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combined. Whoever then comprehends the connection of these two points in the sense in which Plato meant it, will certainly no longer hesitate to place the Phaedon and the Symposium together, and to recognise the reciprocal relation of the two. For, as the love there described exhibits the endeavour to connect the immortal with the mortal, that pure contemplation here represented is the endeavour to withdraw the immortal, as such, away from the mortal; and the two are manifestly in necessary connection with one another. For, if the soul in its advances towards knowledge wishes to be continually removing further from the sphere of imperfect existence and appearance, and to be at last entirely separated from it, it is but a return fairly due from a soul in this condition, as it is, notwithstanding, incumbent upon it to interest itself continually in every thing not endowed with soul, first, to engraft knowledge in other souls destined to move longer in this sphere, And on the other hand, if the soul exerts itself to introduce the truth into others, the only proof of its love for them that can be given is, that it adhere itself to truth alone, and fly as far as possible from the semblance of it. Now, of these two essential characteristics in the conduct of a philosopher, one predominates in each of our two dialogues respectively; although their necessary connection did not admit of a complete separation, in that respect also entirely corresponding to the character of the second period of the Platonic composition. For, as the description of love in the speech of Diotima could not exist at all without reference made to pure contemplation, so also in this dialogue, where, properly speaking, that contemplation is represented, we find manifold
allusions throughout to the passionate desire always to live with sympathetic minds, and to co-operate in creating truth within them, as a common task and profit; only, that as regards Socrates, in order as it were to secure him a tranquil departure, this is represented as already essentially completed in his own peculiar circle. And this leads us also to remark how the dramatic character in both dialogues appears so very analogous, and indicates the same relation. For, in the Symposium, Socrates is eminently exhibited in the joyousness and pride of life, though it is not forgotten at the same time how he is plunged in philosophical contemplation, and can postpone all else to that ; in the Phaedon, on the contrary, what appears most prominent is the tranquillity and cheerfulness with which he expects death, as the liberator from every thing that interrupts contemplation ; and on the other hand, he does not nevertheless interrupt his accustomed social practice, but even with the fatal goblet will observe the sacred ceremonies of the festive meal. It is, indeed, generally allowed that little is to be met with in the way of description more beautiful in its kind than this of the dying Socrates; but still the mind is not completely filled with the greatness of the subject before the two images of the same man, that given here and in the Symposium, are combined into one. If then it should be asked why, if the case stands thus, Plato has not done this himself, and in general worked up into one piece the description of the philosopher in his two-fold character, we may reply, that since we can no longer enquire of Plato himself, this question on the one hand goes too far, and it cannot be incumbent upon us to give an explanation of the fact; and, on the other, it is easy to point generally to the progress which even at this period the philosophy itself of Plato had made towards perfection, and to the influence it had upon the form of his works; so that without total separation, there yet prevails in all of them a preponderating antithetical character, and the Symposium and Phaedon are most naturally connected together, exactly in the same manner as the Gorgias and Theaetetus are. One may even venture to say, that in the dialogue we are now considering, this influence is particularly reflected in the description of the opposition between soul and body, two things which, regarded from without, are quite distinct enough ; but still, when the fact itself speaks, can never be completely disconnected from one another. For the rest, however, it would be a strange misunderstanding of what has been said, if any reader were to understand this so strictly and literally, as to suppose that the two dialogues constitute the third part of the trilogy which was promised in the Sophist, as if Plato, fearing the frequent repetition of the same form, had now determined to exhibit the philosopher in a different way, and because, instead of the somewhat dry ironical subdivision, he had again chosen the most elegant dramatic form, he was by that perhaps induced to divide his subject, and thus constructed the two dialogues with one another, and sketched them at the same time. For this would be too dry and mechanical a process for us to think of maintaining it. But Plato may easily have let the trilogy go unfinished, thinking that his readers might now turn a speech in the Phaedrus to the construction of a philosopher after the manner of the second part of the trilogy, combining much both earlier and later in point of composition, to which he might mentally refer them. But even supposing this to have been the case, still, and this is all, properly speaking, which we maintain, in his progress or his career as an author the same problem must necessarily have returned upon him under another form. For our two dialogues form the first, as the Philebus forms the second point of transition from the dialogues that have preceded, and were characterized by the indirect process to those that follow, which belong to the immediately constructive class. And, when Plato was upon the point of adopting another method, and wished yet once for all to connect together what he had surveyed by the one already used, and what, although without every where enunciating the results with equal precision, he had also in reality taught and established, when he wished to conclude the old matter as well as prepare the way for the new, what could be a more natural result than that he should describe the process of a philosopher as a purely mental process, as he had practised it according to his own inclination and judgment; for the description of his own mode of operation would now for the first time come in his way It must, indeed, always remain a remarkable circumstance, and one that might point to an earlier period for the composition of this dialogue, that that dramatic character, which in the dialogues immediately preceding had almost vanished, and in the Philebus again is likewise much suppressed, comes out in such strong relief in these two, as it were in its last and highest glory. But, in the first place, every reader must see that there is no other dialogue, and least of all is it the case with the earliest, as the Phaedrus and Protagoras, P P
in which the dramatic character is so completely part and parcel of the subject, or so intimately identified with it as in this dialogue, and it could therefore never display itself in its full splendour with more perfect right. And again, a variety of other circumstances may have given occasion to this display : in the Symposium, first, which we know certainly upon other grounds not to belong to the earlier works of Plato, that apologetic tendency which cannot be denied to exist in it, and for which a living representation of the Socratic mode of life must have been of great advantage; in the Phaedon, probably, Plato's recollection of his own Sicilian affairs, and the wish to show how impossible it was that a cowardly fear of death should exist in the breast of a true disciple of Socrates. It is therefore by no means the close connection with the Symposium that alone determines this as the proper place for the Phaedon in the works of Plato. Rather should we say, that it is that combination of all that has preceded, which is so manifest, and to which we especially refer all who would be convinced upon this point ; and then, whether that particular relation presents itself in a light more or less clear, can make but little difference as regards the principal question.
And first of all, it must be evident to every one, that it is only on the transition from the previous works to those that are to come, that the account would be in its proper place, which Plato in the person of Socrates here gives us of his own advances in speculation, and of the turns in his philosophical career; how, for instance, he begun with Anaxagoras; how, from the study of that philosopher, the idea of the good, and the supremacy of reason as the highest norma of