“Socrates. We know the name, but do we know the man?
He is considered to be the father of democracy and a pivotal character of Western civilization, but it may equally be that he was largely an invention by Plato.
Practically everything we credit to Socrates comes to us via Plato.
Greek literature usually featured a dialogue (a question and answer session), which is known to have been a literary device to aide comprehension. Plato often wrote dialogues which cast Socrates in the role of the wise man.
Did these dialogues reflect actual conversations with Socrates, or did Plato merely use Socrates as a literary device to communicate his own thinking? If so, then Socrates is one of the biggest myths of the Greek world – and we should give even more reverence to the genius of Plato.”
– Philip Coppens, edited from the opening thoughts in his fascinating evaluation of Socrates among the ancient Greeks