Phaedr. You mean that there should be a summing up of the
arguments in order to remind the hearers of them.
Soc. I have now said all that I have to say of the art of
rhetoric: have you anything to add?
Phaedr. Not much; nothing very important.
Soc. Leave the unimportant and let us bring the really important
question into the light of day, which is: What power has this art of
rhetoric, and when?
Phaedr. A very great power in public meetings.
Soc. It has. But I should like to know whether you have the same
feeling as I have about the rhetoricians? To me there seem to be a
great many holes in their web.
Phaedr. Give an example.
Soc. I will. Suppose a person to come to your friend Eryximachus, or
to his father Acumenus, and to say to him: "I know how to apply
drugs which shall have either a heating or a cooling effect, and I can
give a vomit and also a purge, and all that sort of thing; and knowing
all this, as I do, I claim to be a physician and to make physicians by
imparting this knowledge to others,"-what do you suppose that they
Phaedr. They would be sure to ask him whether he knew "to whom" he
would give his medicines, and "when," and "how much."
Soc. And suppose that he were to reply: "No; I know nothing of all
that; I expect the patient who consults me to be able to do these
things for himself"?
Phaedr. They would say in reply that he is a madman or pedant who
fancies that he is a physician because he has read something in a
book, or has stumbled on a prescription or two, although he has no
real understanding of the art of medicine.
Soc. And suppose a person were to come to Sophocles or Euripides and
say that he knows how to make a very long speech about a small matter,
and a short speech about a great matter, and also a sorrowful