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The Case for GreatnessHonorable Ambition and Its Critics$
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Robert Faulkner

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300123937

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300123937.001.0001

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The Soul of Grand Ambition: Alcibiades Cross-Examined by Socrates

The Soul of Grand Ambition: Alcibiades Cross-Examined by Socrates

(p.81) Chapter Four The Soul of Grand Ambition: Alcibiades Cross-Examined by Socrates
The Case for Greatness

Robert Faulkner

Yale University Press

This chapter further looks into the psychic makeup of the soul, based on the foundation and study of the character of Alcibiades discussed in the previous chapter. It looks at two dialogues—attributed to Plato—titled Alcibiades which shows Socrates, the master interrogator, twice confronting a masterful man who would rule the world and who had that desire to seek out and employ spectacularly imperial designs. The first Alcibiades dialogue looks at a promising and hopeful youth that has gleaming prospects of political success, whereas the second Alcibiades portrays a more seasoned individual in obscurity, one who is faced with problems and complications of tyranny. Both dialogues, however, share a certain essence of Alcibiades' desires to “fill practically all people with his name and power.” This chapter thus further explores the psyche of Alcidiabes' character and how these may or may not be attributed to other figures of greatness and ambition.

Keywords:   Alcibiades, Socrates, Plato, imperial designs, psychic makeup, psyche of Alcibiades

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