In Phaedo, Plato employs a complex frame to his narration of the events. Rather than simply tell the tale of Socrates’ last hours, he sets it as a posthumous conversation between Phaedo and Echecrates in a remote township, while also explicitly points out that he, the author, was absent from Socrates’ death due to illness. The main purpose of this framing device is to make clear that this is not a factual retelling of the events of Socrates' death. Plato has chosen this context to set forth his own theories about the immortality of the soul. He wants to ensure that the dialogue is not read as a narration of events but as a philosophical work, and so makes it clear that this is only his own version of an event at which he was not present.

Setting the conversation between Phaedo and Echecrates serves both to reinforce Plato's desire that it should be read as philosophy, and to emphasize its importance. Phaedo and Echecrates are both philosophers themselves, so the discussion is clearly intended for a philosophical audience. Also, the fact that this story is being retold in a remote Peloponnesian town suggests the widespread importance of the subject matter being considered.

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