It is a disciplinary commonplace to identify Plato as the enemy of rhetoric. While it is also common to suggest a more complex role for Plato and his dialogues in contemporary rhetorical studies, this is often treated as a revision of his traditional role. In this article, I question the historicity of the narrative that Plato is the historical enemy of rhetoric. I investigate the role that Plato played in the rhetorical tradition from Demosthenes to Du Bois and compare it to how he is framed in the contemporary discipline – first, in disciplinary histories and second, in contemporary theory. What I find is a distinct disconnect between his traditional treatment and the contemporary construction of his place in the tradition.

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