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[472a] for getting at the truth; since occasionally a man may actually be crushed by the number and reputation of the false witnesses brought against him. And so now you will find almost everybody, Athenians and foreigners, in agreement with you on the points you state, if you like to bring forward witnesses against the truth of what I say: if you like, there is Nicias, son of Niceratus, with his brothers, whose tripods are standing in a row in the Dionysium;1 or else Aristocrates, son of Scellias, whose goodly offering again is well known at Delphi; [472b] or if you choose, there is the whole house of Pericles or any other family you may like to select in this place. But I, alone here before you, do not admit it, for you fail to convince me: you only attempt, by producing a number of false witnesses against me, to oust me from my reality, the truth. But if on my part I fail to produce yourself as my one witness to confirm what I say, I consider I have achieved nothing of any account [472c] towards the matter of our discussion, whatever it may be; nor have you either, I conceive, unless I act alone as your one witness, and you have nothing to do with all these others. Well now, this is one mode of refutation, as you and many other people understand it; but there is also another which I on my side understand. Let us therefore compare them with each other and consider if there is a difference between them. For indeed the points which we have at issue are by no means of slight importance: rather, one might say, they are matters on which it is most honorable to have knowledge, and most disgraceful to lack it; for in sum they involve our knowing or not knowing who is happy and who is not. To start at once [472d] with the point we are now debating, you consider it possible for a man to be happy while doing wrong, and as a wrongdoer, since you regard Archelaus as a wrongdoer, and yet happy. We are to conclude, are we not, that this is your opinion?

Polus
Certainly.

Socrates
And I say it is impossible. There we have one point at issue. Very good but then, will a man be happy in wrongdoing if he comes in for requital and punishment?

Polus
Not at all, since in that case he would be most wretched. [472e]

Socrates
But if the wrongdoer escapes requital, by your account he will be happy?

Polus
Yes.

Socrates
Whereas in my opinion, Polus, the wrongdoer or the unjust is wretched anyhow; more wretched, however, if he does not pay the penalty and gets no punishment for his wrongdoing, but less wretched if he pays the penalty and meets with requital from gods and men.


1 These tripods were prizes won by dramatic performances supported as a public service by Nicias and his brothers, and they were placed in the precincts of the temple of Dionysus. The persons here mentioned are selected as instances of public men who won high reputation in their time through the pursuit of material wealth and influence.

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