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Socrates represents a turning point in the history of Greek thought. He achieved radical changes in the way of thinking and obtaining knowledge without writing even one word. But through his discussions with his students and contemporary artists and philosophers, he exposed the intellectual vices and failings that dominated Athenian life in the last 30 years of the 5th century B.C., a time that witnessed the disintegration of Athenian Democracy, especially after the Peloponnesian wars which ended with the defeat of Athens. A Belle in the Prison of Socrates presents the character of the renowned Greek philosopher as historically known from the original Greek sources, i.e., The Clouds of Aristophanes, The Dialogues of Plato and the writings of Xenophon. While attempting to capture the historical image of Socrates, the play provides a subtle criticism of our contemporary life as characters and events shed light on the fragility of Democratic practices nowadays. Readers are persistently lured to hold a comparison between Democracy as it originated in ancient Athens and its modern variations and deviations. The play, therefore, addressees not only the classicist but the common reader as well, both in the Arab world and everywhere. A Belle in the Prison of Socrates is a culmination of years of research in Greek history about Athenian intellectual and political life. It blends knowledge and pleasure in a highly entertaining dramatic composition.
About the Author
Ahmed Etman is Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University; Chairman of the Egyptian Society of Graeco-Roman Studies (ESGRS); Chairman of the Egyptian Society of Comparative Literature (ESCL). He has written a number of plays including: Cleopatra Worships Peace (1984, English tr. 2001, Italian 1992, Greek 1999, French 1999); The Blind Guest Restores his Sight (French tr. 2005); Al-Hakim Does Not Join the Hypocritic Procession (1988, Spanish tr. 2006); The Goats of Oxyrynchus (2001, English and French tr. Forthcoming); The Wedding of Libraries Nymph (2001, Italian tr. 2007, French tr. Forthcoming)