Sunday, February 24, 2008


Chiasmus, Part III

Plato, Republic 6.494e, is an example of interlocking chiasmus:
...every deed, every word saying and doing...

...πᾶν μὲν ἔργον, πᾶν δ’ ἔπος λέγοντάς τε καὶ πράττοντας...
The same words in the following order would be an example of reflecting chiasmus:
...every deed doing and saying every word...

...πᾶν ἔργον πράττοντας καὶ λέγοντας πᾶν ἔπος...
A normal, non-chiastic arrangement of the same words would be:
...every deed doing and every word saying...

...πᾶν ἔργον πράττοντας καὶ πᾶν ἔπος λέγοντας...
Other examples of interlocking chiasmus in Plato's Republic are 2.370e, 3.390d, 6.500a, 7.536b, and 10.604d.

There is another set of examples involving ὁ μέν ... ὁ δέ. According to J.D. Denniston in his Greek Particles, "In ὁ μέν ... ὁ δέ, ὁ μέν normally refers to the first, ὁ δέ to the second substantive. But occasionally the order of reference is reversed." Denniston cites Thucydides 1.68.4, 3.82.7, and 4.62.2 and Xenophon, Anabasis 1.10.4 from Kühner-Gerth9 (who compare hic ... ille in Latin). This order being normal, deviation from it can reasonably be regarded as a variety of interlocking chiasmus. Plato has an interesting example at Republic 9.576d:
"What, then, as regards virtue, is a city ruled by a tyrant in comparison to a city ruled by a king such as we discussed at first?"
"Completely the opposite," he said. "For the one is best, the other worst."
"I will not ask," I said, "which of the two you mean. For it is clear."

Τί οὖν ἀρετῇ τυραννουμένη πόλις πρὸς βασιλευομένην οἵαν τὸ πρῶτον διήλθομεν;
Πᾶν τοὐναντίον, ἔφη· ἡ μὲν γὰρ ἀρίστη, ἡ δὲ κακίστη.
Οὐκ ἐρήσομαι, εἶπον, ὁποτέραν λέγεις· δῆλον γάρ.
Plato here defines the necessary condition for the employment of chiastic ὁ μέν ... ὁ δέ: this use is permissible whenever there is no possibility of error or doubt as to what each of the two refers to. Other examples of chiastic ὁ μέν ... ὁ δέ in the Republic are 2.360e-361a, 2.360d, 2.367b, 3.410b-c, 3.413b, 5.458b-c, and 7.518a-b.

Related posts:

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?