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οὗτος δ᾽ χρόνος κτλ. is still under the influence of εἰ. With ἆρ᾽ οὐ γέλωτ᾽ ἂν κτλ. cf. Phaedr. 249 D ἐξιστάμενος δὲ τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων σπουδασμάτων, καὶ πρὸς τῷ θείῳ γιγνόμενος, νουθετεῖται μὲν ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν ὡς παρακινῶν, ἐνθουσιάζων δὲ λέληθε τοὺς πολλούς, Theaet. 172 C, 174 C—175 B, Soph. 216 D and infra 517 D.

οὐκ ἄξιον κτλ. The prisoners are almost relieved to find themselves able to suppress their higher promptings and sink back into indolence and self-complacency.

καὶ τὸν ἐπιχειροῦντα κτλ. is a mani fest and touching allusion to the death of Socrates, whose fate was the most conspicuous example in Greek history of the principle here laid down. See Zeller^{4} II 1, pp. 223—227 and cf. VI 496 C, D notes Read in the light of another and even more momentous sacrifice, the sentence assumes a kind of prophetical import, like the famous passage about the λόγος θεῖος in the Phaedo (85 C, D). See Geddes's Phaedo of Plato pp. 280—283. The text is difficult to determine. If we retain λαβεῖν καὶ ἀποκτείνειν, ἀποκτιννύναι ἄν, we must either a regard ἆρ᾽ οὐλέγοιτ᾽ ἄν as equivalent to ἆρ᾽ οὐκ οἴει γέλωτ᾽ ἂν αὐτὸν παρασχεῖν καὶ λέγεσθαι ἄν, and take λέγεσθαι ἄν as equivalent to ἐκείνους ἂν εἰπεῖν, carrying on ἐκείνους as subject to ἀποκτιννύναι ἄν (Schneider), or b supply οὐκ οἴει, although these words do not occur after 516 C (J. and C.). The second solution is preferable to the first, but either is a tour de force. No satisfactory explanation of the infinitive ἀποκτιννύναι ἄν appears to be possible, and the immediate juxtaposition of the two forms of the infinitive is also in itself suspicious. A few inferior MSS read ἀποκτενεῖν for the ἀποκτείνειν and αὖ for the ἄν of A: but otherwise there is no important variant. The emendations proposed are (1) λαβεῖν, κἂν ἀποκτείνειαν (Ast), (2) λαβεῖν, καὶ ἀποκτείνοιεν ἄν (Stallbaum), (3) λαβεῖν, κἂν ἀποκτιννύοιεν (Cobet), (4) λαβεῖν, καὶ ἀποκτείνειαν ἄν (Baiter). The correction in the text appears to me not only easier, but more in harmony with Plato's fulness of expression. I suppose that the error arose thus. A scribe accidentally omitted ἀποκτιννύναι, and the infinitive was wrongly replaced after, instead of before, ἀποκτείνειαν. This would give λαβεῖν καὶ ἀποκτείνειαν, ἀποκτιννύναι ἄν, from which the change is inevitable to the text of A.

517A - 518B The simile of the Cave should be connected with the Line. The Cave is the visible world, the fire is the Sun, and the prisoners' journey towards the light resembles the ascent of the soul into the intelligible sphere, in which the Idea of Good reigns supreme. We need not wonder that the philosopher is unwilling to leave the light of thought for the darkness of practical affairs, or that he is dazed and confused when he does.

ταύτην κτλ. If we interpret the lower section of the line as ὁρατόν and nothing more, the following comparisons are involved:—(1) Fire=Sun: (2) Shadows of ἀνδριάντες and other σκευαστά cast by Fire = Shadows etc. of φυτευτά and σκευαστά cast by the Sun: (3) ἀνδριάντες and other σκευαστά in the Cave=φυτευτά and σκευαστά in the ὁρατόν: (4) the ascent from the Cave into the ὁρατόν=the ascent from the ὁρατόν into the νοητόν. The second comparison is of little or no importance, for the ἀπαίδευτος, of whose condition the Cave is an allegory, does not contemplate exclusively or even principally natural shadows of φυτευτά and σκευαστά (cf. VI 511 E note). Nor do the other comparisons exhaust the significance of the Cave as an allegory of ἀπαιδευσία. In order fully to apprehend its meaning, we must regard the lower section of the line as δοξαστόν in the sense of V 475 E ff. Plato himself does so: see VI 510 A note The shadows and originals within the cave will then symbolise δόξαι which are respectively twice and once removed from the truth which they seek to portray (see on 517 D), and the ascent from the Cave into the ὁρατόν will represent the soul's ascent from the δοξαστόν into the νοητόν—from the πολλά (in the widest sense) to the ἕν. Cf. 514 B and 532 B, C notes

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Plato, Sophist, 216d
    • Plato, Theaetetus, 172c
    • Plato, Phaedrus, 249d
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