Sivut kuvina

introduced by means of the little interruption occasioned by the hiccough of Aristophanes, and for that very reason is not again particularly referred to in the speech of Socrates. And as these speeches show us the difference between the philosopher and the not-philosopher, in their subject-matter and ideas, so do they also, in enunciation and expression, partly by means of a loose, unconnected extravagance, partly by a corrupt musical rhetoric, and the application of sophistical expedients— both of which, in the speech of Agathon immediately preceding that of Socrates, are pushed to the utmost. And here also we see a new trace of connection between our dialogue and the two preceding, in which likewise, as we have endeavoured to show, the polemics against the sophists as pretended dialecticians, and the rhetoricians and demagogues as pretended politicians, constitute no small part. In like manner these speeches, of which each is distinguished from the other by a peculiar manner, which the translator has endeavoured as far as possible to imitate, are certainly not deficient in Platonic polemics. For it is indeed hardly to be believed, that these peculiarities were merely dramatic, and intended to show the manner in which the characters introduced were generally accustomed to speak; since, as several among them do not seem even to have been authors, as Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, and, supposing them to have been alive at the time of the appearance of the Banquet, were far from being generally known, it would have been lost labour to imitate them, and not worth the composition. Also, the mention of Gorgias does of itself lead us to quite different notions on the matter. For hardly can these polemics, dramatic indeed as they plainly are, have been directed against other than well-known orators and authors, and indeed such as laboured after a theory which was the creation not of philosophy, but only the instrument of a false Eros, where one cannot avoid thinking particularly of the later schools of Gorgias and on those of Socrates; although the myth of Aristophanes in its whole style, the comic turn certainly excepted, so beautifully imitates those of the poets themselves, that it seems to me to bear a striking similarity to that told by Protagoras in the dialogue that bears his name. So that, upon the whole, Sydenham may certainly have been right when he conceived, that in this dialogue the persons imitated may be not so much those actually introduced to speak, as others represented under their name, only that he himself followed too slight hints, and was over hasty in his particular decision; wherein we will not imitate him, but leave the matter to other learned men, so much the rather, as it belongs not to our object to follow out such points. But, on the other hand, without these speeches, the relation of the Symposium to other dialogues of Plato, namely the earliest, would not be near so open to recognition, and there is clearly much that refers to these dialogues intentionally introduced into it. Every reader, for instance, will naturally be reminded by this work of the Phaedrus and Lysis, as when we were engaged with that dialogue we were compelled to refer in anticipation to this. To the Phaedrus there appear references sufficient in the first speeches, especially where the relation of the lover to the beloved object is spoken of, to render it unnecessary expressly to bring them forward. But several of these speeches

have, more especially, a peculiar reference to the Lysis, as they respectively take up respective points of what was there laid down as the ground of friendship and love, and always found inadmissible; and they pursue their panegyrics of love accordingly: so that that dialogue, of the over-sceptical tenor of which complaints might with justice be made, finds here its appropriate solution. Thus Phaedrus lays down in the most general way the endeavour after the good as the ground, and the secure attainment of it as the effect, of love. Pausanias, though he does not expressly say it, speaks more of resemblance: whence he gets a twofold love, the one superior, the other inferior. Eryximachus further assumes that there is a sympathy between opposite principles, and Aristophanes lastly gives a comic dress to the theory which maintains that love tends to a union of counterparts. His view is, that not all good, as appropriating and informing, is the counterpart of being, but that the notion to be entertained, in speaking of the good as the object of love, is a supplementary completion of the sensuous unity of existence. And nearly the whole of this is criticized by Socrates, from the notion of love which he himself sets up; whence it is easy to see how far, and in what sense, he is compelled to reject the theory that love tends to the good, and to the union of counterparts, and how he would certainly have adopted that theory if it had only been a little more accurately defined. And here we can illustrate, from a particular side, and with a view to showing its correctness, the arrangement we have adopted of the dialogues up to this point. If we first consider the Lysis, it now becomes incumbent upon us to show satisfactorily that this dialogue must stand nearer to the Phaedrus than to the Banquet, and why it must do so. And this is seen, as it appears to me, evidently enough from the different form under which the notion common to the two dialogues, of the neither good nor bad, is stated in both; in the Lysis, indeed, quite inartificially, as being derived from the common conversation of ordinary life, so that it can be considered only as a feeler in reference to the higher department of the investigation; as something, as it were, which might be true, if the necessary confirmation were added. And what confirmation then is there here, when Socrates expresses his surprise at the theory brought forward by the wise Diotima P The analogy of a mean precisely similar in another department, namely, the notion, treated of in the Theaetetus, of true conception: and every reader will certainly be put in mind, even though it is not expressly here mentioned, of what is said in the Sophist of non-existence—namely, that it is no real opposition —as the peculiar ground of the certainty with which this theory may be enunciated. If, therefore, these confirmations had been already given in the works of Plato when the Lysis was written, why should he have enunciated the theory in that dialogue only so precariously We have the Lysis therefore manifestly rejected to a place the other side of the Theaetetus, and when once there, it becomes easy, if we would assign its place to it, to force it to retrograde a dialogue at a time, and remain in its natural position immediately next after the Phaedrus ; and the more, if we bear in mind the remarks there made upon the weakness of the Lysis in point of dialectic composition. For as soon as we have become fully aware that Plato's whole theory of love rested upon the Hellenic character, and that in every thing even of higher purport which he would contemplate under this idea, he was compelled to proceed upon the condition given in that character of the sexual passion and the sexes; and, consequently, if we are not to be surprised to find here precisely the anti-modern and anti-christian pole of his style of thought, we must allow that in the Symposium love is discussed in a more judicious, manly, and, that style being supposed, more perfect manner, than in the Phaedrus. And this because the philosopher is now no longer satisfied with that youthful idea of the relation between the lover and the individual loved, even in its most sublime sense, as a representation of the philosophical impulse, declaring it only proportioned and appropriate to the notions of a beginner; and because the desire to generate is now no longer according to him the highest object, and in itself immediately divine, but as the child, indeed, of that immortal and eternally supplying Poros, though, at the same time, of the needy Penia as well, it has its origin indeed in the immortal principle, though only in so far as that principle exists in the mortal being, in order also to produce the immortal in this last; and therefore Diotima takes especial pains to show that in mortal man, even knowledge herself appears as mortal ; not as that which is ever immutable and self-consistent, but only as that which is ever renewing itself; and therefore, confined between two periods of time, is in each several instance only recollection going back to its eternal and permament archetype; and she endeavours to show that love cannot in any way generate the eternal nature and immortal essence of knowledge, but can only generate for it its state of mortal appearance, and not only vivifies

« EdellinenJatka »