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The whole Dialogue, exclusive of the richly ornamented Introduction, consists of two parts, much alike in extent, but otherwise, even at first sight, very different from one another. For the first of them contains three speeches upon love, one of Lysias in favour of the position that a boy should bestow his favour upon a cold and dispassionate lover rather than an enraptured and impassioned one, and two of Socrates—the first a supplementary speech, in the same sense in which such speeches were usual in courts of justice to defend the same cause with the preceding; the other, on the contrary, a counterspeech in favour of the impassioned suitor so severely accused in the first. The second part, to leave it, preliminarily, as indefinite as possible, contains several remarks, incidentally introduced on occasion of these speeches, upon the then condition of the art of speaking, together with notices of its proper principles. And from these entirely technical investigations no return whatever is again made to the subject treated of in the speeches. Now, even from this briefly-drawn sketch, every reader must at once see that not only that particular erotic question cannot have been in Plato's mind the main subject-matter, but not even love in general. For in either case this beautiful work, worked up as it evidently is with the greatest pains, would appear deformed in a most revolting manner, utterly contravening the maxim that it must be fashioned like a living creature, having a body proportioned to the mind, with parts also in due proportion. For the whole of the second half would then be nothing but an appendage strangely tacked on, and not even tolerably well fitted, which, of itself alone, and more especially from its position, could produce no effect so sure as that of necessarily drawing off the atten


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tion as far as possible from the main subject. Moreover, supposing the last to be the case, the subject itself would be yet but very indifferently completed. For notwithstanding that in the two first speeches the relation of the lovers is treated of merely upon the grounds of pleasure and profit—in the last, on the other hand, ethically and mystically ; and this separate treatment might have so easily led to the true point of dispute, with regard to the nature of love and to its higher essence—notwithstanding this, no notice whatever is taken of it in the succeeding criticism upon the speeches, and nothing is done to reconcile the opposing views. Accordingly, a subject so negligently treated could not be the proper subject-matter of the work, and nothing remained but to place the whole value of the dialogue upon the mythos in the third speech, which alone expatiates to a certain degree upon the question of love— that myth, which, of all that the dialogue presents, is most celebrated and famous—together with what is said in connection with it of the high importance and the great influence of beauty. And then we shall have to explain all that remains to be digressive matter, strangely confused and unmeaningly compiled; if, that is to say, we are to start from the subject-matter of those three speeches in order to comprehend the whole. Now if, on the contrary, we compare the second part instead of troubling ourselves so uselessly about the first, the result seems to be that as the Art is treated of in the second part, we are to look at the speeches in the first, more with reference to the mode of treatment, and their value as works of art, than to the subject discussed; whence ensues an attempt, the reverse of the first, to centre the main object of the whole in that which forms the subject of the second part, the more correct notions, namely, brought forward respecting the true nature of the art of speaking. This view, which has even been already adopted by several persons, is favoured by an at least half-seriously intended declaration of Socrates, that he brings forward the speeches only as examples, and that, setting aside the correct method employed, every thing else in them is to be taken only as jest. According to that, then, we should have to pay especial attention, from the beginning throughout, to what is paradigmatic in these speeches, and we must endeavour perfectly to understand every relation existing between them and the theory advanced in the second part, which consists in the main of the three following points. Plato first attempts to make quite clear what is the proper business of the art of speaking. For, as is clearly seen from the rules adduced in the second part, and the inventions of the most celebrated rhetoricians of that most ancient school, this art was treated by the artists and teachers of that day in an exclusively empirical manner. To blind the understanding of the hearers by sophistical means, and then, in particular passages, to excite their minds emotionally—this was their whole object; as likewise an extremely deficient and uniform method of instruction in composition, with uselessly accumulated subdivisions and technical terms, and some maxims upon the use of language, leading at most only to harmony and fulness of sound, or to the production of striking and brilliant effect, made up the whole secret. And thus the art was altogether devoid of internal substance. All this then, which up to this time had passed for the art itself, is degraded by Plato to the rank of technical knack, and while he exposes in its nakedness the principle of the

sophistical rhetoricians, that he who would convince need not himself know the true and right, he shews, that in order really to produce conviction, that is, to compel as it were others to certain thoughts and judgments, if this is to be done at all, however without reference to the truth, yet with that degree of certainty which alone can lay claim to the name of art—he shews, I say, that an aptitude at deceiving and undeceiving is requisite, an art of logical semblance, which can itself rest on nothing but a scientific method of comprehending similar notions under higher; and a like knowledge of the difference of notions, that dialectics, therefore, must be the true foundation of rhetoric, and that only what is connected with its principles, properly belongs to the art. With this, then, the second position stands in close connection. All those technicalities, he says, which were given out for art were borrowed only from practice in the courts of law and the popular assemblies, and referred to them, so that their trifling value must at once appear, even if they were only put forward as particular kinds, and no longer considered as the whole province of the art. Hence, therefore, Plato maintains that the art of speaking is universally the same, not only in these places, but also in written productions and oral discussions of every kind, as well scientific as civil, nay, even in the common usage of social life. By means of this extension and establishment of its province, now comprehending every species of philosophical communication, beyond its hitherto too narrowly drawn limits, on the one hand rhetoric is cleared from many grounds of reproach, and compelled to seek its principles for all these various branches far deeper, and on the other the rising artist reveals himself in the process, while a great archetype, emblematical of the species which he almost created, floats before him in his mind, and he subjects himself to strict conditions, which according to the general view he might have avoided. But as by this very extension, rhetoric, in the sense in which the word was hitherto used, is in a manner destroyed, Plato clears himself, prophetically, as it were, of the accusation of diluting it away and letting it vanish into the indefinite, which, among the moderns at least, might easily be charged upon him by those who bring with them to this investigation the common incorrect conception of Plato's hatred to the art in general. And this he does best by that declaration of his views according to which he sets up rhetoric, notwithstanding its maintained dependency upon dialectics, and even by virtue of it, to be art in a higher sense/ For true art, according to him, is nothing but that practice of which again a true science, or, as our own countrymen usually call it, a theory can be made: for it is thus that Plato distinguishes art and artless dispatch. Now such a science can arise only when the classified variety, dialectically exhibited as resulting from the central notion of the art, is connected in a systematic and perfectly exhaustive manner with what results from the whole range of the means and objects. Accordingly, he demands from the art of speaking, that it enumerate all the different kinds of speeches, and fix every one and each to correspond to all the different kinds of minds, in order thus to define how every speech, under given circumstances, can and must be fashioned according to the rules of art. From this point of view thus taken up, much contained in this work may be now more correctly understood. From it, first of all, the necessity of the examples, at least for a living composition like that of Plato's, becomes

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