Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Plato
Pages of phaedrus

Previous | Next


Phaedr. That would be ridiculous.

Soc. There is something more ridiculous coming:-Suppose, further,

that in sober earnest I, having persuaded you of this, went and

composed a speech in honour of an ass, whom I entitled a horse

beginning: "A noble animal and a most useful possession, especially in

war, and you may get on his back and fight, and he will carry

baggage or anything."

Phaedr. How ridiculous!

Soc. Ridiculous! Yes; but is not even a ridiculous friend better

than a cunning enemy?

Phaedr. Certainly.

Soc. And when the orator instead of putting an ass in the place of a

horse puts good for evil being himself as ignorant of their true

nature as the city on which he imposes is ignorant; and having studied

the notions of the multitude, falsely persuades them not about "the

shadow of an ass," which he confounds with a horse, but about good

which he confounds with evily-what will be the harvest which

rhetoric will be likely to gather after the sowing of that seed?

Phaedr. The reverse of good.

Soc. But perhaps rhetoric has been getting too roughly handled by

us, and she might answer: What amazing nonsense you are talking! As if

I forced any man to learn to speak in ignorance of the truth! Whatever

my advice may be worth, I should have told him to arrive at the

truth first, and then come to me. At the same time I boldly assert

that mere knowledge of the truth will not give you the art of


Phaedr. There is reason in the lady's defence of herself.

Soc. Quite true; if only the other arguments which remain to be

brought up bear her witness that she is an art at all. But I seem to

hear them arraying themselves on the opposite side, declaring that she

speaks falsely, and that rhetoric is a mere routine and trick, not

an art. Lo! a Spartan appears, and says that there never is nor ever

Previous | Next
Site Search