A Comparison Between Socrates And The Minotaur Essay

1434 Words Dec 14th, 2016 6 Pages
The µῦθος of Theseus and the Minotaur is alluded to near the start of Plato’s Phaedo by the character Phaedo (58 B-C) to initiate a parallel between the µῦθος itself and the teachings of the character Socrates in the pages that follow. As the discussion between Socrates and his companions continues up until his death, this parallel becomes ever more clear, and by the end of the Phaedo it is reasonable to interpret the µῦθος as an analogy for the transition from life to death, where Socrates is counterpart to the Minotaur and the mechanism for his death is analogous to Theseus.
With regards to a comparison between Socrates and the Minotaur, this relationship can be perhaps accurately generalized as a comparison between any person and the Minotaur – at least in its earliest stages. The Minotaur was a beast half-man and half-bull that was the result Pasiphae mating with the Cretan Bull, this brought about by Poseidon punishing King Minos of Crete for his failure to sacrifice the Cretan Bull to Poseidon (Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 8-11). The result of this punishment, the Minotaur represents a repulsive and unnatural union between two elements – human and bull – not meant to be unified. This is similar to the way that Socrates interprets the union between the body and the ψνχή. Throughout many of Plato’s writings, Socrates places emphasis on the importance of the ψνχή, and on a separation of that importance from the needs of the body. This is evidenced in the Phaedo,…

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