Chapter 6

The Artist as Sophist

There is another side to Odysseus, that of the wandering sophist. Beginning from this aspect of the hero, we can identify the characteristic by which Baudelaire is corrupted and undone, as once his ancestor Euripides too suffered condemnation at the hands of a judging god.


§6.1 The sophist: wanderer, angler, hooker

“I always had an extreme desire,” wrote a philosopher, “to learn to distinguish the true from the false, in order to see clearly in my actions and walk with assurance in this life.”[1] Such learning was accomplished by Homer’s Odysseus, who overcame the actor in him to become again the man of home and family. Not satisfied with this resolution, literary tradition has established two Odysseuses, both of them suggested in the first line of the Odyssey by the ambiguity of the versatility ascribed to the hero. There is resourceful Odysseus, lover of knowledge, a suffering stranger who strives to bring his comrades home; and there is tricky Odysseus, lover of gain, a footloose wanderer who cares little for any companion. The one, who predominates in Homer, is rather philosophical; the other, who can be seen in Sophocles’ Philoctetes, is rather sophistical.[2] In view of chap. 5 we may say that in the Odyssey philosophical Odysseus hunts down sophistical Odysseus, pursuing him like Proteus through his changes and finally exposing him, while himself coming to light as well.

This account recalls Plato’s Sophist, in which a “very philosophical” Stranger undertakes to flush out the sophist from his dark retreat; the more so because references to the Odyssey at the beginning of that dialogue allude to advice (given to the Cyclops and to Antinous) not to mistreat Odysseus, because there might be something divine about him—as there is about philosophers, according to Theodorus and Socrates. But it may be as hard to recognize philosophers as to recognize gods, we are told, while to grasp what the sophist is, is not the easiest thing to do.[3] Then the achievement of Odysseus, who found both in himself and chose between them, is an impressive one, which I have already proposed as worthy to be ranked with the labors of Heracles. However that may be, he has shown us that the danger of masks, of vaporization, itself takes on different forms: what is prostitution for Baudelaire is wiles and sophistry for Odysseus. Yet one strolling player is much like another: the sophist both wanders about in search of gain and plies his trade among the young men in the cities.

Wandering, acting, prostitution, and sophistry are united in the term ἀλαζών, alazōn, meaning a vagabond; a charlatan, especially a sophist; a braggart, a shameless person, an impostor; and with corresponding senses as an adjective. While it is not Homeric, the idea it expresses and words similar in form (especially the verb ἀλάομαι, “wander”) are prominent in the Odyssey, where a “wanderer” is unfortunate or contemptible, likely a beggar, possibly dangerous, and not to be trusted.[4] The swineherd comments that “wanderers in need of sustenance tell lies and do not desire to speak truth”—with a play on “wanderers” (ἀλῆται) and “truth” (ἀληθέα).[5] And when the Cyclops first addresses Odysseus and his men, he asks whether they are traveling on some business or “wander with no fixed course over the sea, as pirates do, who wander hazarding their lives and bringing evil to men of other lands.”[6] Since Nestor makes the same inquiry of Telemachus, we may take it to be a natural one.[7] —Later literature makes good use of the word alazōn. In Aristophanes’ Clouds, Strepsiades wants to learn from the sophists to be alazōn (among other things), while in Plato’s Phaedo Simmias condemns arguments which have that nature; in Aristophanes’ Frogs, Euripides calls Aeschylus alazōn, a pretentious showman, not a sincere dramatist; and Pericles, reports Plutarch, was accused of decking out Athens like a woman of that sort—that is, a shameless, wanton one. His companion, of course, was the celebrated Aspasia, named harlot and madam by his enemies. That in which sophist and prostitute alike traffic is briefly characterized by Plato (in the voice of Protarchus): pleasure, says he, is the most alazōn of all things. And Lucian’s “Frankness,” enemy of pretended philosophers, calls himself misalazōn, alazōn-hater.[8]

Although the pleasure offered by a charlatan is meretricious, it attracts by standing in the place of genuine eros, amatory or philosophic. The sophist Gorgias, says Socrates ironically, in Thessaly “has seized upon the leading men as lovers—for wisdom.” Then a sophist is a hunter, for any would-be lover will be one, as Ovid explains in the Art of Love. “She will not come floating down to you through the tenuous air, she must be sought, the girl whom your glance approves. Well knows the hunter where to spread his nets for the stag, well knows he in what glen the boar with gnashing teeth abides; familiar are the copses to fowlers, and he who holds the hooks is aware in what waters many fish are swimming; you too, who seek the object of a lasting passion, learn first what place the maiden haunts.” [9] In Plato’s dialogue this hunter is hunted, and first of all by association with the angler, or hook-fisherman, who is tracked down to illustrate the method. Here “hook” is ἄγκιστρον, from that root ank we met before (at nn. 2.33, 3.5), which alludes to curvature and suggests necessity; the word may well imply what we have already recognized, that the sophist is a hooker.[10]

As a hooker I cited in §4.1 (at n. 4.15) the “specter” that accosts the passerby in “Les Sept Vieillards”—himself a flâneur, a term related to other Greek words for wandering (the family of planē, whence “planet,” a wandering star). He is hooked in a very watery city, where the streets are canals or swollen rivers. “Stiffening [his] nerves like a hero,” he sees an old man in yellow rags, color of the rainy sky, “his spine / Making with his leg a perfect right angle”; then six more: the angles, resembling the V of Vieillard, add up to the hook-shaped number 7.[11] He is hooked on them, and his soul goes straying, dancing “over a monstrous sea without shores,” like an “old barge”—as though his anchor, ἄγκυρα, another kind of hook, had lost its grip. Here again the worlds of the dead and the living have intersected—“in broad daylight”—as when, after the great battle, the sea off Salamis was filled with bodies “in their twofold cloaks adrift,” πλαγκτοῖς (Parmenides’ word, above at n. 2.44) ἐν διπλάκεσσιν.”[12] The city is hellish, a place of dreams, specters, apparitions, punishing repetition. Taking you by the elbow the specter makes ready the torture practiced by the terrible Mezentius of the Aeneid, who would “yoke dead bodies with the living, joining hands to hands and mouths to mouths…, and in the oozing bloody slime and poison of that wretched embrace thus slay them by a lingering death,” and the state of the poet in the poem as a whole is like Antigone’s, who calls herself “unhappy one, living neither among mortals nor as a shade among the shades, neither with the living nor with the dead.”[13] Not only has the boundary between living and dead failed, the world of the poem exhibits everywhere a general indefiniteness. The city is swarming, full, fluid, misty, flooded with fog, shaking; heights are exaggerated, uncertain, the seeming river is swollen. Within this vagueness the old men multiply absurdly and without apparent limit, indistinguishable one from the other, in meaningless repetition. And on the boundless sea one place is like another, a space is neither long nor short; so reason, logos, which discriminates and articulates relations, cannot guide. The would-be hero is undone, like a sailor of antiquity.

§6.2 Sophistical confusion: loss of distinction

Now we were led to this Baudelairean world of water and hooking by the search for the angling sophist. Missing from it are distinctions; and these are the very things Plato’s dialogue is rich in. It exhibits what the Parmenidean “tribes” lack, the “diacritical art,” διακριτική τέχνη, the art of separating, of making distinctions (above at nn. 2.45–47). The Stranger aims to catch, or define, the angler or the sophist—whom he calls a “tribe”—by a process of successive division of classes, choosing always the part in which he is to be found, and so narrowing down upon him.[14] For example, the first few steps toward the angler are as follows, where each division selected is in italics: (1) men with an art / men without an art, (2) productive art / acquisitive art, (3) voluntary acquisition (by exchange) / coercive acquisition (conquest or management), (4) fighting / hunting.[15] Clear boundaries are established, categories not of interest are discarded, and the object of the search is located more and more accurately and at last identified. Without these boundaries, there is only a formless expanse; the sophist endeavors to evade them, and is said to “steal down into a place with no passages, no way out (ἄπορον),” to “run away into the darkness of non-being.”[16] That is a country to awaken Baudelaire’s horror of the gulf, the abyss, of holes, of the limitless sea; and our poet’s hysteria before the deep gaze that crosses the boundary between living and dead. Indeed, beholding the old clown who is affublé, “hooked up” (above, after n. 2.58) like a prostitute, in his bright rags and (we may assume) cap and bells, he has before him an image of sophistry in literature, for “having bells hung everywhere is just like a sophist,” observes Longinus, talking of poetry which shows excessive use of plural for singular—which practices meaningless repetition—in order to impress.[17]

If to flee to non-being is to validate what is not, then sophistry is confusion, in a practitioner as in his victims. They take the route deplored by Parmenides’ goddess (above at n. 2.43), where, their minds adrift as helplessly as the poet’s soul in “Les Sept Vieillards,” they wander beneath the “cyclops moon” like Odysseus imperiled by the allegiance to nothingness his one-eyed host required of him.[18] Two heads are no better than one eye, each poses the dilemma of singular and plural that dooms an artist (§§4.2–3). Approaching an apparent beauty with careless confidence you are horrified to discover that

La femme au corps divin, promettant le bonheur,
Par le haut se termine en monstre bicéphale!

The woman with the divine body, promising happiness,
Ends at the top in a two-headed monster!

 Ah, but “what had at first enchanted your eyes was a mask, was the universal mask, your mask, my mask”; her “true head” weeps at the necessity of living—“like us.”[19]

In angling the prey is drawn over the boundary between water and air, out of life to death. That was Hermione’s intention in Andromache: to draw the suppliant up out of the sea-goddess’s shrine like a fish, so as to compass her death (above at n. 2.59). Taking the fish out of water cuts off its “breath”—grips the throat, so to speak. I noted above (at n. 4.14) that physical and artistic death are both consequences of this; with the sophist we can add philosophic death, the end of articulate thought, the dissolution and vaporization of the logos itself. This consumption resembles, but is opposite to, the work of philosophy, which is like the fire that separated off the immortal part of Heracles (above at n. 3.34). Thinking of the neck-boundary from the Timaeus we can say further that the sophist pollutes. For the death he promotes, accomplished with the bait of pleasure, is also contamination of the immortal with the mortal (above at n. 4.6). Showing children pictures at a distance the imitating, entertaining sophist lures them away from what is real—this is the corruption that menaces Theaetetus.[20] As the prostitute resembles the lover, and the sham artist the true, so the sophist engages in a kind of “cross-examining” or “refuting,” speech which purges and purifies in the hands of Socrates, but (as the Stranger suggests) in the sophist’s practice resembles nothing so much as the refutation of the lamb by the wolf in Aesop’s fable.[21]

Thus into the upper-class realm of the immortal soul the sophist imports the rough manners of the commons. Like the prostitute, he will serve anyone with money, and his art makes everyone equal, in the way firearms once threatened to do in Japan, until the nobles banned them. Equipped with it, anyone can refute anyone, seem to know about anything; soon one has the boisterous Athens described in the Republic, or the unstable world of Clouds.[22] Distinction is lost. In short, sophistry belongs to the anthill city (above at n. 4.15), which, whether formally democratic or not, offends the aristocratic dandy by its undifferentiated multitudes, and horrifies the poet by its boundless sameness. The multiplying vieillards, individually hooks and collectively a hook, draw a would-be man of distinction into their hell of sterile pleasures and empty talk. “They’re all alike, those people”—they provoke the eternal cry of the aristocrat, racist, and xenophobe in fear of submersion. For the undiscriminating vulgar are barbarous: “All the barbarian kind are like that,” exclaims proud Hermione to enslaved Andromache, “father lies with daughter, son with mother, and sister with brother, nearest kin go and murder each other, and no law or custom (νόμος) prevents these things. Do not introduce them among us.” [23]

Loss of distinction is the fate of the artist who, assuming pleasing masks, is assimilated to the crowd. After long deception Odysseus could not easily be differentiated from another vagabond teller of tales; likewise the philosopher who conducts examinations in the marketplace is in competition with the sophists he despises: they contest for the same prey and refute in similar fashion. Notwithstanding the logical method which brings his objects into focus, the Stranger has difficulty in telling the two apart. The world of men, which is not of the philosopher’s making, continually tempts him to apostasy; and even if he avoids that, he will be perceived as fallen away from the truth. So Aristophanes ridicules Socrates as the type of the sophist. Does the comic poet know better? Does he really think there is a “better” to be known? It hardly matters. Rejecting the distinction which the philosopher would claim to be all-important, he is taking the style of talk for the substance of it. Socrates is condemned as public performer, condemned out of his own mouth. After all, he says himself that he wandered about—even if it was as one “laboring at his labors/sufferings” (πόνους … πονοῦντος), like another Heracles (§3.4).[24]

§6.3 Euripides and Baudelaire condemned

Among tragedians Socrates is said to have favored Euripides, who also faced the hazard of uncertain demarcations. That “There’s no art / To find the mind’s construction in the face” is a prominent theme in his dramas, as when a chorus laments the lack of a god-given sure boundary-marker (ὅρος) between good men and bad.[25] Yet his Heracles well knows the difference between life and death, friend and foe: the hero corrects Admetus when the latter confounds the living and the dead in speech, and himself confronts Death as a familiar enemy. Alcestis restored, Admetus fears that she may be only a phantom from the underworld, but Heracles replies that he is no ψυχαγωγός—no “soul-guide,” i.e. no raiser of dead souls, but also no persuader, misleader, deluder—no practitioner of the double art Aristophanes will impute to Socrates. Only god-sent madness makes him err.[26]

Clear-thinking Heracles cannot save Euripides from the comic poet. Sophocles remarked that he himself created characters as they ought to be, Euripides as they really are.[27] Then Euripides, like a modern poet, takes on the masks of the real living crowd; and as Aristophanes portrays him in Frogs and elsewhere, he rather resembles Baudelaire. Indeed, (1) he’s the “poet of beggars,” “poet of cripples,” of vagabonds, of the lame and the ragged—compare Baudelaire’s old men and women, his allusion to Oedipus (the swollen-footed), his swan and négresse, albatross, “limping days,” not to mention stumbling drunken Poe.[28] (2) He introduces “unholy marriages” and “domestic affairs” into his works, instead of virtuous, heroic, or fabulous doings—as Baudelaire has his whores, lesbians, disgraceful domestic scenes, street urchins, and so forth.[29] (3) In his plays Aphrodite appears “much too much,” revealing the low life of sex which should be hidden; Baudelaire is notorious for this. In fact Euripides borrows from the songs of prostitutes. He produces his lyrics in the fashion of the “twelve-trickery” of Cyrene, a well-known prostitute—her system would seem to qualify her for Ovid’s praise of experienced women: “As you like it they will couple (venerem iungunt) in a thousand ways; no picture could devise more modes than they.”[30] If so, the poet is indistinguishable from his low subjects. Close enough to the crowd to see and depict it, he is truly of it. (4) Not only does he show women at their worst, he speaks ill of them in general, heaping abuse upon them and revealing their artful devices. Baudelaire too evinces misogyny in poems and other writings.[31] (5) Finally, like Socrates, Euripides corrupts the public morals, instructing the people in sophistry and making them worse than they were before. He teaches that the true gods do not exist, and worships new ones. Baudelaire was convicted of “outrage to public morality and accepted standards of behavior (bonnes mœurs),” in view of the “baneful effect of the pictures he presents to the reader”; he was also accused, though not convicted, of an assault on religious morality, as in his praise of Satan.[32]

And like Baudelaire, Euripides is condemned by a court of questionable probity. For most of these charges are brought against him by Aeschylus in the poetry contest in Hades judged by the god Dionysus—he that in Euripides dooms Pentheus (above at n. 4.24)—here a comic chameleon-like figure and mock-Heracles, perhaps representing “a fickle, wayward Athenian of the time,” or else “a caricature of the Euripides-loving intellectuals.”[33] Having just learned that victory means release from the underworld, and fearful that it will not go to him, Euripides appeals to the god, claiming a prior oath of support (unknown as such in the play); but Dionysus chooses his rival, quoting from Euripides’ own line, “The tongue has sworn, the mind (or heart) is not sworn.”[34] This mocks another hero, the pure Hippolytus who uttered it; out of context it suggests that oath-breaking is justified by mental reservation, and this supposed sentiment of the character is turned against his creator. By introducing a sophistical distinction, Dionysus implies, the playwright has wickedly erased a moral distinction in the mind of his audience. In outrage Euripides bursts out with ὦ μιαρώτατ’ ἀνθρώπων, “you most stained (with blood), defiled, polluted, of men”—of men, not of gods, for the corruption he finds in Dionysus’s soul means nothing less than mortality (chap. 4); thus Achilles to Odysseus, later echoed by Odysseus himself, “Hateful in my eyes as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his mind and says another,” or the door called the gates of Hades through which deceitful Clytemnestra leads Agamemnon to his doom.[35] The poet’s desperation is near-hysterical, at least, and as we might have expected it is called forth by the specter of ineluctable death revealed beneath a clownish semblance.

The judge is unmoved.

Euripides: After doing this disgraceful deed you look me in the face?
Dionysus: What’s disgraceful, if it doesn’t seem so to the spectators?
Euripides: Heartless brute, you’ll look coolly on at (lit. look over or overlook) me dead?
Dionysus: Who knows if living is dying, / breathing dining, sleeping a fleece?

Dionysus’s first question, and the first line of his second, are adapted from Euripides. In the first question his “spectators” replaces Euripides’ “doers” (of the deeds called disgraceful). The audience that Dionysus represents have chosen Aeschylus, whom Euripides called alazōn (above at n. 8); what is worse, they look on Euripides as one of them, as if expecting one whore to approve the choice of another. From outrage at this look which exposes his hollowness he passes to horror at being overlooked as a dead man, or rather a dead artist. This is the culmination of his hysteria; on the word “dead” his voice is cut off, he speaks no more in the play. But Dionysus fills the silence with a fatal line that disavows the most essential distinction, followed by an echoing line of jingling empty speech. A moment later the Chorus will attribute Euripidean sophistry to the influence of Socrates.[36]

On the way to this judgment Euripides offered the verse οὐκ ἔστι Πειθοῦς ἱερὸν ἄλλο πλὴν λόγος [Persuasion has no sanctuary other than speech], to which Aeschylus replied with μόνος θεῶν γὰρ Θάνατος οὐ δώρων ἐρᾶι [For alone of the gods Death is not in love with gifts].[37] In view of Baudelaire’s “la Mort … n’est-elle pas une courtisane dont les embrassements sont positivement irrésistibles?” (above at n. 4.29), this exchange can stand as an emblem of our theme. For the Baudelairean poet must offer poetic speech to the audience, as the only way of pleasing, of persuading them to acknowledge that he is an artist; he means also to bribe them to keep away, to admire the gift and spare the giver, who can live only in privacy. But empty words fail to conceal failure, the sophist’s dark retreat becomes the gouffre, abode of non-being; the sacrifice cannot keep off the constraining embrace, and in anguish the poet sees that the implacable god will have his way.

[1] Descartes, Discourse on the Method, Part I (penultimate paragraph).

[2] For other representatives see W. B. Stanford, The Ulysses Theme (Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1968). Heracles, to whom Odysseus was compared at the end of §5.2, also has an alternate unfavorable characterization, as a comic glutton: see, e.g., Aristophanes’ Birds 1583–1692. In view of this, Baudelaire’s simian strongmen are right at home in his festival of overfullness (text above at n. 4.7). But Heracles’ appetite is a simple joke, while the sophistry of Odysseus is a deep theme. With regard to Odysseus as philosophical see n. 18 below.

[3] Plato, Sophist 216a–d, 218b–c, 239c, 254a, etc.

[4] Chantraine, s.v. ἀλαζών, does not suggest an etymological relation between ἀλαζών and ἀλάομαι.

[5] Odyssey 14.124–125. Cf. the play Ἀλήιον / ἀλᾶτο (Iliad 6.201)—Bellerophon in Wanderland (text above at n. 2.48)—and n. 6 below. See also Odyssey 11.363–366.

[6] Odyssey 9.252–255. Here assonance of λ in combination with α and other vowels associates “wanderer,” “pirate,” “sea,” and “foreigners.” Cf. 503–505, where ἀλαωτύν, “blinding”—the evil Odysseus brought to the Cyclops—has similar resonance. As in nn. 2.28 and 2.41 above, lambda marks alternative fortunes.

[7] Odyssey 3.71–74. “But contrast Nestor’s polite postponement of such questions … with the Cyclops’ boorish directness”: Stanford, Odyssey, note to 9.252–255.

[8] Clouds 449, cf. 102; Phaedo 92d; Frogs 909; Plutarch, Pericles 12.2, 24; Plato, Philebus 65c; Lucian, The Dead Come to Life, or The Fisherman 20. Shamelessness and wandering are already associated in Iliad 8.482–483. Aristotle reports a claim that the term “comedians” (kōmōdoi, comic performers) is from the villages (kōmai) through which the players wandered when driven from the town: Poetics 1448a35–38. Wanderers are everywhere suspect: Cain was one.

[9] Plato, Meno 70b; Ovid, Ars amatoria 1.43–50 (the LCL translation has “hook … places … maidens haunt”). See also Xenophon, Memorabilia 3.11.5–10.

[10] With a cognate, the word is used six times from Sophist 220c to 221b. On this subject see Michael Comenetz, “Aspasia in Athens, Egypt, and Wonderland,” Classical and Modern Literature 26 (2006): 111–137.

[11] As to these shapes of this decisive encounter recall nn. 2.28, 2.41, and 6 above. The eighth old man, who does not appear, would be a “Sosie …, fils et père de lui-même,” [Double …, son and father of himself] perhaps partly because of the double loop of the numeral 8. Sosie is the valet in Molière’s Amphitryon (after Sosia in Plautus’s play of the same name, itself presumably from a Greek original), hence brings to mind the hero Heracles.

[12] Aeschylus, Persians 272–277.

[13] Aeneid 8.485–88 (at his own death Mezentius asks to have his body laid in earth, 10.902–904); Antigone 850–852.

[14] Art: Sophist 226c, 231b; tribe: 218c.

[15] Sophist 219a–e.

[16] Sophist 239c, 254a (the words for “darkness” are cognate with σκότος: see above, n. 5.20). The bateau ivre [drunken boat] of Arthur Rimbaud, advocate of disorder, will break free into such an expanse: “Le Bateau ivre,” in Œuvres complètes, ed. Antoine Adam (Paris: Gallimard, Pléiade, 1972), 66–69.

[17] τὸ πανταχοῦ κώδωνας ἐξῆφθαι λίαν σοφιστικόν: Longinus, On the Sublime 23. This is well translated as “A richly caparisoned style is extremely pretentious”: Longinus on the Sublime, ed. W. Rhys Roberts (Cambridge University Press, 1899), 109. Cf. Aristotle, Rhetoric 1407b32–35. —In Lorenzaccio (4.4; above, n. 4.25) the Marquise de Cibo scornfully condemns her brother-in-law the cardinal to his face: “Caesar has sold his shadow (or shade, i.e. soul, ombre) to the devil: this imperial shadow walks about affublée in a red robe, under the name of Cibo … To rule Florence by ruling the duke, you would make yourself a woman in a moment, if you could.” (Recall Baudelaire’s comment on Flaubert, text above at n. 1.10.) The living-dead sham churchman is a would-be prostitute.

[18] “Cyclops moon”: Parmenides 10.4. Parmenides’ poem is related to, perhaps modeled on, the travels of Odysseus: Mourelatos chap. 1, Gallop 5. Plato’s Parmenides represents young Socrates, who could track argument like a hound (128b–c), as nevertheless “fleeing in fear of falling into some deep of nonsense and being crippled (διαφθαρῶ, corrupted, destroyed)” (130c–d) when faced with the possibility of indiscrimination where he most wishes to understand. He is not yet trained, explains old Parmenides (135c–d).

[19] Baudelaire, “Le Masque,” Œuvres 1:23–24; Salon de 1859, viii, 2:678; quoted, 1:875.

[20] Sophist 234b–e.

[21] Sophist 230b–231a. Questioning soon reveals one’s opinions to be like those of wanderers (πλανωμένων). Aesop: Babrius and Phaedrus, ed. B. E. Perry, LCL (1965), 110–111, 190–193; see also La Fontaine, Fables 1.10.

[22] Republic 562a–563e; cf. Plato, Apology 23c. The many (hoi polloi), loudly praising and blaming, are the greatest sophist, necessarily: Republic 492a–d.

[23] Richard D. E. Burton, “Baudelaire, Belgians, Jews,” Essays in French Literature, no. 35/36 (November 1998/1999): 69–112, especially 97–100; Andromache 173–177. Cf. text above at nn. 2.46–47; Plato, Gorgias 465c–d; Aristotle, Politics 1277b3–7.

[24] Aristophanes, Clouds, passim; Plato, Apology 22a.

[25] Heracles 655–672, especially 669–670 (cf. 772–773); see also Medea 516–519, Hippolytus 925–931, Electra 367–385, 550–551, and cf. Lucian, The Dead Come to Life, or The Fisherman 46.

[26] Alcestis 518–529 (cf. 666), 843–854, 1127–1128, 1139–1146; Aristophanes, Birds 1553–1555; Euripides, Heracles 815ff (Hera sends Lyssa = Madness to drive Heracles to slay his wife and children). On ψυχαγωγός and cognates see LSJ and On Poetics (above, n. 4.23), 22. The Birds passage and Plato’s Laws 909a–c play on the double sense. With the clarity and struggle of (sane) Heracles contrast the incautious high-handedness of Apollo: sent under the yoke of servitude for avenging Zeus’s slaying of his son Asclepius who raised the dead by art, he interfered with the death of Admetus. In Aeschylus’s Eumenides (723–728) the Erinyes (Furies) accuse him of thereby destroying the ancient divisions, distributions, dispensations—the order of things. See David Kovacs’s Introduction to Alcestis in LCL and cf. Iliad 15.189, and on Apollinian blundering see Euripides, Electra 971–981, 1190–1193, 1244–1246, 1301–1312.

[27] Aristotle, Poetics 1460b33–34.

[28] Aristophanes, Frogs 841–846, Acharnians 410–479, Peace 146–148. “Poet (or maker) of beggars” is πτωχο-ποιός < πτωχός, a (cringing) beggar; “of cripples,” χωλο-ποιός < χωλός, lame. It is implied that the poet’s work produces real beggars and cripples, much as Socrates renders his interlocutors unfit for the life of the city—see the text at (5) just below. Euripides wrote about Philoctetes, Bellerophon, and Telephus, among others: Acharnians 411–434. Baudelaire: “Les Sept Vieillards,” “Les Petites Vieilles,” “Le Cygne,” “L’Albatros,” “Spleen” (“J’ai plus de souvenirs…”), in Les Fleurs du mal. Oedipus: “Les Sept Vieillards” 23–25, noted in Œuvres 1:1014; see also Burton, “Baudelaire, Belgians, Jews” (above, n. 23): 93–94.

[29] Frogs 850, 959, 1043–1044. Baudelaire: sundry poems of Les Fleurs du mal, including “Au Lecteur,” “Duellum,” “Les Sept Vieillards,” and “À une mendiante rousse,” and the prose poem “Le Joujou du pauvre” (Œuvres 1:304).

[30] Frogs 1301, 1327–1328, 1043–1056, 1079–1081; Ovid, Ars amatoria 2.679–680.

[31] Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 383–428 (cf. Euripides, Hippolytus 616–668, etc.); Baudelaire, “Bénédiction,” poem XXV of Les Fleurs du mal (“Tu mettrais l’univers…”), etc.; “Woman is the opposite of the Dandy. Therefore she must make one shudder. …Woman is natural, that is, abominable”: Mon cœur mis à nu, Œuvres 1:677.

[32] Plato, Apology 23c–30b; Aristophanes, Clouds, passim (with the Euripidean incest at 1371–1372 cf. text above at n. 23); Frogs 1008–1017, also 771–776, 954–958, 1062–1088; Œuvres 1:1182. Religion: Thesmophoriazusae 450–451, Frogs 889–894; “Les Litanies de Satan,” Œuvres 1:123–125—this and three other poems were called “a tissue of blasphemies” in the police report presented to the Minister of the Interior in July 1857: Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal: Les Épaves, ed. Jacques Crépet–Georges Blin, recast by Georges Blin and Claude Pichois, vol. 1 (Paris: Librairie José Corti, 1968), 400. On the portrayal of Euripides see David Kovacs’s Introduction to the LCL Euripides in vol. 1, especially 22–36.

[33] The Frogs, ed. W. B. Stanford (Houndmills: Macmillan Education, 1981), xxix-xxx.

[34] Frogs 1415–1421, 1467–1471; Hippolytus 612: ἡ γλῶσσ’ ὀμώμοχ’, ἡ δὲ φρὴν ἀνώμοτος (also quoted in Plato, Theaetetus 154d, Symposium 199a).

[35] Frogs 1472; Iliad 9. 312–313, Odyssey 14.156–157; Aeschylus, Agamemnon 1291 (formerly 1284; Cassandra names the door).

[36] Frogs 1474–1478; Dionysus’s first question is from Euripides’ Aiolos, fragment 19, no. 14 in Euripide, Tragédies, vol. 8, pt. 1 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, Budé, 2002), 32; Frogs 1491–1499. Socrates finds some value in the Euripidean original of Dionysus’s second question: Plato, Gorgias 492e–493a (the source play is uncertain). “Breathing dining (τὸ πνεῖν δὲ δειπνεῖν)”: “Sound rather than sense determines this,” avers Kenneth Dover in Aristophanes: Frogs (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), note to line 1477, but we see that the conjunction of necessities (text above at n. 2.50) sharpens the loss of life, while the repetition offends reason (text above after n. 13).

[37] Frogs 1391–1392. Euripides’ line is from his Antigone, fragment 170, no. 18 in Tragédies, vol. 8, pt. 1 (above, n. 36), 209; Aeschylus’s is from his Niobe, fragment 161, no. 82 in LCL Aeschylus II, 434. Three lines later Aeschylus writes, “From him [i.e. Death], alone of gods, Persuasion stands aloof.”