Grewal, Gwenda-lin. 2022. “Poetic (Mis)quotations in Plato: An Introduction.” In “Poetic (Mis)quotations in Plato,” ed. Gwenda-lin Grewal. Special issue, Classics@ 22. http://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HLNC.ESSAY:102302546.
Yet these questions already presume the presence of an “original” to which the “changed” text could be compared. And if the original is changeable by nature, what would it even mean to “quote” it?  I put quotes around “quote” at the suggestion of Gregory Nagy’s contribution to this volume. To be sure, Plato does not only cite Homeric and Hesiodic poetry; he cites other poets, too, such as Pindar and Aeschylus, and in those cases, the words “quote” and “misquote” might hold more water.  For at first glance, quoting only seems to be possible of and in writing. Writing gives the impression that speech is stable—something seen, able to be rewritten and reread at leisure. Speech that is heard, on the other hand, depends for its life on voiced repetition, which inevitably changes the tone of what was said, whether the words are exactly the same or not.  The orality of ancient Greek song culture does not insist on, in fact in some sense does not concern itself with, the accuracy of the reproduction. A song is composed at the same moment it is sung. And in being sung differently each time, it is at the same time being heard differently. What makes one singer better than another is a dexterity of spontaneous composition within a given scheme. The song’s “truth” thus consists in its becoming “unforgettable.”  Here is Milman Parry on the process:
It does not seem possible, then, to misquote—or even to quote—a tale that recomposes itself as its mode of transmission. A “multiform”  mode can admit riffs but not quotations.