Did Shakespeare read Plato? The evidence suggests that Shakespeare not only read Plato, but also consulted him as though he possessed wisdom of the highest sort. With a focus on comparing the demands on poetry set out in the Republic with both comic and tragic plays, I show that Shakespeare’s genius is at least in part due to his uncanny ability to transform Platonic wisdom into fully realized dramatic action. While Shakespeare and Plato may not ultimately agree as to the highest art accessible to man, they importantly agree as to the constitutive elements of the soul that make such arguments both possible and useful for reflection on the biggest issues of political philosophy. Shakespeare is the only sort of poet that would be welcomed back into the city in speech.