Persons of the Dialogue : SOCRATES ; ION.
The Ion is the shortest, or nearly the shortest, of all the writings which bear the name of Plato, and is not authenticated by any early external testimony. The grace and beauty of this little work supply the only, and perhaps a sufficient, proof of its genuineness. The plan is simple; the dramatic interest consists entirely in the contrast between the irony of Socrates and the transparent vanity and childlike enthusiasm of the rhapsode Ion. The theme of the Dialogue may possibly have been suggested by the passage of Xenophon’s Memorabilia (iv. 2, 10) in which the rhapsodists are described by Euthydemus as ‘very precise about the exact words of Homer, but very idiotic themselves.’ (Cp. Aristotle, Met. xiii. chap. 6. § 7.)