Plato was an ancient Greek philosopher famous for his documentation of the great orator and philosopher Socrates. One of Plato’s most famous works is a dialogue known as the Phaedrus, in which Socrates tells the story of the god Thoth who the Egyptians credited with inventing writing. In The Shallows, Carr uses Plato’s work as a primary source dealing with the dichotomy between oral and written culture. Though Plato was clearly on the side of writing, his life’s work was documenting the orator Socrates. Plato, especially in the Phaedrus, reminds us that ancient cultures were orally-based and highly skeptical of new technologies like writing.
The timeline below shows where the character Plato appears in The Shallows. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.