Phaedrus HTML version

which in the Symposium mankind are described
as looking forward, and which in the Phaedrus,
as well as in the Phaedo, they are seeking to re-
cover from a former state of existence. Whether
the subject of the Dialogue is love or rhetoric, or
the union of the two, or the relation of philoso-
phy to love and to art in general, and to the hu-
man soul, will be hereafter considered. And per-
haps we may arrive at some conclusion such as
the following—that the dialogue is not strictly
confined to a single subject, but passes from one
to another with the natural freedom of conver-
Phaedrus has been spending the morning with
Lysias, the celebrated rhetorician, and is going
to refresh himself by taking a walk outside the
wall, when he is met by Socrates, who professes
that he will not leave him until he has delivered
up the speech with which Lysias has regaled him,
and which he is carrying about in his mind, or
more probably in a book hidden under his cloak,
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
THE PHAEDRUS IS closely connected with the Sym-
posium, and may be regarded either as intro-
ducing or following it. The two Dialogues to-
gether contain the whole philosophy of Plato on
the nature of love, which in the Republic and in
the later writings of Plato is only introduced play-
fully or as a figure of speech. But in the Phaedrus
and Symposium love and philosophy join hands,
and one is an aspect of the other. The spiritual
and emotional part is elevated into the ideal, to