previous next
[440a] he resisted1 and veiled his head, but overpowered in despite of all by his desire, with wide staring eyes he rushed up to the corpses and cried, ‘There, ye wretches,2 take your fill of the fine spectacle!'” “I too,” he said, “have heard the story.” “Yet, surely, this anecdote,” I said, “signifies that the principle of anger sometimes fights against desires as an alien thing against an alien.” “Yes, it does,” he said.

“And do we not,” said I, “on many other occasions observe when his desires constrain a man contrary to his reason [440b] that he reviles himself and is angry with that within which masters him and that as it were in a faction of two parties the high spirit of such a man becomes the ally of his reason? But its3 making common cause4 with the desires against the reason when reason whispers low5‘Thou must not’—that, I think, is a kind of thing you would not affirm ever to have perceived in yourself, nor, I fancy, in anybody else either.” [440c] “No, by heaven,” he said. “Again, when a man thinks himself to be in the wrong,6 is it not true that the nobler he is the less is he capable of anger though suffering hunger and cold7 and whatsoever else at the hands of him whom he believes to be acting justly therein, and as I say8 his spirit refuses to be aroused against such a one?” “True,” he said. “But what when a man believes himself to be wronged, does not his spirit in that case9 seethe and grow fierce (and also because of his suffering hunger, [440d] cold and the like) and make itself the ally of what he judges just, and in noble souls10 it endures and wins the victory and will not let go until either it achieves its purpose, or death ends all, or, as a dog is called back by a shepherd, it is called back by the reason within and calmed.” “Your similitude is perfect,” he said, “and it confirms11 our former statements that the helpers are as it were dogs subject to the rulers who are as it were the shepherds of the city.” “You apprehend my meaning excellently,” said I. “But do you also [440e] take note of this?” “Of what?” “That what we now think about the spirited element is just the opposite of our recent surmise. For then we supposed it to be a part of the appetitive, but now, far from that, we say that, in the factions12 of the soul, it much rather marshals itself on the side of the reason.” “By all means,” he said. “Is it then distinct from this too, or is it a form of the rational, so that there are not three but two kinds in the soul, the rational and the appetitive, or just as in the city there were

1 Cf. Antiphon fr. 18 Kock PLHGEI/S, TE/WS ME\N E)PEKRA/TEI TH=S SUMFORA=S, etc., and “Maids who shrieked to see the heads/ Yet shrieking pressed more nigh.”

2 He apostrophizes his eyes, in a different style from Romeo's, “Eyes, look your last.”

3 αὐτόν: we shift from the θυμός to the man and back again.

4 ἀντιπράττειν: that is, opposite the reason. It may be construed with δεῖν or as the verb of αὐτόν. There are no real difficulties in the passage, though many have been found. The order of the words and the anacoluthon are intentional and effective. Cf. on 434 C.οὐκ ἂν . . . ποτέ is to literal understanding an exaggeration. But Plato is speaking of the normal action of uncorrupted θυμός. Plato would not accept the psychology of Euripides'Medea(1079-1080):καὶ μανθάνω μὲν οἷα δρᾶν μέλλω κακά, θυμὸς δὲ κρείσσω τῶν ἐμῶν βουλευμάτων. Cf. Dr. Loeb's translation of Décharme, p. 340.

5 αἱροῦντος: cf. 604 C, and L. and S. s.v. A. II. 5.

6 So Aristotle Rhet. 1380 b 17οὐ γίγνεται γὰρ ὀργὴ πρὸς τὸ δίκαιον, and Eth. Nic. 1135 b 28ἐπὶ φαινομένῃ γὰρ ἀδικίᾳ ὀργή ἐστιν. This is true only with Plato's reservation γενναιότερος. The baser type is angry when in the wrong.

7 Cf. Demosthenes xv. 10 for the same general idea.

8 λέγω: idiomatic, “as I was saying.”

9 ἐν τούτῳ: possibly “in such an one,” preferably “in such a case.”θυμός is plainly the subject of ζεῖ. (Cf. the physiological definition in Aristotle De anima 403 a 31ζέσιν τοῦ περὶ τὴν καρδίαν αἵματος), and so, strictly speaking, of all the other verbs down to λήγει. καὶ διὰ τὸ πεινῆν . . . πάσχειν is best taken as a parenthesis giving an additional reason for the anger, besides the sense of injustice.

10 τῶν γενναίων: i.e. the θυμός of the noble, repeating ὅσῳ ἂν γενναιότερος above. The interpretation “does not desist from his noble (acts)” destroys this symmetry and has no warrant in Plato's use of γενναῖος. Cf. 375 E, 459 A. The only argument against the view here taken is that “θυμός is not the subject of λήγει,” which it plainly is. The shift from θυμός to the man in what follows is no difficulty and is required only by τελευτήσῃ, which may well be a gloss. Cf. A.J.P. xvi. p. 237.

11 καίτοι γε calls attention to the confirmation supplied by the image. Cf on 376 B, and my article in Class. Journ. vol. iii. p. 29.

12 Cf. 440 B and Phaedrus 237 E.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Romeo (Michigan, United States) (1)
Plato (Colombia) (1)
Aristotle (New York, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1380 AD (1)
1135 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: