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Lysis or friendship

“Lysis, or Friendship” - Plato
LYSIS
Menexenus. In the Charmides, as also in the Laches,
he is described as middleaged; in the Lysis he is
advanced in years.
The Dialogue consists of two scenes or conversa-
tions which seem to have no relation to each other.
The first is a conversation between Socrates and
Lysis, who, like Charmides, is an Athenian youth
of noble descent and of great beauty, goodness, and
intelligence: this is carried on in the absence of
Menexenus, who is called away to take part in a
sacrifice. Socrates asks Lysis whether his father and
mother do not love him very much? ‘To be sure
they do.’ ‘Then of course they allow him to do ex-
actly as he likes.’ ‘Of course not: the very slaves
have more liberty than he has.’ ‘But how is this?’
‘The reason is that he is not old enough.’ ‘No; the
real reason is that he is not wise enough: for are
there not some things which he is allowed to do,
although he is not allowed to do others?’ ‘Yes, be-
cause he knows them, and does not know the oth-
ers.’ This leads to the conclusion that all men ev-
by
PLATO
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
INTRODUCTION
NO ANSWER IS GIVEN IN THE LYSIS to the question,
‘What is Friendship?’ any more than in the
Charmides to the question, ‘What is Temperance?’
There are several resemblances in the two Dialogues:
the same youthfulness and sense of beauty pervades
both of them; they are alike rich in the description
of Greek life. The question is again raised of the
relation of knowledge to virtue and good, which
also recurs in the Laches; and Socrates appears again
as the elder friend of the two boys, Lysis and
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