previous next

[272a] if he comes upon such a man, to recognize him and to convince himself that this is the man and this now actually before him is the nature spoken of in a certain lecture, to which he must now make a practical application of a certain kind of speech in a certain way to persuade his hearer to a certain action or belief—when he has acquired all this, and has added thereto a knowledge of the times for speaking and for keeping silence, and has also distinguished the favorable occasions for brief speech or pitiful speech or intensity and all the classes of speech which he has learned, then, and not till then, will his art be fully and completely [272b] finished; and if anyone who omits any of these points in his speaking or writing claims to speak by the rules of art, the one who disbelieves him is the better man. “Now then,” perhaps the writer of our treatise will say, “Phaedrus and Socrates, do you agree to all this? Or must the art of speech be described in some other way?”

No other way is possible, Socrates. But it seems a great task to attain to it.

Very true. Therefore you must examine [272c] all that has been said from every point of view, to see if no shorter and easier road to the art appears, that one may not take a long and rough road, when there is a short and smooth one. If you have heard from Lysias or anyone else anything that can help us, try to remember it and tell it.

If it depended on trying, I might, but just now I have nothing to say.

Then shall I tell something that I have heard some of those say who make these matters their business?

Pray do.

Even the wolf, you know, Phaedrus, has a right to an advocate, as they say. [272d]

Do you be his advocate.

Very well. They say that there is no need of treating these matters with such gravity and carrying them back so far to first principles with many words; for, as we said in the beginning of this discussion, he who is to be a competent rhetorician need have nothing at all to do, they say, with truth in considering things which are just or good, or men who are so, whether by nature or by education. For in the courts, they say, [272e] nobody cares for truth about these matters, but for that which is convincing; and that is probability, so that he who is to be an artist in speech must fix his attention upon probability. For sometimes one must not even tell what was actually done, if it was not likely to be done, but what was probable, whether in accusation or defence; and in brief, a speaker must always aim at probability,

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 Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

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

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: