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C. Socrates Criticizes Lysias (234 – 237)

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 SOCRATES: It’s a miracle, my friend; I’m in ecstasy. And it’s all your doing, Phaedrus: I was looking at you while you were reading and it seemed to me the speech had made you radiant with delight; and since I believe you understand these matters better than I do, I followed your lead, and following you I shared your Bacchic frenzy.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 PHAEDRUS: Come, Socrates, do you think you should joke about this?

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 SOCRATES: Do you really think I am joking, that I am not serious?

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 PHAEDRUS: You are not at all serious, Socrates. But now tell me the truth, in the name of Zeus, god of friendship: Do you think that any other Greek could say anything more impressive or more complete on this same subject?

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 SOCRATES: What? Must we praise the speech even on the ground that its author has said what the situation demanded, and not instead simply on the ground that he has spoken in a clear and concise manner, with a precise turn of phrase? If we must, I will have to go along for your sake, (235) since – surely because I am so ignorant – that passed me by. I paid attention only to the speech’s style. As to the other part, I wouldn’t even think that Lysias himself could be satisfied with it. For it seemed to me, Phaedrus ­ unless, of course, you disagree – that he said the same things two or even three times, as if he really didn’t have much to say about the subject, almost as if he just weren’t very interested in it. In fact, he seemed to me to be showing off, trying to demonstrate that he could say the same thing in two different ways, and say it just as well both times.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 PHAEDRUS: You are absolutely wrong, Socrates. That is in fact the best thing about the speech: He has omitted nothing worth mentioning about the subject, so that no one will ever be able to add anything of value to complete what he has already said himself.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 SOCRATES: You go too far: I can’t agree with you about that. If, as a favor to you, I accept your view, I will stand refuted by all the wise men and women of old who have spoken or written about this subject.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 PHAEDRUS: Who are these people? And where have you heard anything better than this?

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 SOCRATES: I can’t tell you offhand, but I’m sure I’ve heard better somewhere; perhaps it was the lovely Sappho or the wise Anacreon or even some writer of prose. So, what’s my evidence? The fact, my dear friend, that my breast is full and I feel I can make a different speech, even better than Lysias’. Now I am well aware that none of these ideas can have come from me – I know my own ignorance. The only other possibility, I think, is that I was filled, like an empty jar, by the words of other people streaming in through my ears, though I’m so stupid that I’ve even forgotten where and from whom I heard them.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 1 PHAEDRUS: But, my dear friend, you couldn’t have said a better thing! Don’t bother telling me when and from whom you’ve heard this, even if I ask you ­ instead, do exactly what you said: You’ve just promised to make another speech making more points, and better ones, without repeating a word from my book. And I promise you that, like the Nine Archons, I shall set up in return a life-sized golden statue at Delphi, not only of myself but also of you.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 SOCRATES: You’re a real friend, Phaedrus, good as gold, to think I’m claiming that Lysias failed in absolutely every respect and that I can make
a speech that is different on every point from his. I am sure that that couldn’t happen even to the worst possible author. In our own case, for example, do you think that anyone could argue that one should favor the non-lover rather than the lover without praising the former for keeping (236) his wits about him or condemning the latter for losing his – points that
are essential to make – and still have something left to say? I believe we 
must allow these points, and concede them to the speaker. In their case,
 we cannot praise their novelty but only their skillful arrangement; but we 
can praise both the arrangement and the novelty of the nonessential points 
that are harder to think up.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 1 PHAEDRUS: I agree with you; I think that’s reasonable. This, then, is what
I shall do. I will allow you to presuppose that the lover is less sane than the non-lover – and if you are able to add anything of value to complete what we already have in hand, you will stand in hammered gold beside 
the offering of the Cypselids in Olympia.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 SOCRATES: Oh, Phaedrus, I was only criticizing your beloved in order to tease you – did you take me seriously? Do you think I’d really try to match the product of his wisdom with a fancier speech?

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 PHAEDRUS: Well, as far as that goes, my friend, you’ve fallen into your
 own trap. You have no choice but to give your speech as best you can: otherwise you will force us into trading vulgar jibes the way they do in comedy. Don’t make me say what you said: “Socrates, if I don’t know my Socrates, I must be forgetting who I am myself,” or “He wanted to speak,
 but he was being coy.” Get it into your head that we shall not leave here 
until you recite what you claimed to have “in your breast.” We are alone, in a deserted place, and I am younger and stronger. From all this, “take 
my meaning” and don’t make me force you to speak when you can do 
so willingly.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 SOCRATES: But, my dear Phaedrus, I’ll be ridiculous – a mere dilettante, improvising on the same topics as a seasoned professional!

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 PHAEDRUS: Do you understand the situation? Stop playing hard to get! I know what I can say to make you give your speech.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 SOCRATES: Then please don’t say it!

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 PHAEDRUS: Oh, yes, I will. And what I say will be an oath. I swear to you – by which god, I wonder? How about this very plane tree? – I swear in all truth that, if you don’t make your speech right next to this tree here, I shall never, never again recite another speech for you – I shall never utter another word about speeches to you!

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 SOCRATES: My oh my, what a horrible man you are! You’ve really found the way to force a lover of speeches to do just as you say!

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 PHAEDRUS: So why are you still twisting and turning like that?

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 SOCRATES: I’ll stop-now that you’ve taken this oath. How could I possi­bly give up such treats? (237)

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 PHAEDRUS: Speak, then.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 SOCRATES: Do you know what I’ll do?

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 PHAEDRUS: What?

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 SOCRATES: I’ll cover my head while I’m speaking. In that way, as I’m going through the speech as fast as I can, I won’t get embarrassed by having to look at you and lose the thread of my argument.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 PHAEDRUS: Just give your speech! You can do anything else you like.

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Source: http://phaedrus.whyandwhat.net/3-2/