The excerpt represents the core issue or deciding factor on which you must meditate, and is drawn from Menexenus by Plato:|
Socrates to dance naked out of love for Menexenus, is any more un-Platonic
than the threat of physical force which Phaedrus uses towards Socrates.
Nor is there any real vulgarity in the fear which Socrates expresses that
he will get a beating from his mistress, Aspasia: this is the natural
exaggeration of what might be expected from an imperious woman. Socrates
is not to be taken seriously in all that he says, and Plato, both in the
Symposium and elsewhere, is not slow to admit a sort of Aristophanic
humour. How a great original genius like Plato might or might not have
written, what was his conception of humour, or what limits he would have
prescribed to himself, if any, in drawing the picture of the Silenus
Socrates, are problems which no critical instinct can determine.