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

Previous | Next


have assaulted a strong man like him?" The complainant will not like

to confess his own cowardice, and will therefore invent some other lie

which his adversary will thus gain an opportunity of refuting. And

there are other devices of the same kind which have a place in the

system. Am I not right, Phaedrus?

Phaedr. Certainly.

Soc. Bless me, what a wonderfully mysterious art is this which

Tisias or some other gentleman, in whatever name or country he

rejoices, has discovered. Shall we say a word to him or not?

Phaedr. What shall we say to him?

Soc. Let us tell him that, before he appeared, you and I were saying

that the probability of which he speaks was engendered in the minds of

the many by the likeness of the truth, and we had just been

affirming that he who knew the truth would always know best how to

discover the resemblances of the truth. If he has anything else to say

about the art of speaking we should like to hear him; but if not, we

are satisfied with our own view, that unless a man estimates the

various characters of his heaters and is able to divide all things

into classes and to comprehend them under single ideas he will never

be a skilful rhetorician even within the limits of human power. And

this skill he will not attain without a great deal of trouble, which a

good man ought to undergo, not for the sake of speaking and acting

before men, but in order that he may be able to say what is acceptable

to God and always to act acceptably to Him as far as in him lies;

for there is a saying of wiser men than ourselves, that a man of sense

should not try to please his fellow-servants (at least this should not

be his first object) but his good and noble masters; and therefore

if the way is long and circuitous, marvel not at this, for, where

the end is great, there we may take the longer road, but not for

lesser ends such as yours. Truly, the argument may say, Tisias, that

if you do not mind going so far, rhetoric has a fair beginning here.

Phaedr. I think, Socrates, that this is admirable, if only

Previous | Next
Site Search