recognize many of Plato's early dialogues as works of significant dramatic merit, few attempts have been made to either systematically analyze them for performance or to dramatize them in their entirety. A traditional Aristotelian analysis does not facilitate bringing the dialogues to fruition in theatrical performance because of their lack of physical, external action. This study, recognizing the dramatic potential of Plato's Crito, undertakes an analysis of the dialogue for the purpose of performance . Two methodologies are applied: Speech Act and Structuralist Analyses. The study culminates in a dramatic production of the Crito.

According to speech act theory, there is action ( a series of speech acts) inherent in all discourse or dialogue. In this analysis , all illocutionary speech acts in the Crito are identified, classified, and labeled by their appropriate speech act verbs. These findings are explicated in Chapter 3. The speech act methodology provides a device for identifying action in the Crito, and illuminates character motivation, subtext and objectives , and the overall dialogic action of the work. It permits the unique logic of the Crito--its action in the language of the deep structure rather than action in enactment on the surface--to be explored.

The Structuralist Methodology, presented by Richard Hornby in his text Script into Performance: A Structuralist View of Play Production, examines the script specifically for the purpose of performance. First, recurring literal and figurative images and rhetorical devices are identified and clustered into five groups of significant elements: time, life and death, authority, questioning, and Crito's responses to Socrates. Next, these significant elements are analyzed spatially. That is, distilled from the text and removed from their context, their hidden patterns are identified in an attempt to discover how they contribute to the dialogue as a whole. The Crito is then analyzed temporally. Synthesizing the findings of the spatial analysis, the temporal analysis examines the Crito as a space-time complex for production. The significant elements are examined using Eornby's five analytical terms: choice, sequence, progression, duration, and tempo. Finally, a unifying principle for production of the Crito is provided.

The final chapter of the study discusses the production of Plato's Crito, examining acting and characterization, the treatment of the text in performance, technical aspects of the production, and the influence of the speech act and structuralist analyses upon the production of the Crito.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Philosophy and World Religions

First Advisor

Thomas Thompson, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 181 pages)



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