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Cancelling Socrates

Cancelling Socrates

By Howard Brenton
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781839040894, 88 pages, June 2022


Today, Socrates is revered as the founding father of Western philosophy. But in 399 BC Athens, he was a pain in the neck.

The plague is over, democracy is (just about) restored, and everyone would like to get back to normal. How hard is it for one ageing firebrand to stop asking questions? It's time to shut him up...

Based on eyewitness accounts, Howard Brenton's Cancelling Socrates is a provocative and witty play about an uncompromising voice in dangerous times. 


"A fascinating chamber play, an inspired combination of ancient and modern, high-flown rhetoric and gutter speech."

- The Times

"A rich play of ideas... Brenton's script combines the ancient and modern so well that everyday profanities sit next to talk of slaves (ever so subtly ironised) and big philosophical ideas to create sparky, bathetic moments... [there are] clear, clever parallels to today... arresting and fiercely intelligent."

- Guardian

"A sly, smartly written new play that explores the limits of free speech and moral absolutism."

- The Stage

"A cerebrally comedic look at the cryptic personality of Socrates and his ironic, deftly challenging approach to the law and life itself... a gripping and surprisingly funny play."

- Broadway World