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[334a] the very same man is a good guardian of an army who is good at stealing a march1 upon the enemy in respect of their designs and proceedings generally.” “Certainly.” “Of whatsoever, then, anyone is a skilful guardian, of that he is also a skilful thief?” “It seems so.” “If then the just man is an expert in guarding money he is an expert in stealing it.” “The argument certainly points that way.”2“A kind of thief then the just man it seems has turned out to be, and it is likely that you acquired this idea from Homer.3 For he regards with complacency Autolycus,4 [334b] the maternal uncle of Odysseus, and says “‘he was gifted beyond all men in thievery and perjury.’”Hom. Od. 19.395 So justice, according to you and Homer and Simonides, seems to be a kind of stealing, with the qualification that it is for the benefit of friends and the harm of enemies. Isn't that what you meant?” “No, by Zeus,” he replied. “I no longer know what I did mean.5 Yet this I still believe, that justice benefits friends and harms enemies.” [334c] “May I ask whether by friends you mean those who seem6 to a man to be worthy or those who really are so, even if they do not seem, and similarly of enemies?” “It is likely,” he said, “that men will love those whom they suppose to be good and dislike those whom they deem bad.” “Do not men make mistakes in this matter so that many seem good to them who are not and the reverse?” “They do.” “For those, then, who thus err the good are their enemies and the bad their friends?” “Certainly.” “But all the same is then just for them to benefit the bad [334d] and injure the good?” “It would seem so.” “But again the good are just and incapable of injustice.” “True.” “On your reasoning then it is just to wrong those who do no injustice.” “Nay, nay, Socrates,” he said, “the reasoning can't be right.”7“Then,” said I, “it is just to harm the unjust and benefit the just.” “That seems a better conclusion than the other.” “It will work out, then, for many, Polemarchus, who have misjudged men that it is just to harm their friends, [334e] for they have got bad ones, and to benefit their enemies, for they are good. And so we shall find ourselves saying the very opposite of what we affirmed Simonides to mean.” “Most certainly,” he said, “it does work out so. But let us change our ground; for it looks as if we were wrong in the notion we took up about the friend and the enemy.” “What notion, Polemarchus?” “That the man who seems to us good is the friend.” “And to what shall we change it now?” said I. “That the man who both seems and is good is the friend, but that he who seems

1 The play on the Greek word recalls Shakespeare's “If you do take a thief . . . let him show himself what he is and steal out of your company,”Much Ado, III. iii.

2 The qualified assent here marks the speaker's perception that something is wrong. But often it expresses modesty or is a mere mannerism. Cf. 399 D, 401 D, 409 C, 410 A, 553 E, etc.

3 Plato playfully follows the fashion of tracing all modern wisdom to Homer. Cf. Theaetetus 152 E.

4 “A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles” (Winter's Tale, IV. iii. 26), whom Homer celebrates (Hom. Od. 19.395). The naivete of Homer's “amoral” standpoint (Cf. Odyssey xiii. 290 ff.) tickles Plato's sense of humor, and he amuses himself by showing that the popular rule “help friends and harm enemies” is on the same ethical plane. So in the Euthyphro, popular piety is gravely reduced to a kind of καπηλεία or retail trade in prayer and blessings. Cf. also Dio Chrys.Or. xi. 315 R., and modern laments over the “Decay of Lying.”

5 For humorous bewildermentof Socrates' interlocutors cf. Xenophon Memorabilia iv. 2. 19, Lysis 216 C, Alc. I. 127 D, Meno 80, Euthyphro 11 B, Symposium 201 B, Theaetetus 149 A, 169 C.

6 The antithesis of “seeming” and “being” is a common category of early Greek and Platonic thought. Cf. 361 A-B, 365 C, Aeschylus Agamemnon 788, and the fragments of Parmenides. This discussion of the true φίλος recalls the manner of the Lysis; cf. Aristotle Topics i. 8. 5.

7 Or, “that is an immoral conclusion.”

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