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Plato : HIPPIAS (minor)

Persons of the dialogue: Eudicus - Socrates - Hippias
Translated by Benjamin Jowett - 19 Pages - Greek fonts
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19 Pages


Page 3

'Son of Laertes, sprung from heaven, crafty Odysseus, I will speak out plainly the word which I intend to carry out in act, and which will, I believe, be accomplished. For I hate him like the gates of death who thinks one thing and says another. But I will speak that which shall be accomplished.'

Now, in these verses he clearly indicates the character of the two men; he shows Achilles to be true and simple, and Odysseus to be wily and false; for he supposes Achilles to be addressing Odysseus in these lines.

Socr.: Now, Hippias, I think that I understand your meaning; when you say that Odysseus is wily, you clearly mean that he is false?

Hipp.: Exactly so, Socrates; it is the character of Odysseus, as he is represented by Homer in many passages both of the Iliad and Odyssey.

Socr.: And Homer must be presumed to have meant that the true man is not the same as the false?

Hipp.: Of course, Socrates.

Socr.: And is that your own opinion, Hippias?

Hipp.: Certainly; how can I have any other?

Socr.: Well, then, as there is no possibility of asking Homer what he meant in these verses of his, let us leave him; but as you show a willingness to take up his cause, and your opinion agrees with what you declare to be his, will you answer on behalf of yourself and him?

Hipp.: I will; ask shortly anything which you like.

Socr.: Do you say that the false, like the sick, have no power to do things, or that they have the power to do things?

Hipp.: I should say that they have power to do many things, and in particular to deceive mankind.

Socr.: Then, according to you, they are both powerful and wily, are they not?

Hipp.: Yes.

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