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Socrates’s Wife

July 13, 2010

Wife: So, Socrates, what did you do today?
Soc: Oh, you know, I hung around the market and talked with people.
Wife: Socrates, when are you going to get a real job?

Soc: You got a new hair cut, I like that!
Wife: You do?  Good!  What do you like about it?
Soc: Well, it’s beautiful.
Wife: Right, but what part is beautiful?
Soc: It’s really the whole that’s beautiful, you can’t break it into the parts and say that the parts are beautiful therefore the whole is beautiful.
Wife: Are you saying you don’t like it?
Soc: No, no not at all!  I think it’s beautiful?
Wife: You ought to be able to say what is beautiful about it if you think it’s beautiful.
Soc: Right, but I’m just saying that the whole is beautiful.  The beauty of the parts is a different beauty.
Wife: Are you saying that the parts are ugly?
Soc: No!  Just that their beauty is necessarily different than the beauty of the whole.
Wife: Why is it beautiful?
Soc: What is beauty, anyway?
Wife: You’re sleeping on the couch tonight!

Wife: I started reading a new book today, it just came out.
Socrates: Is it any good?
Wife: Yes, I like it already.
Socrates: What’s it about?
Wife: Well, it’s a detective story revolving around the Orestes story.
Socrates: Sounds like it could be good, but don’t you know that all writing is the death of ideas?  You can’t have a conversation with a book.
Wife gives Socrates a cold stare.
Socrates: What? What’d I say?

Wife: I was talking with Euphemia today about virtue.
Soc: Yeah?  What’d she think about it?
Wife: She thought it was good for people to have it.
Soc: What was good for people to have?
Wife: Virtue.
Soc: Yes, but what did she mean by virtue?
Wife: She meant, um…
Soc: Did she say something like “Virtue is the strength of the mighty?”
Wife: No, I think she thought that virtue was doing what you were supposed to do.
Soc: Doing what you’re supposed to do where?
Wife: In whatever role you’re in!  I don’t know, she didn’t say!
Soc: Like a politician being good at speech?
Wife: Yes!
Soc: Or a slave being a strong worker?
Wife: Yes, yes, okay?
Soc: But don’t you see that those are just many different virtues, and not virtue itself?
Wife: Get off it already!

Soc: I was thinking earlier today…
Wife: I don’t like where this is going.
Soc: And I think you really have a heart of gold, and not just in the noble lie sense.
Wife: I think you left Delphi too soon, the oracle was going to say you’re the biggest wise-ass in all of Greece.

Wife: Lamprocles got into a fight today at school.
Soc: He did?  What about?
Wife: His teacher said he was trying to have a philosophical discussion but annoyed the other kids so much that they slugged him.
Soc: Well didn’t he make it clear that the discussion was just for discussion’s sake?  That they shouldn’t get their tempers heated over a discussion?
Wife: I was going to ask you to talk to him, but I can clearly see that the problem cannot be the solution.

Soc: This cake is delicious!
Wife: Thanks, I baked it myself!
Soc: It’s terrible for me, and that it’s so delicious is deceptive of the harm it does my body, but it’s tasty nonetheless!
Socrates’s Wife leaves the table.
Soc: What? What’d I say?

Soc: Xanthippe, I’m sorry I upset you at dinner tonight.
Wife: Well, would you just try to think about people’s feelings before you speak?
Soc: Yes, I will.  You’re beautiful and I love you.
Wife: I love you too, Socrates.  Let’s go to sleep.
Soc: Okay.  Goodnight, my little melissa.
Wife: Goodnight, my little gadfly.
beat.
Soc: Have you ever thought about what love is?
Wife: That hemlock can’t come soon enough!

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