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"Phædo" to deny that good is a mere exchange of a greater pleasure for a less-the unity of virtue and the identity of virtue and knowledge would have required to be proved by other arguments.

The victory of Socrates over Protagoras is in every way complete when their minds are fairly brought together. Protagoras falls before him after two or three blows. Socrates partly gains his object in the first part, and completely in the second. Nor does he appear at any disadvantage when subjected to "the question" by Protagoras. He succeeds in making his two "friends," Prodicus and Hippias, ludicrous by the way; he also makes a long speech in defence of the poem of Simonides, after the manner of the Sophists, showing, as Alcibiades says, that he is only pretending to have a bad memory.

Not having the whole of this poem before us, it is impossible for us to answer certainly the question of Protagoras, how the two passages of Simonides are to be reconciled. We can only follow the indications given by Plato himself. But it seems likely that the reconcilement offered by Socrates is only a caricature of the methods of interpretation which were practised by the Sophists-for the following reasons: (1) The transparent irony of the previous interpretations given by Socrates. (2) The ludicrous opening of the speech in which the Lacedæmonians are described as the true philosophers, and Laconic brevity as the true form of philosophy, evidently with an allusion to Protagoras's long speeches. (3) The manifest futility and absurdity of the explanation of ἐμῶν ἐπαίνημι ἀλαθέως, which is hardly consistent with the rational interpretation of the rest of the poem. The opposition of eiva and yevéolai seems also intended to express the rival doctrines of Socrates and Protagoras, and is a sort of facetious commentary on their differences. (4) The general treatment in Plato both of the poets and the Sophists, who are their interpreters, and whom he delights to identify with them. (5) The depreciating spirit in which Socrates speaks of the introduction of the poets as a substitute for original conversation, which is intended to contrast with Protagoras's exaltation of the study of them-this again is hardly consistent with the serious defence of Simonides. (6) The marked approval of Hippias, who is supposed at once to catch the familiar sound, just as in the previous conversation Prodicus is represented as ready to accept any distinctions of language


however absurd. At the same time Hippias is desirous of substituting a new interpretation of his own; as if the words might really be made to mean anything, and were only to be regarded as affording a field for the ingenuity of the interpreter.

This curious passage is, therefore, to be regarded as Plato's satire on the tedious and hypercritical arts of interpretation which prevailed in his own day, and may be compared with his condemnation of the same arts when applied to mythology in the "Phædrus," and with his other parodies, e.g. with the second speech in the "Phædrus" and with the "Menexenus." Several lesser touches of satire appear in it, e.g. the claim of philosophy advanced for the Lacedæmonians, which is a parody of the claims advanced for the poets by Protagoras; the mistake of the Laconizing set in supposing that the Lacedæmonians are a great nation because they bruise their ears; the farfetched notion, which is "really too bad," that Simonides uses the Lesbian (?) word èπaívnμ because he is addressing a Lesbian. The whole may also be considered as a satire on those who spin pompous theories out of nothing.

All the interests and contrasts of character in a great dramatic work like the " Protagoras " are not easily exhausted. The impressiveness of the scene should not be lost upon us, or the gradual substitution of Socrates in the second part for Protagoras in the first. There is Alcibiades, who is compelled by the necessity of his nature to be a partisan, lending effectual aid to Socrates; there is Critias assuming the tone of impartiality; Callias there as always inclining to the Sophist, but eager for any intellectual repast; Prodicus, who finds an opportunity for displaying his distinctions of language; Hippias for exhibiting his vanity and superficial knowledge of natural philosophy. Both of these have been previously a good deal damaged by the mock sublime description of them in the introduction. It may be remarked that Protagoras is consistently presented to us throughout as the teacher of moral and political virtue; there is no allusion to the theories of sensation which are attributed to him elsewhere, or to his denial of the existence of the gods; he is the religious rather than the irreligious teacher in this dialogue. Also it may be observed that Socrates shows him as much respect as is consistent with his own ironical character.

Thus after many preparations and oppositions, both of the characters of men and aspects of the truth, especially of the

popular and philosophical aspect; and after many interruptions and detentions by the way, which, as Theodorus says in the "Theætetus," are quite as agreeable as the argument, we arrive at the great Socratic thesis that virtue is knowledge. This is an aspect of the truth which was lost almost as soon as it was found, and yet has to be recovered by everyone for himself who would pass the limits of proverbial and popular philosophy. It is not to be regarded only as a passing stage in the history of the human mind, but as an anticipation of the reconcilement of the moral and intellectual elements of human nature.

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THERE do you come from, Socrates? And yet I need hardly ask the question, as I know that you have been in chase of the fair Alcibiades. I saw him the day before yesterday; and he had got a beard like a man-and he is a man, as I may tell you in your ear. But I thought that he was still very charming.

Socrates. What of his beard? Are you not of Homer's opinion, who says that*

"Youth is most charming when the beard first appears"?

And that is now the charm of Alcibiades.

Com. Well, and how do matters proceed? Have you been visiting him, and was he gracious to you?

Soc. Yes, I thought that he was very gracious; and especially to-day, for I have just come from him, and he has been helping me in an argument. But shall I tell you a strange thing? Although he was present, I never attended to him, and several times he quite passed out of my mind.

Com. What is the meaning of this? Has anything happened between you and him? For surely you cannot have discovered a fairer love than he is; certainly not in this city of Athens.

Soc. Yes, much fairer.

* Il. xxiv. 348.


Com. What do you mean—a citizen or a foreigner?

Soc. A foreigner.

Com. Of what country?

Soc. Of Abdera.

Com. And is this stranger really, in your opinion, fairer than the son of Cleinias?

Soc. And is not the wiser always the fairer, sweet friend? Com. But have you really met, Socrates, with some wise one?

Soc. Yes; I would say, rather, with the wisest of all living men, if you are willing to accord that title to Protagoras. Com. What! Do you mean to say that Protagoras is in Athens?

Soc. Yes; he has been here two days.

Com. And do you just come from an interview with him? Soc. Yes; and I have heard and said many things. Com. Then, if you have no engagement, suppose that you sit down and tell me what passed, and my attendant shall give up his place to you.

Soc. To be sure; and I shall be grateful to you for listening. Com. Thank you, too, for telling us.

Soc. That is thank you twice over. Listen then:—

Last night, or rather very early this morning, Hippocrates, the son of Apollodorus and the brother of Phason, gave a tremendous thump with his staff at my door; someone opened to him, and he came rushing in and bawled out: Socrates, are you awake or asleep?

I knew his voice, and said: Hippocrates, is that you? and do you bring any news?

Good news, he said; nothing but good.

Very good, I said; but what news? and why have you come here at this unearthly hour?

He drew nearer to me and said: Protagoras is come. Yes, I said; he came two days ago: have you only just heard of his arrival?

Yes, indeed, he said; I heard yesterday evening.

At the same time he felt for the truckle-bed, and sat down at my feet, and then he said: I heard yesterday quite late in the evening, on my return from Ence whither I had gone in pursuit of my runaway slave Satyrus-as I was going to have told you if some other matter had not come in the way; on

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