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This is the culmination of the myth, which was to show that virtue can be taught (see on 320 c); while it really only asserts that all men possess virtue, and this with an important saving qualification (line 26). If virtue is purely a gift, and is so vitally important, there is no reason why Zeus should not have bestowed it upon all, instead of leaving exceptions who were to be destroyed as pests. If virtue is not a gift, the myth proves (asserts) nothing whatever. The importance to Protagoras, however, of the exception, is that it leaves room for the argument upon responsibility and punishment (323 c f.).

νόσον: used only poetically of persons. Cf. Aesch. Prom. 1068 f. τοὺς προδότας γὰρ μισεῖν ἔμαθον, | κοὐκ ἔστι νόσος, | τῆσδ᾽ ἥντιν̓ ἀπέπτυσα (de- test) μᾶλλον. More frequent thus is pestis.

Ἀθηναῖοι: pl. proper names of peoples generally take the art., but may omit it. This omission here is easier because of the οἵ τε ἄλλοι, cf. 324 c.

ἀρετῆς τεκτονικῆς: “a matter involving the builder's art”; cf. 319 b.

μετεῖναι συμβουλῆς: have a right to give counsel.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Plato, Protagoras, 323
    • Plato, Protagoras, 319b
    • Plato, Protagoras, 320c
    • Plato, Protagoras, 324c
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