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[453a] whether female human nature is capable of sharing with the male all tasks or none at all, or some but not others,1 and under which of these heads this business of war falls. Would not this be that best beginning which would naturally and proverbially lead to the best end2?” “Far the best,” he said. “Shall we then conduct the debate with ourselves in behalf of those others3 so that the case of the other side may not be taken defenceless and go by default4?” [453b] “Nothing hinders,” he said. “Shall we say then in their behalf: ‘There is no need, Socrates and Glaucon, of others disputing against you, for you yourselves at the beginning of the foundation of your city agreed5 that each one ought to mind as his own business the one thing for which he was fitted by nature?’ ‘We did so agree, I think; certainly!' ‘Can it be denied then that there is by nature a great difference between men and women?’ ‘Surely there is.’ ‘Is it not fitting, then, that a different function should be appointed [453c] for each corresponding to this difference of nature?’ ‘Certainly.’ ‘How, then, can you deny that you are mistaken and in contradiction with yourselves when you turn around and affirm that the men and the women ought to do the same thing, though their natures are so far apart?’ Can you surprise me with an answer to that question?” “Not easily on this sudden challenge,” he replied: “but I will and do beg you to lend your voice to the plea in our behalf, whatever it may be.” “These and many similar difficulties, Glaucon,” said I, [453d] “I foresaw and feared, and so shrank from touching on the law concerning the getting and breeding of women and children.” “It does not seem an easy thing, by heaven,” he said, “no, by heaven.” “No, it is not,” said I; “but the fact is that whether one tumbles into a little diving-pool or plump into the great sea he swims all the same.” “By all means.” “Then we, too, must swim and try to escape out of the sea6 of argument in the hope that either some dolphin7 will take us on its back or some other desperate rescue.” [453e] “So it seems,” he said. “Come then, consider,” said I, “if we can find a way out. We did agree that different natures should have differing pursuits and that the nature of men and women differ. And yet now we affirm that these differing natures should have the same pursuits. That is the indictment.” “It is.” “What a grand8 thing, Glaucon,” said I,

1 Plato as elsewhere asks whether it is true of all, some, or none. So of the commingling of ideas in Sophist 251 D. Aristotle (Politics 1260 b 38) employs the same would-be exhaustive method.

2 ἀρχόμενος . . . τελευτήσειν: an overlooked reference to a proverb also overlooked by commentators on Pindar, Pyth. i. 35. Cf. Pindar, fr. 108 A Loeb, Laws 775 E, Sophocles, fr. 831 (Pearson), Antiphon the Sophist, fr. 60 (Diels).

3 This pleading the opponent's case for him is common in Plato. Cf. especially the plea for Protagoras in Theaetetus 166-167.

4 Apparently a mixture of military and legal phraseology. Cf.ἐκπέρσῃ in Protagoras 340 A, Iliad v. 140τὰ δ᾽ ἐρῆμα φοβεῖται, and the legal phrase ἐρήμην καταδιαιτᾶν or οφλεῖν.

5 ὡμολογεῖτε: cf. 369 E f. For κατὰ φύσιν cf. 370 C and 456 C. The apparent emphasis of φύσις in this book is of little significance. Cf. Laws, passsim.

6 Cf. the πέλαγος τῶν λόγωνProtagoras 338 A. Similarly Sidney Smith: “cut his cable, and spread his enormous canvas, and launch into the wide sea of reasoning eloquence.”

7 An allusion to the story of Arion and the dolphin in Herodotus i. 24, as ὑπολαβεῖν perhaps proves. For ἄπορον cf. 378 A.

8 γενναία: often as here ironical in Plato. Cf. Sophist 231 B, where interpreters misunderstand it. But the new L. and S. is correct.

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