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of the honours that are among men; and, considering Truth, will strive earnestly after Righteousness, both to live therein so far as I am able, and when I die, therein also to die. And I exhort all men, so far as I am able, and thee more especially do I exhort and entreat, to enter into this life and run this race, which, I say unto thee, is above all the races wherein men strive; and I tell thee, to thy shame, that thou shalt not be able to help thyself, when the Day of Judgment whereof I spake cometh unto thee, but when thou dost appear before the Judge, the son of Aegina, and he hath gotten hold of thee to take thee, thou shalt gape and become dizzy there, even as I do here; yea and perchance some one will smite thee on the cheek to dishonour thee, and will utterly put thee to despite.
Perchance this shall seem to thee as an old wife's fable, and thou wilt despise it: well mightest thou despise it, if by searching we could find out aught better and truer. the matter standeth, thou seest that ye are three, the wisest men of Greece living at this day, thou and Polus and Gorgias, and ye cannot show any other life that a man must live save this whereof I have spoken, which is plainly expedient also for that other life; nay, of all sayings this saying alone is not confuted, but abideth sure:--That a man must shun the doing of wrong more than the receiving, and study above all things not to seem, but to be, righteous in the doing of his own business and the business of the city; and that if any man be found evil in anything, he is to be corrected; and that the next good thing after being righteous is to become righteous through correction and just retribution, and that all flattery of himself and of other men, be they few or many, he must eschew; and that he must use Oratory and all other Instruments of Doing, for the sake of Justice alway.
But as OBSERVATIONS ON THE GORGIAS MYTH
Here, again, as in the Phaedo Myth, it is Responsibility which Plato represents in a picture—a picture portraying the continuity of the Self through the series of its life-stages. It is in the consciousness of Responsibility-of being the cause of actions for which he takes praise and blamethat man first becomes conscious of Self as a constant in experience.
Consciousness of an active—a responsible, or moral Self, is formally prior to consciousness of a passive, sensitive, Self realised as the one mirror in which senseimpressions are successively reflected. Thus, the Gorgias Myth gives a strictly natural representation of the Idea of Soul, when it sets forth, in a vision of Judgment, Penance, and Purification, the continuity and sameness of the active, as distinguished from the passive of the responsible or moral, as distinguished from the sensitive Self. It is only in vision
in Myth—and not scientifically, that the Idea of Soul, or Subject, can be represented, or held up to contemplation as an Object at all; and it is best represented, that is, in the manner most suitable, not only to our consciousness of responsibility, but to our hope and fear, if it is represented in a vision of Judgment and Penance and Purification, where the departed are not the passive victims of vengeance, Teuwpla, but actively develop their native powers under the discipline of correction, kólaois. In such a vision it is consciousness of wrong done and fear (that fear mentioned by Cephalus in the Republic)2 which conjure up the spectacle of punishment; but hope, springing from the sense of personal endeavour after the good, speaks comfortably to the heart, and says, “ If only
1 What we call sin
Meruit habere Redemptorem !
2 380 E.
a man will strive steadfastly to overcome evil passions in this life, and in future lives, all will be well with him in the end. The very punishment which he fears will be for his ultimate good, for punishment regards the future which can still be modified, not the past which cannot be undone." Pardonfor so we may bring home to ourselves the deeper meaning of Plato's kábapoisPardon is thus involved in Punishment. This is a thought which cannot be set forth by the way of Science. Pardon is not found in the realm of Nature which Science describes. comes of the Grace of God.” It is received under another dispensation than that of Naturema dispensation under which a man comes by "Faith ”-Faith which Science can only chill, but Myth may confirm. Xpň τα τοιαύτα ώσπερ επάδειν εαυτό. .
Besides containing this notable theory of Punishment and Pardon, the Gorgias Myth is remarkable for its powerful imaginative rendering of the wonder with which man regards death—a rendering which is best taken side by side with another given in the Cratylus, 403, 4. Hades, Aidns, the God of Death, Socrates says in the Cratylus, is not called, as most people in their fear suppose, από του αειδούς-he is not the terrible Unseen One, who keeps the Dead in Hell, against their will, bound in the fetters of necessity. He is rather called από του πάντα τα καλά είδέναι – he is the All-wise, the Philosopher, who, indeed, holds the Dead in fetters, but not against their will; for his fetters are those of that desire which, in disembodied souls, is stronger than necessity—the desire of knowledge.
The Dead cleave to Hades as disciples cleave to a great master of wisdom. The wisest of men go to learn of him, and will not return from his companionship. He charms the charmers themselvesthe Sirens so that they will not leave him. He is rightly
The Sirens, although they became eventually simply Muses, were originally Chthonian deities, and as such are sculptured on tombs and painted on lekythi : see Miss Harrison's Myths of the Odyssey, pp. 156–166 ; her Mythology and Monuments of Ancient Athens, pp. 582 ff. ; and her article in J.H.S. vol. vi. pp. 19 ff. ("Odysseus and the Sirens — Dionysiac Boat-races - Cylix of Nicosthenes"), 1885. "As monuments on tombs, the Sirens," writes Miss Harrison (Myth, and Mon. p. 584), seem to have filled a double function they were sweet singers, fit to be set on the grave of poet or orator, and they were mourners to lament for the beauty of youth and maiden. It is somewhat curious that they are never sculptured on Attic tombs in the one function that makes their relation to death clearly intelligible—i.e. that of death-angels. The
called Pluto, because he has the true riches—wisdom. Here we have what is really a Myth offered in satisfaction of the deep wonder with which man regards that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns. Plato appeals openly to the “science of etymology” in support of his “myth,” and, I would suggest, also appeals tacitly to traditional cultus :-Hades communicates true oracles to those who go down into his cave to sleep the sleep of death-truer oracles than those dreams which Trophonius sends to the living who sleep in his cave at Lebadia. It is only with the disembodied soul that Hades will hold his dialectic, for only the disembodied soul, freed from the distractions of the bodily passions, can experience that invincible desire of knowledge, that épws without which dialektikń is vain, which makes the learner leave all and cleave to his Teacher. In this, that he will hold converse only with the disembodied soul, Hades declares himself the true Philosopher. It is at this point that the connection appears between the Cratylus Myth—for we may call it a Myth—and the Gorgias Myth. The judges in the Gorgias Myth are naked souls (the phrase “ yuxn yuun Toù cópatos occurs also in Cratylus, 403 B)-naked souls, without blindness or bias of the flesh, which see naked souls through and through, and pass true judgment upon thein
There must be wisdom with Great Death :
The wondering thought, that death may perhaps solve the enigma of life, has never been more impressively rendered than in these twin Myths of the Philosopher Death and the Dead Judges of the Dead.
Siren of the Attic graves must surely be somehow connected with the bird deathangels that appear on the Harpy toinb, but her function as such seems to have been usurped for Attica by the male angels Death and Sleep." Erinna's epitaph
στάλαι, και Σειρήνες έμαι, και πένθιμε κρωσσέ,
όστις έχεις 'Aΐδα ταν ολίγαν σποδιάνbrings the Sirens and Hades into connection just as Crat. 403 p does--8à rauta άρα φώμεν, ώ Ερμόγενες, ουδένα δεύρο εθελήσαι απελθείν των εκείθεν, ουδε αυτάς τας Σειρήνας, αλλά κατακεκλήσθαι εκείνας τε και τους άλλους πάντας: ούτω καλούς τινας, ως έoικεν, επίσταται λόγους λέγειν ο "Αιδης. According to Mr. J. P. Postgate (Journal of Philology, ix. pp. 109 ff., "A Philological Examination of the Myth of the Sirens "), they are singing birds=souls winged for flight hence.
1 Cf. Rohde, Psyche, i. 115 ff.
Another point, and I have done with the “ Philosophy ” of the Gorgias Myth. I am anxious to have done with it, because I know that the “ Philosophy of a Myth” too easily becomes “the dogmatic teaching which it covertly conveys”; but I trust that in the foregoing remarks I have avoided, and in the following remarks shall continue to avoid, the error of treating a Myth as if it were an Allegory. The point is this. The incurably wicked who suffer eternal punishment are mostly tyrants--- men like Archelaus and Tantalus, who had the opportunity of committing the greatest crimes, and used it. All praise to the few who had the opportunity and did not use it. But Thersites, a mere private offender, no poet has ever condemned to eternal punishment. He had not the opportunity of committing the greatest crimes, and in this is happier than those offenders who had. Here a mystery is set forth. The man who has the opportunity of committing the greatest crimes, and yields to the special temptation to which he is exposed, is held worthy of eternal damnation, which is escaped by the offender who has it not in his power, and has never been effectively tempted, to commit such crimes. First, the greatness of the crime is estimated as if it were a mere quantity standing in no relation to the quality of the agent; and then the quality of the agent is determined by the quantity of the crime; so that vice with large opportunity comes out as infinitely worse than vice with narrow opportunity, the former receiving eternal punishment, the latter suffering correction only for a limited time. This mystery of the infinite difference between vice with large opportunity and vice with narrow opportunity—the mystery which is set forth in “lead us not into temptation "—this mystery is set forth by Plato in the Gorgias Myth as a mystery, without any attempt at explanation : “Men born to great power do not start with the same chance of ultimate salvation as men born to private stations.” With that the Gorgias Myth leaves us. In the Vision of Er, however, an explanation is offered—but still the explanation, no less than the mystery to be explained, is mythically set forth—not to satisfy the understanding, but