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One other point: we must be very careful about the use of frank speech toward a friend before a large company, bearing in mind the incident in which Plato was involved. It so happened that Socrates had handled one of his acquaintances rather severely in a conversation which took place close by the money-changers', whereupon Plato said, ‘Were it not better that this had been said in private ?’ Socrates retorted, ‘ Should you not have done better if you had addressed your remark to me in private ?’ And again, when Pythagoras once assailed a devoted pupil pretty roughly in the presence of several persons, the youth, as the story goes, hanged himself, and from that time on Pythagoras never admonished anybody when anyone else was present. For error should be treated as a foul disease, and all admonition and disclosure should be in secret, with nothing of show or display in it to attract a crowd of witnesses and spectators. For it is not like friendship, but sophistry, to seek for glory in other men's faults, and to make a fair show before the spectators, like the physicians who perform operations in the theatres with an eye to attracting patients. Quite apart from the affront involved—which ought never to be allowed in any corrective treatment— some regard must be paid to the contentiousness and self-will that belong to vice ; for it is not enough to say, as Euripides 1 has it, that
Love reproved More urgent grows,
but if admonition be offered in public, and unsparingly, [p. 377] it only confirms each and every morbid emotion in its shamelessness. Hence, just as Plato 2 insists that elderly men who are trying to cultivate a sense of respect among the young, must themselves, first of all, show respect for the young, so among friends a modest frankness best engenders modesty, and a cautious quiet approach and treatment of the erring one saps the foundations of his vice and annihilates it, since it gradually becomes imbued with consideration for the consideration shown to it. It follows, then, that the best way is to
Hold one's head quite close, that the others may not hear it.3
And least of all is it decent to expose a husband in the hearing of his wife, and a father in the sight of his children, and a lover in the presence of his beloved, or a teacher in the presence of his students : for such persons are driven almost insane with grief and anger at being taken to task before those with whom they feel it is necessary to stand well. I imagine also that it was not so much the wine that caused Cleitus 4 to be so exasperating to Alexander, as that he gave the impression of trying to curb him before a large company. And Aristomenes, Ptolemy's 5 tutor, because he gave Ptolemy a slap to wake him up, as he was nodding while an embassy was present, thereby afforded a hold to the flatterers, who affected to be indignant on the king's behalf, and said, ‘If with all your fatiguing duties and great lack of sleep you dropped off, we ought to admonish you in private, not to lay hands on you before so many people’ ; and Ptolemy sent a goblet of poison with orders that [p. 379] the man should drink it off. So, too, Aristophanes 6 says that Cleon accused him because
With strangers present he reviles the State,
thus trying to exasperate the Athenians against him. This blunder, therefore, along with the others, must be guarded against by those who desire, not to show off, or to win popularity, but to employ frank speaking in a way that is beneficial and salutary. In feet, persons that use frank speaking ought to be able to say what Thucydides 7 represents the Corinthians as saying about themselves, that they ‘have a good right to reprove others’—which is not a bad way of putting it. For as Lysander,8 we are told, said to the man from Megara, who in the council of the allies was making bold to speak for Greece, that ‘his words needed a country to back them’ ; so it may well be that every man's frank speaking needs to be backed by character, but this is especially true in the case of those who admonish others and try to bring them to their sober senses. Plato 9 at any rate used to say that he admonished Speusippus by his life, as, to be sure, the mere sight of Xenocrates in the lecture-room, and a glance from him, converted Polemon and made him a changed man. But the speech of a man light-minded and mean in character, when it undertakes to deal in frankness, results only in evoking the retort: [p. 381]
Wouldst thou heal others, full of sores thyself!10

1 In the Stheneboea; cf. Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Eurip. No. 665.

2 Laws, 729 C. Also cited or referred to by Plutarch, Moralia, 14 B, 144 F, 272 C.

3 Homer, Od. i. 157.

4 The story is told in detail by Plutarch, Life of Alexander, chaps. l., li. (693 C).

5 Ptolemy V. Epiphanes (205-181 B.C.); cf. Polybius, xv. 31.

6 Acharnians, 503; cf. also lines 378 ff. and the scholium on 378.

7 i. 70.

8 Plutarch, Life of Lysander, chap. xxii. (445 D). The story is repeated in Moralia, 190 E and 229 C. A similar remark is attributed to Agesilaus in Moralia, 212 E.

9 Cf. Plutarch, Moralia, 491 F.

10 From Euripides; cf. Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag., Eurip. No. 1086; quoted also in Moralia, 88 D, 481 E, 1110 E.

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