Breezy Euschēmosunē: Flailing Socrates, Upright Eudicus & Prickly Hippias


SOCRATES But at this point I’m suffering an episode of brain fever, so to speak, and those who of their own free will go completely wrong in some way in fact seem to me to be more fitting persons than those who do so unwillingly. The blame for my present suffering I place on the arguments set out before, with the result that at this point it’s plain that those who unwillingly do each of these things are a more worthless sort of people than those who act willingly. Therefore, do me a favor and don’t begrudge putting my character in a better state. It’s really a more excellent piece of work for you to relieve my character of this ineptitude than to relieve my body of disease. If you wish to deliver a long speech, however, I warn you that you wouldn’t heal me that way, because I couldn’t follow you. But if you wish to answer me as you did just now, you’ll help me comprehensively, and I don’t think it will harm yourself either. And with justice I appeal to you, child of Apemantus, as you induced me to have this exchange with Hippias: so now, if Hippias doesn’t want to answer me, ask him on my behalf.
EUDICUS Oh, no, Socrates, I don’t think the situation demands, or maybe I should say, that we demand this of Hippias. What he said beforehand wouldn’t indicate that: on the contrary, he said that he wouldn’t run away from any gentleman’s questioning. Isn’t that right, Hippias? Isn’t that what you stated?
HIPPIAS I did indeed. But Socrates is always making trouble in the course of discussions, and it’s almost as if he’s up to no good.

 – Plato Hippias Minor, 372d-373b translated by Sarah Ruden for the book Hippias Minor of the Art of Cunning. Badlands Unlimited and DESTE Foundation. 2015. 

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