The literary function of euthyphro.
We may begin with a brief summary of those passages which feature most frequently in the debate over Euthyphro's literary function. In the Euthyphro we witness a philosophical or even theological conversation between Socrates and Euthyphro. This conversation takes place outside the courts where Socrates is awaiting a preliminary hearing for the charge of impiety against him, while Euthyphro (a mantic by trade) is there prosecuting his own father for causing the death of a labourer in his employ (Pl. Euthphr. 4c-d). Euthyphro is bringing a charge of impiety against his father so as to cleanse himself of the miasma apparently accrued by his father's deed (4c). Socrates, on the other hand, is accused of corrupting the youth and failing to recognise the gods of the city (2c-3b). We can note that both cases concern impiety. After discussing his own case Euthyphro inquires about the nature of Socrates' case and who his accuser is (2b-c). In his eagerness to show his sympathy for Socrates, Euthyphro reveals that he too is scorned by the masses: they laugh at him when he offers his prophesies in the assembly (3b). Next we learn about Euthyphro's case against his father (4a-e). In particular, he proffers a 'great proof' that he is acting piously (5e-6a). For his 'great proof' Euthyphro cites the divine precedent of attacking one's father in the myth of the castration of Uranus and Cronus by their respective sons. Subsequently, Socrates ironically beseeches Euthyphro to impart some of his wisdom regarding the holy so that he can make use of it in his impending trial (4e-5d). Thus begins the dialectic on 'the holy' (to ooiov).
The scholarship on Euthyphro's literary function
Issues concerning the character of Euthyphro and his literary function in the text have generated an increasing amount of scholarly discussion in the last century. Nevertheless, I have not found any attempt to thoroughly take stock of the scholarship on Euthyphro's literary function. (1) Further, I hope to demonstrate that one view in particular has been overlooked by the majority of the scholars. Namely, the view put forward by James Adam in 1980 which claimed that Euthyphro should be understood as a caricature of popular attitudes towards the divine. (2) By contrast, most scholars see Euthyphro as more directly representative of certain religious attitudes. Thus, the scholarship is dominated by debate over whether Euthyphro exemplifies a rather out of date traditionalism or some eccentric religious sect. I shall argue that such views have failed to identify the way in which Euthyphro is representative: he is an exaggerated parody, not a typical example of, the class he represents. Ultimately, this error can help explain how much of the confusion over Euthyphro's literary function arose in the first place. Namely, he has been mistakenly identified as a life like portrait. To illustrate this error we will begin by examining the interpretations of three scholars: James Adam, William Heidel and John Burnet. This will also serve as a useful introduction to a more general analysis of the scholarship.
Adam's view incorporates features of Euthyphro's personality. He makes the following remark about Euthyphro: 'Implicitly believing in the creed of the Athenians as a rule of conduct ... a superior person in his own estimation, he is at once complacent and fanatical'. (3) It is, no doubt, Euthyphro's ardent and unblinking belief in the old stories that earns him the appellation 'fanatical.' In his 'implicit faith' in the myths, Adam finds the 'quintessence of.orthodoxy.' (4) Not so much, he continues, as a typical example of the orthodox, but as a satirical caricature. He describes his position thus:
Socrates has been accused of heterodoxy...[i]n particular he was blamed for setting sons against their fathers. Plato replies by giving us a picture of active and consistent orthodoxy in the person of Euthyphro. It is as if he had said: 'After all, you Athenians are not consistent: the creed which you theoretically believe you do not carry out in practice. If you did you would see what your creed leads to, look at Euthyphro: in living out his religion, which is yours, he becomes unfilial in his own person, to the extent of prosecuting his father for manslaughter: it is your own religion that is the traitor, for its consistent believers are worse that useless to the state (3c-d) ... Why then do you prosecute Socrates for seeking to replace your indifference by some new faith? (5)
Adam observes that many before Plato and Socrates had lamented the immorality of the gods in the old myths. Indeed, these criticisms came from poets as often as not. (6) But in the Euthyphro, Adam argues, Plato builds on this tradition of criticism and takes it even further: he illustrates the incompatibility of the old stories and 'what the ordinary public opinion of Athens pronounced to be right conduct'. (7) In this way Adam sees Euthyphro as a pointed illustration of the dangers of the received tradition. To put it succinctly: it is actually Homer who corrupts the youth, and Socrates alone who endeavours to save them.
William Heidel says that Euthyphro is 'employed primarily as a foil to set off the character and conduct of Socrates'. (8) While this contrast is evident in Adam, it comes increasingly to the fore in subsequent interpretations. Scholars have observed, for example, that while Socrates is a defendant, Euthyphro is a plaintiff; while Socrates claims ignorance, Euthyphro claims expert knowledge; while Socrates is doubtful about the myths (see 6a8-9), Euthyphro attempts to follow them to the letter. (9) Heidel goes on to present a view not entirely dissimilar to Adam's: Euthyphro represents the old-style unenlightened piety, which, notwithstanding his good intentions, leads to an impious case against his father. (10) Heidel develops Plato's apologetic agenda along similar lines to Adam, arguing that Socrates was accused of corrupting the youth and turning fathers against sons, but Plato levels this same charge back at the orthodox. (11) However, while Adam saw Euthyphro as a slightly ridiculous figure who caricatures traditional attitudes Heidel seems to take a different line. He emphasises Euthyphro's expertise as a religious 'professional' of sorts and argues that, if this expert cannot come up with a definition, then a fortiori the general public will be incapable of the same. (12) Euthyphro then typifies the common man by being a prime example of someone with orthodox religious attitudes, not as a caricature.
John Burnet, some twenty years later, goes against these scholars and ultimately sets the agenda for much of the subsequent discussion. (13) He firmly rejects the view that Euthyphro is representative of traditional Athenian attitudes. He argues that Euthyphro is actually 'an object of ridicule and suspicion to ordinary people' and thus to be distinguished from them. (14) Indeed, in claiming that he possesses a special wisdom Euthyphro is actually signalling his membership in some strange religious cult comparable to Orphism. As evidence Burnet suggests that Euthyphro may well have encountered mystics on Naxos where he had spent time on his family's farm (see 4c4). This island was one of the 'chief centres of Dionysiac worship', while the neighbouring Paros was host to many Pythagoreans. (15) In the passage where Euthyphro claims that he knows many other myths not known to the masses (6b) Burnet sees a 'clear indication that Euthyphro belongs to some peculiar sect.' (16) He identifies such esoteric stories as typical of the Orphics and Pythagoreans. (17) More pointedly, Burnet argues that Plato 'means us to think of Euthyphro as having nothing in common with Socrates' accusers.'18 Euthyphro considers himself as a kindred spirit to Socrates and he does not know Meletus nor that Socrates has even been indicted. Burnet fits this interpretation into the economy of the dialogue by suggesting that Plato sought to carefully distinguish Socrates' own views from the Orphics and Pythagoreans he was known to associate with, and to vindicate him from the odium occasionally attached to such unusual practices. (19) A. E. Taylor, who follows Burnet closely, presents this view succinctly, if not pointedly:
It was a duty of piety to [Socrates'] memory to make it clear that his views on religion were very different from those of a sect who found the 'deep things of God' in stories like those of the binding of Cronus and the mutilation of Uranus--tales which had nothing to do with the official worship of Athens and were repulsive to the ordinary Athenian.' (20)
Burnet says nothing specific against Adam's view that Euthyphro is a caricature. Rather, we get the impression that Euthyphro is an example of either orthodox or eccentric religious attitudes, of which Burnet favours the second alternative. Despite Adam, this supposition--that Euthyphro is an example of the class he represents--informs the majority of subsequent debate over the literary function of Euthyphro, (with the notable exception of Laszlo Versenyi). (21) Accordingly, the various views can be loosely divided into two camps which I will call the 'orthodox' and the 'eccentric' interpretations. On the orthodox view Euthyphro is (in some sense) a representative of orthodox attitudes; on the eccentric view he is unconventional or eccentric. (22)
To summarise the debate: the orthodox camp tend to see the contrast between Socrates and Euthyphro as a means of vindicating Socrates against the charge of impiety put forward by Meletus (and others). Thus Euthyphro is assimilated to Meletus and traditional religious attitudes. Here we can distinguish loosely between three different groups within the orthodox camp: (1) Some take Euthyphro as a pointed and exaggerated caricature of orthodox opinion; (2) others as an example of, or an expert on, traditional religious practice; (23) and (3) other orthodox interpreters see Euthyphro as out of date, or, in Teloh's phrase, a conservative anachronism. (24) Thus, unlike the first two groups, in the third view the literary function of Euthyphro is to criticise the almost irrelevant gods of old; and group (2), while not viewing Euthyphro as out of date, is similar to (3) in taking Euthyphro as an example, or a token of the type he represents.
The eccentric view detaches Euthyphro from Meletus and tradition: Euthyphro is scorned by the public, ignorant of Meletus and sympathetic to Socrates. These scholars too detect an apologetic agenda; again in terms of a contrast between Socrates and Euthyphro (at least, insofar as they do interpret the role of Euthyphro in the economy of the dialogue). Socrates is to be distinguished from the inductees of mystery cults, with whom he was known to associate. (25) This brings us to the view that Euthyphro, far from orthodox, is actually a sectarian priest of the Orphic sort. This reasonably popular view, pioneered by Burnet, was rebuffed by Furley only to remerge with Kahn (more on which below). (26)
But let us return to the error I mentioned at the beginning of this survey. In a word, Burnet has failed to properly take stock of the orthodox view, he has committed a straw man fallacy, and this fallacy has insinuated itself in many subsequent interpretations. Burnet characterised the orthodox view as holding Euthyphro to be a representative of orthodox attitudes who possesses an expert knowledge of traditional practices. (27) While this is true of, for example, Heidel, as we have seen it is not true of Adam. Accordingly, R. E. Allen is incorrect to remark, contra Adam, 'if you mean to attack "orthodoxy" to any purpose, you do well not to choose an eccentric as its representative'. (28) Rather, in Adam's view Euthyphro illustrates how traditional attitudes can lead to very unconventional actions. (29) As a caricature Euthyphro must be recognisably orthodox while also being an exaggerated parody of the same. With the notable exception of Versenyi the subsequent debate tends to go back and forth over the question of whether Euthyphro is a stand-in for tradition (or an out of date tradition) or not. So, not only has the view of Adam and Versenyi been often overlooked--even by orthodox interpreters--but there is to my knowledge no attempt from within the eccentric camp to counter Adam's view.
The general problem of Euthyphro's character should be reasonably clear: how do we harmonise his eccentric qualities with his orthodox ones? It seems to me the view pioneered by Adam is the most succinct solution to this issue. It is for this reason that I think the character of Euthyphro deserves a re-assessment. I hope to revive Adam's and Versenyi's view that Euthyphro parodies contemporary attitudes and develop a more detailed treatment of how Plato uses Euthyphro to illustrate his 'indictment' of contemporary attitudes towards the divine.
Let us now turn to some counter-arguments against the eccentric view. Firstly, I do not think these scholars have sufficiently taken stock of the textual evidence. Generally their interpretations are gleaned from the introductory exchange between Euthyphro and Socrates (2a-6b), but little is made of the ensuing dialectic--at least in terms of how they understand the literary function of Euthyphro's character. But clearly Euthyphro's definitions can tell us a lot about his orientation. As mentioned, Burnet and Taylor do attempt to situate the literary role of Euthyphro's character into a bigger picture. They identify an attempt to save Socrates from his association with mysticism. In fact, if we glance over the answers Euthyphro gives in the dialectic it is quite clear that they are very traditional. This is fatal to Burnet's contention that Euthyphro is anathema to tradition. Euthyphro asserts that holiness is what is loved by the gods and this definition dominates the dialectic from 5e to 11b only to reappear again at the end (15b), thus ringing in the dialectic. It hardly needs mention that this is an entirely commonplace sentiment that resonates with one of the regular lexical meanings of hosion, that is, 'approved by the gods.' (30)
As Furley argued convincingly, Euthyphro's subsequent answers are no less traditional. (31) Euthyphro claims that the holy is that part of justice concerned with tending or (12e) serving (13d) the gods (32) and, when Socrates presses him to say what the gods gain from our holy service to them, Euthyphro resorts to an almost formulaic response: Tipq ts Kai yspa Kai ... xapu that is 'honour, privileges and gratification' (15a10-1).
So too with the claim that Euthyphro qua mantic is an outsider. Simply put, the mantic was an institutionally recognised feature of Greek religion. Unlike Socrates and his strange daimonion Euthyphro largely claims to know what will come to pass (3b and e2), and this is not unusual. (33) More to the point, I do not think the claim that Euthyphro is a sectarian priest is compelling. We have already seen that the theme of mystery cults is quite incidental to the dialectic in the Euthyphro, which is rather oriented around traditional ideas, and we can note Furley's scepticism towards linking the mystic associations of Naxos to Euthyphro. He raises doubts about Burnet's attempt to 'button hole' Euthyphro through the cults associated with Naxos and Paros by questioning the historicity of these claims as well as their potential literary implications. (34) Certainly such external or historical indications need to be reinforced with textual evidence to carry weight. More importantly, I am not convinced that Euthyphro's attachment to the old stories is really all that eccentric. But this requires a little digression.
As mentioned, Burnet and Taylor interpret the literary function of Euthyphro as an attempt to save Socrates from his association with mysticism. In support of the claim that Socrates was actually in need of such vindication, Burnet cites a speech of Isocrates against a known critic of Socrates, Busiris. Isocrates laments the many sordid and immoral stories attributed to the gods by the poets and repeated by many, including Orpheus. (35) But it remains to be seen that the sort of attitude Isocrates is criticising was particular to mystery cults or even particularly unconventional. We need not go beyond the Euthyphro to dispel Taylor's claim that the old stories were 'repulsive to the ordinary Athenian.' (36) For at 6c Socrates mentions the pictures that adorn the Peplos carried up to the acropolis in the Panathenaea to illustrate just those castration stories Euthyphro has mentioned. Notwithstanding various attempts to emphasise the prevalence of more 'enlightened' attitudes towards the old stories, and notwithstanding the 'open-mindedness' of Greek religion, we should not follow these implications too far afield or assume that the spell of Homer was so easily dismissed. Classical Athens, for all its dynamism and progressive thinking, was still host to much conservatism and adherence to the 'old way,' the mos maiorum. Think, 'those who died at Marathon'. (37)
If the more conservative Athenian were to take exception to an intellectual, what better way to canvas this cause than through a religious charge? To be sure, Greek religion had nothing like a set text or a closed-door policy to new gods, but, on the other hand, it permeated almost all areas of Greek life. Most noticeable, the religious can be observed in its relevance to the city and the family: the gods could be emblems of traditional nomoi ('customs'). This, I submit, is as good as any place from which to launch an attack against the 'new learning'. Certainly in Aristophanes' Clouds Socrates is slandered as, and punished for, his disregard for the Olympians. (38) In the Apology Socrates explicitly claims something to this effect. He says that the Athenians have taken offence at his incessant questioning and with nothing better to say they revert to the 'stock charge' of inquiry into things in the sky and below the earth and failing to recognise the city's gods. (39) So too Plato's Republic clearly betrays a deep concern with, not so much contemporary religious practice, but Homer and Hesiod and the corrupting influence of their stories. (40) Thus, if belief in Homer was now passe, Plato seems quite unaware of it.
Most importantly, the Euthyphro exhibits a keen interest in the way in which the gods are portrayed in poetry. The dialectic in our dialogue is concerned with the claim that the holy is what the gods love from 7e to 11b. There are two refutations here and in both cases Socrates teases out the implications of this claim in terms of the concept of god it implies. First he argues that if (as Euthyphro thinks) gods fight with one another over moral issues, then they obviously lack a criterion for what is holy and thus 'what the gods love' fails as a definition (7e-8e). Then we get the famous argument regarding whether the god-loved is loved by the gods because it is holy, or whether it is holy because it is loved by the gods (9e-11b). This of course is the question of whether the gods appeal to external criteria in their judgments or simply judge by divine fiat. It should be obvious which option Socrates prefers. Nor is it hard to see how Euthyphro's fondness for the old stories of fighting gods is relevant here. Socrates' focus on the image of god persists in the remaining section of the dialectic: here the definitions revolve around what part of justice the holy is. At each refutation Socrates highlights an unfavourable implication Euthyphro's definitions have for our concept of a god. Euthyphro cannot call the holy 'tending to the gods' if this implies the gods can be improved by humans (13a-d); nor can he call it 'service to the gods' unless he can identify what special task the gods achieve with our holiness (13d-14b); and if the holy is prayer and sacrifice, Socrates asks what the gods actually gain from our merely human efforts (14d-15b). Clearly then the Euthyphro is concerned with the aspect of religion we find in poetry.
To return to the suggestion that Euthyphro is a sort of mystic, we can observe that since Burnet was writing we have uncovered the Derveni papyrus. If there is one thing this new find has revealed to us it is that the allegorical interpretations so familiar from the Hellenistic period actually go back to the Classical period. Against Kahn's somewhat surprising view that Euthyphro may have written the papyrus, the latter is actually fixated on naive and literal interpretations of the classics; not new-age allegory or mysticism. (41) This is why he prefaces his 'great proof' with the comment, 'Because people themselves recognise that Zeus is the most just of the gods ...' (5e). He does not attempt to argue from some esoteric point of view, but from accepted belief. In fact he hopes to persuade the jury. (42)
The foregoing should have raised some serious doubts about the eccentric view. But Burnet was certainly not wrong to perceive something strange about Euthyphro; and we find this strangeness manifest itself in the varied attempts to account for Euthyphro's character, from a conservative anachronism to a sectarian priest. It is precisely here that the economy of Adam's view shows its worth. There is indeed something striking about Euthyphro: he is a dramatisation of Plato's criticism of the old stories--a criticism that resonates throughout the dialectic. By attributing such an ardent conviction in the traditional stories to Euthyphro Plato caricatures the religious attitudes of his contemporaries and especially Socrates' accusers. He illustrates (in the fashion of an elenchos) that belief in the traditional gods can in fact lead to a transgression of traditional values. In this way Euthyphro is at once traditional and anathema to tradition. He exposes the contradiction within popular attitudes.
The Personality of Euthyphro
Euthyphro is not especially intelligent. Specifically, his particular brand of stupidity is marked by a mixture of naivety and arrogance that makes for an interesting variation on the familiar someone-who-thinks-they-know-what-they-don't. (43) His naivety emerges clearly in his response to Socrates at 3a6-9. Socrates has articulated an overtly ironic account of how wonderful Meletus must be for taking him to court (2b-3a, more on which below), but Euthyphro entirely misses the irony and wonders in full earnest if it is such a splendid thing that Socrates is being taken to court.
This naivety takes its most tangible or noticeable form in Euthyphro's all-too-transparent vanity. In particular he is inclined to bring the conversation back to himself and he leaps at the opportunity to brag. In modern terms we can call this 'egocentric', a trait, interestingly enough, often characteristic of (though certainly not limited to) children.
We see this in the opening lines of the dialogue. No sooner does Euthyphro ask Socrates what his business at the courts is than he mentions his own case: 'for you also aren't bringing a case like me [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]--note the emphatic pronoun]?', he asks (2a4). And again, on hearing of the religious charge against Socrates he is quick to mention his own situation--'Indeed, with me too ... [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] (3b9-c5)'-namely that he is ridiculed by the many as a madman even though his prophecies always turn out to be right. For some reason Euthyphro's peers cannot take him seriously. While some scholars have seen something radical and esoteric in this, I would sooner put it down to Euthyphro's naive vanity. Note his diagnosis of the ridicule he (and apparently Socrates) receive: 'it is because they are envious of all people like us', he says (3c3-4). (44)
This perceived envy needs to be understood in terms of Euthyphro's extremely high opinion of himself. We can observe his arrogance in the way that he explains his case. Although he is eager to allude to his case, he does not immediately tell Socrates whom he is prosecuting upon being asked, but instead he draws his answer out and mentions how unconventional he is. Thus, when Socrates asks who he is prosecuting, he says, 'Someone I am thought mad [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]--yet again [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]--to bring to trial [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]' (4a1). Euthyphro refers back to 3c2 where he remarked that 'they belittle me as a madman [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]' when he speaks in the assembly. In response Socrates makes a pun on [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which Euthyphro used in the sense of 'I prosecute' but which Socrates uses to mean 'I pursue': 'Why [are you thought to be mad]', asks Socrates, 'is he trying your patience, and giving you the run around?' (4a2, I attempt to render the pun with 'trying'). I have used two clauses to translate [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]; , which literally reads 'are you pursuing someone on the wing?' (or something to that effect), but actually means 'are you pursing an illusive quarry?'. Not to be outdone Euthyphro makes a pun of his own by taking [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in its literal sense of 'flying': 'Indeed, he is far from flying [or maybe 'running around'] because he happens to be very old' (4a2-3). Let us ruminate on this for a moment. Euthyphro is prosecuting his father of all people. Is he remorseful? Does he remind us of, say, a tragic hero torn between filial piety and the law of the gods?
On the contrary, he is making a joke about how old his father is. (45)
Socrates expresses his surprise that Euthyphro is prosecuting his father by saying that this is surely an issue only the most exceptionally knowledgeable would know about; not the masses or the man in the street, but 'someone presumably well advanced in wisdom' (4a11-b2). 'By Zeus! Well advanced indeed, Socrates' (4b3) is Euthyphro's response. In this way we see that Euthyphro is entirely aware of how bold he is to prosecute his father; indeed, he seems to gloat over it. What is more, the exchange we just looked over is absolutely typical of the dynamic between Socrates and Euthyphro: Socrates (rather transparently) appeals to Euthyphro's vanity and arrogance to make Euthyphro admit that he knows something and to draw answers out of him. These two things--an admission of knowledge and willingness to answer questions--are, of course, crucial ingredients of a Socratic Elenchus. (46)
Thus, once Euthyphro has related the details of his father's apparent crime Socrates says, 'In the name of Zeus, Euthyphro, do you really believe you know so exactly where the divine stands in regard to the holy and unholy?' (4e). Euthyphro's response is telling: 'Yes Socrates: I would be of no use, nor would Euthyphro stand out from the common man, if he did not have exact knowledge of all such things' (4e9-5a2). Such claims are ubiquitous in the so-called 'early dialogues', but they are scarcely so forthright. In a like manner, Euthyphro is conceited about his family's ignorance about such divine issue (4e1-2) and confident that he would out-argue Meletus, without further ado (5 c). In this way then Euthyphro exhibits a complementary, even symbiotic, blend of arrogance and naivety.
Now we come to Euthyphro's 'great proof'. This is (and has been) a very useful stretch of text for those interested in the character of Euthyphro. This speech opens the dialectic and is accordingly Euthyphro's first attempt at the 'what is the holy?' question. Euthyphro seems to gesture in the direction of a slightly more generalised definition by offering an open-ended list of crimes that ought to be prosecuted-whether 'murder or robbing temples or anything else of this sort' (5d9-10, italics added)--but it quickly becomes apparent that this is still geared towards his own particular case. He continues by insisting on the need to prosecute someone 'even if the criminal happens to be your father or mother'. Then he launches into what must be part of his prosecution speech for his coming trial. 'Behold the great proof [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] ... that this is so by law [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]--one that I have also told to others'. This bold claim to a 'great proof' puts us in mind of the sophists.47 Note that Euthyphro claims to show that he is in line with the law and tradition (despite what the others may think). Thus, he argues from popular opinion: 'Because people themselves recognise [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] that Zeus is the best and most just [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] ...' he begins (5e5-6a1).
Almost embarrassingly, Euthyphro's 'great proof' turns out to be an allusion to Zeus' rough treatment of his father (and Cronus' similar treatment of his father). This is almost embarrassing because it is not nearly as novel an observation as Euthyphro seems to think and, in fact, such stories are often appealed to as grounds for the need to criticise or correct this traditional portrait of the gods. (48) Xenophanes had lamented the immorality of the gods of the poets (fr. 11) and Solon the 'lies of the poets' (fr. 29), while Pindar and Euripides can deny that the gods could even do such shameful things. (49) More interestingly, we find something not dissimilar in Aristophanes' Clouds, a work that is very critical of the 'new learning'. (50) Here the archetypal 'Unjust' (or the 'Wrong') argument argues that justice does not exist since Zeus was not punished for his treatment of his father. We can note in passing the connection between Euthyphro and the sophists or, more exactly, with Aristophanes' anti-Socratic portrait of the sophists. Lastly, we may glance ahead at the education of the guardians in Plato's Republic, which largely reads like a systematic critique of Homer and his ilk. (51) Of all the numerous complaints Socrates levels against Homer it is the maltreatment by Cronus and Zeus of their fathers that takes pride of place at the beginning of the critique (Pl. Euthphr. 377e-378b).
In sum, Euthyphro is vain and naive, not least in his unblinking use of traditional stories. Popular ridicule merely spurs him on. The masses are simply ignorant, he assures himself. He does not seem malicious or inclined to subterfuge and in his earnestness he is a prime example of the Socratic dictum that no one does wrong willingly. Unsurprisingly then, he finds it very hard to admit his errors. (52)
Euthyphro and Meletus
We are now in a position to address more directly the literary function of Euthyphro. To this end I shall examine the comparison between Euthyphro and Meletus in this section and the comparison between the Euthyphro and the Clouds in the following section. Notwithstanding the various attempts to undermine any connection between Meletus and Euthyphro, the text, I argue, leaves little room for doubt. The points of contrast between Socrates and Euthyphro suggest this. One is a boastful accuser, the other an (apparently) modest plaintiff. In the context of this contrast Socrates resembles Euthyphro's father: the old men being accused. Conversely, Euthyphro resembles Meletus: the accusers. The relevant passage here is 2b6-3a5, where Socrates describes Meletus and his court-case to Euthyphro. I mentioned above that Euthyphro clearly demonstrates his naivety in failing to pick up on Socrates' irony. Here the irony is used as a thin veil to mask a very unflattering account of Socrates' accuser, Meletus. The central complaint emerges from contrasting Meletus' youth and inexperience with the seriousness of his allegation against Socrates, who is his senior by many years. In yet another irony, Meletus shows his own impiety by prosecuting Socrates for impiety; but let us turn to the text.
Socrates can scarcely say a single thing about Meletus without dwelling on his youth. Socrates claims to hardly know him since he is 'young and unheard of' (2b8). Next Socrates moves on to the nature of the charge against him (2c2-3a5). He mentions that it is 'no slight thing for a young person' to know such things (italics added); Socrates is apparently corrupting Meletus' 'peers', that is, the youth, and he denounces Socrates to the state 'as if to his mother'. Here the popular image of the state as a father is manipulated to cast Meletus as a 'taddle-tale' running off to mummy. Socrates tells us that Meletus alone begins his political career correctly. Then we come to the centrepiece of this would-be critique: Meletus, like the good farmer, will tend to the young (shoots) first and then move onto the elderly. Again Socrates is twisting a not uncommon notion by comparing education to farming. (53) We may note that Meletus, far from being the farmer, would actually be one of the tender young shoots. Indeed, the big problem with this image is that it is the older generation who must mould the younger, not some young upstart who works his way from the young to the old. In Demosthenes it is the state that is the farmer; thus it is the laws and customs that mould the young. (54) Perhaps in the present context--a dialogue about holiness--the farmer is a god. This would certainly underscore the irony of identifying Meletus as the farmer but, at any rate, we cannot doubt Socrates' disingenuousness in placing Meletus in so lofty a position as one who will be 'responsible for the greatest number of most important benefits for the state'. (55) Socrates then rounds off this section (with a chiasmus) by mentioning, again, how auspiciously Meletus is beginning his political career. (56)
We may also notice what is a typical Socratic irony. Socrates presents a role reversal whereby Meletus is the wise man ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and Socrates is the ignorant one. (57) This, of course, matches the central irony of the dialogue whereby Socrates poses as the would-be student to Euthyphro's wise teachings. More pointedly, we can observe that in the case of Euthyphro we have something of a caricature of Meletus: as Meletus is prosecuting Socrates, so too Euthyphro is prosecuting his father. Accordingly, as Euthyphro's actions betray his 'knowledge' of the holy (for example Pl. Euthypr. 4a-b), Socrates can make much the same claim about Meletus in the Apology. (58) The point of this comparison then is to emphasise or throw into relief the impiety of Meletus' prosecution. Meletus is behaving like someone prosecuting his father, a person whom tradition dictates he should show respect. He lacks just that sort of respect or reverence that is conjured up by the term [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which readily includes reverence for gods, parents and the dead. And yet he represents himself as an exemplary citizen ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). (59) However, the literary function of Euthyphro does more that highlight the impiety of Meletus. As I argue in the following section, Euthyphro can help us see more clearly how Meletus is a symptom of a systemic problem with Greek religion and that he and Euthyphro exemplify the very problem that Socrates is accused of.
Euthyphro and the Clouds
We have already seen how Euthyphro holds himself in high regard and in particular we can recall that he lauds his own forensic or rhetorical ability by claiming that he could easily out-argue Meletus. (60) We can add to this, not only the somewhat overconfident tone of his 'great proof', but the very words mega tekmerion, which seem to recall the sophist. (61) So too does Euthyphro's claim to 'demonstrate' or 'exhibit' (smSsiZqi) his account to Socrates (Pl. Euthypr. 9b6). This term can easily have an oratorical air to it. (62) It is not difficult to link this up with the Meletus we meet in the Apology. In that dialogue Socrates brands Meletus a cunning orator, who is only out to slander him. (63) But let us turn to the Clouds.
In this play Socrates is presented (lampooned, even) as a sort of arch-sophist. Aristophanes paints his portrait in broad strokes: Socrates rejects the old gods, inquires into things above and below the earth and teaches the 'unjust argument', that is, the wanton misuse of forensic oratory. Worse still, he teaches sons to beat their parents. (64) It is then, conspicuous that in the Euthyphro it is the all-too-traditional Euthyphro who is more familiar with the courts. Socrates, on the other hand, is a perfect stranger to the courts. Indeed, in the Apology he tells us that he has never been to court and that he is too old for rhetorical trickery. (65) We are reminded of this circumstance in the opening lines of the dialogue where Euthyphro wonders why Socrates has left his usual haunts (SimpiPaf) (66) in the Lyceum and Academy to come to court (Pl. Euthypr. 2a).
Further, Euthyphro recalls the unjust argument in his 'great proof'. Both these speakers look to Zeus' rough treatment of his father to justify their actions. (67) The big difference is that one is deliberately distorting myths and rejecting justice while the other is an ardent believer. And lastly, the most glaring similarity is that both Phaidipides and Euthyphro are disrespectful to their parents: the one under the banner of self-serving rhetoric, the other in the name of Homer. This, I believe, is the key to Euthyphro's literary function. Where Aristophanes, apparently drawing on a typical piece of slander, (68) links philosophy with moral corruption, Plato links Homer with the same. This is in fact not so strange a criticism to make against the old poets, as we have seen. What is new is the way in which Plato makes it. He shows a believer being led astray by Homer. He illustrates the danger of traditional myth from within, as it were, rather than discussing the problem from without (which he also does). It is then perhaps not Socrates who corrupts the youth, but Homer.
In this context it is interesting to note some of the rather irreligious aspects of Plato's otherwise apologetic portrait of Socrates. In the Apology there are no shortage of unconventional aspects to Socrates' attitude to religion. Socrates' god apparently requires him to go around questioning all and sundry, regardless of age or station, and to challenge their moral beliefs. In this he compares himself to a gadfly rousing a sluggish horse. (69) As Myles Burnyeat has it, 'the Apology is one long counter-indictment charging the Athenians with rampant injustice'. (70) Further, Socrates goes on to explain to the jury that he is actually immune from harm by the court because such external punishments cannot touch the soul. (71) Gregory Vlastos has argued that Socrates renders the gods 'unrecognisable' by insisting that they conform to an objective, rational standard rather than their famous divine caprice. (72)
It is conspicuous that these details emerge in a speech given against an allegation of impiety. This would also seem to be true of the Euthyphro, which is obviously linked to Socrates' trial. Here too there are clear signs of Socrates' subversive attitude to the traditional picture of the gods. Socrates matter-of-factly mentions his disbelief of the myths at 6a7-9. Perhaps more significantly, we have already seen how the dialectic revolves around the image of the gods or the way in which they are conceived. It is of course in poetry and art where we learn of the conception of the gods and in general it comes as no surprise that Socrates' suggestions tend to clash with tradition. He was put to death after all.
Yet at first glance it may seem strange that Plato would broach these issues in a dialogue that most would assume hopes to vindicate Socrates from the charge of impiety. However, an explanation for this apparent oddity is suggested by the foregoing interpretation of the literary function of Euthyphro: the criticisms of traditional religion we find in the Euthyphro are directly relevant to Plato's apologetic agenda. This dialogue at once calls into question the 'piety' of Socrates' accusers as well as demonstrating Socrates' commitment to saving his fellow man from this erroneous attitude towards the divine.
Socrates does indeed reject the traditional picture of the gods. Whatever else Aristophanes and Meletus accused Socrates of, Plato seems to agree with them on this score. But is this impiety? Perhaps it is. However, in this dialogue I suggest that Plato is at pains to illustrate, on the one hand, how traditional stories could lead to (conventionally recognised) impiety, and on the other hand, how Socrates struggled to liberate his contemporaries from such a quandary. The main problem of course is that Homer's gods lack fixed moral criteria. So if Socrates was impious, it was in the service of an apparently higher piety. Certainly, one cannot miss his repeated insistence on living in accordance to the dictates of the gods. But these are not quite the gods of Euthyphro and Meletus, the latter of whom interestingly enough prosecuted Socrates on behalf of the poets (23e).
Euthyphro, I have suggested, is an exaggerated parody of contemporary belief which highlights the danger of Homer's gods. Socrates was prosecuted for failing to recognise the gods; Euthyphro illustrates what recognition of these gods might lead to. Euthyphro is a somewhat ridiculous figure, but this is no less true of Aristophanes' Socrates. And this caricature still managed to damage Socrates despite being a ridiculous exaggeration. (73) Perhaps in a sense then the Euthyphro is Plato's answer to the Clouds: while the Clouds presents Socrates as an irreligious teacher of rhetoric who makes Pheidippides strike his own father, the Euthyphro presents a deeply committed theist, who lauds his rhetorical ability, prosecuting his own father; and while Aristophanes joins the 'new learning' with the impious abuse of one's father, Plato shows how a similar impiety can come from the old poets who Socrates takes issue with. (74) Far from corrupting the youth, Socrates is trying to save them.
In Euthyphro's ardent belief in traditional stories, we find a pointed exaggeration, a caricature, of conventional attitudes and beliefs concerning the gods. These same beliefs are criticised in the dialectic between Socrates and Euthyphro. While the dialectic attacks these views at a conceptual level, the portrait of Euthyphro illustrates the harm such beliefs can bring about. More precisely, Plato's portrait recalls some of the standard criticisms leveled at intellectuals in general and Socrates in particular. In this way Plato attempts to illustrate not only that Socrates' attitude towards the divine is not harmful or bad, but that the danger attached to intellectuals can actually come from traditional attitudes. In this way and for this reason, Euthyphro resembles Strepsiades and the Unjust argument as well as Meletus.
The University of Auckland
(1) For some brief bibliographies see Mark McPherran, 'The Aporetic Interlude and Fifth Elenchus of Plato's Euthyphro', Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 25 (2003): 4 nn.9 and 10, Robert Hoerber, 'Plato's Euthyphro', Phronesis 3 (1958): 95-96 and cf. Jon Mikalson, Greek Popular Religion in Greek Philosophy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 30 n.6.
(2) James Adam, ed., Euthyphron: Platonis Euthyphro with introduction and notes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1890), xviii-xix and xxiv.
(3) ibid., xiv.
(4) ibid., xviii.
(5) ibid., xviii-ix.
(6) See 17-18 below for references.
(7) Adam, Euthyphron, xix.
(8) William Heidel, ed., Plato's Euthyphro: With introduction and notes and Pseudo-Platonica (New York: Arno Press, 1976 [originally published in 1902]), 14. See also William Heidel, 'On Plato's Euthyphro', Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association 31 (1900): 165-66.
(9) See Heidel, Plato's Euthyphro, 165-66; Hoerber, 'Plato's Euthyphro', 98-99; R. F. Holland 'Euthyphro', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, 82 (1981-82): 1; Laszlo Versenyi, Holiness and Justice: An Interpretation of Plato's Euthyphro (Washington: University of America Press, 1982), 40; Henry Teloh, Socratic Education in Plato's Early Dialogues (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986), 24; and cf. Paul Friedander, Plato, vol. 2 The Dialogues: First Period, trans. Hans Meyerhoff (New York: Pantheon Books, 1964), 84-85 and Mark McPherran, The Religion of Socrates (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996), 35 and 182-83 and 'Aporetic Interlude', 4-5 and 16.
(10) Heidel, Plato's Euthyphro, 14.
(11) Heidel, 'On Plato's Euthyphro', 166.
(13) John Burnet, ed., Euthyphro: Apology of Socrates; and Crito, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924), 84-87, 144-46 and 115-16.
(14) ibid., 85.
(15) ibid., 84-85.
(16) ibid., 115.
(17) ibid., 115-16.
(18) ibid., 86-87.
(19) ibid., 86 and 144-46.
(20) A.E. Taylor, Plato: The Man and his Work (London: Methuen and Co. Ltd., 1926), 147.
(21) Versenyi, Holiness and Justice, (see following note for references) has given a spirited and lively rendition of the caricature view. For example, he claims: 'For all his mock-heroic conflict with his contemporaries [Euthyphro] is in fact their true representative: an exaggerated impersonation and crystallized expression of their most characteristic and most debilitating shortcomings ... His pretended elevation above them is pure imposture and alazony: a boastful pretence to being different, an ignorant claim to know what they ignore, a holier-than-thou attitude that has no basis is reality. Sharing all their unenlightened beliefs he suffers from their basic afflictions and is part of the disease rather than the remedy' (38).
(22) For the orthodox view see: George Grote, Plato, and the Other Companions of Sokrates: vol. 1, third edition (London: John Murray, 1875), 322 and 314-15; Adam, Euthyphron, xvii-xix and xxiv; Heidel, Plato's Euthyphro, 14 and 'On Euthyphro', 165-66; Peter Geach, 'Plato's Euthyphro: An Analysis and Commentary', Monist 50 (1966): 370 and cf. 382; Versenyi, Holiness and Justice, 23-26, 32, 35-37 and 57-58; William Furley, 'The Figure of Euthyphro in Plato's Dialogue', Phronesis 30 (1985): 202-4 and 208; Henry Teloh, SocraticEducation, 24-29; and cf. Francis Cornford, Principium Sapientiae: The Origins of Greek Philosophical Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952), 135-40; and Friedander, Plato, 82-85. For the eccentric view see: Burnet, Euthyphro, 84-87, 144-46 and 115-16; Taylor, Plato, 147; Hoerber, 'Plato's Euthyphro', 96; James Hoopes, 'Euthyphro's Case', Classical Bulletin 47 (1970): 1 and 6 n. 1; R. E. Allen, Plato's Euthyphro and the Earlier Theory of Forms (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1970), 8; McPherran, Religion, 35; Charles Kahn, 'Was Euthyphro the Author of the Derveni Papyrus?', Studies on the Derveni Papyrus, eds. Andre Laks and Glenn Most (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 56; and cf. R. F. Holland 'Euthyphro', Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, 82 (1981-82): 9 and cf. 3-5.
(23) Grote, Other Companions of Sokrates, 315-16 has a touch of both of these views. For the view that Euthyphro is typical of traditional views see Heidel, Plato's Euthyphro, 14; Cornford, Principium Sapientiae, 139-40; Friedlander, Plato, 82; and Furley, 'The Figure of Euthyphro', 204. For the caricature view see Adam, Euthyphron, 18-19 and Versenyi, Holiness and Justice, 36-38.
(24) Teloh, Socratic Education, 24-29, Furley, 'The Figure of Euthyphro', 208 and cf. Geach, 'Plato's Euthyphro', 382. Furley claims that Euthyphro is like 'one who lived and taught as if no intellectual water had flowed under the bridge since Homer and Hesiod' (208). Teloh finds three strands confusingly mixed up in Euthyphro's justification for his case against his father: (1) literal interpretations of Homer and Hesiod; (2) an old fashioned fear of blood pollution; and (3) a concern for the laws or nomoi of the city: as the traditional gods were closely aligned with the city, Euthyphro sees himself as a protector of these civic laws. Teloh summarises: '[Euthyphro] is laughed at because his religious beliefs are antiquated. Few Athenian intellectuals, at that time, believed in strict interpretations of Homer and Hesiod' (28-29).
(25) Burnet, Euthyphro, 86 and 144-46 and Taylor, Plato, 147. Cf. Cornford, Principium Sapientiae, 137-40. For the view that Euthyphro does little more than provide Socrates with an axe to grind see Allen, Plato's Euthyphro, 23. Others note the contrast but do not seem to develop this beyond a foil for the character of Socrates: Hoerber, 'Plato's Euthyphro', 98ff. and McPherran, Religion, 35.
(26) Burnet, Euthyphro, 84-85 and 115; Taylor, Plato, 147; Hoerber, 'Plato's Euthyphro', 96; Kahn, 'Euthyphro', 57; and cf. McPherran, Religion, 35. But see Furley, 'Euthyphro', 202-8.
(27) Burnet, Euthyphro, 85.
(28) Allen, Plato's Euthyphro, 8.
(29) Adam, Euthyphron, xviii-xix and xxiv.
(30) For 'what the gods love' see for example Pl. Resp. 363c, Pl. Phlb. 39e and Xen. Symp. 4.48-49.
(31) Furley, 'The Figure of Euthyphro', 206-7.
(32) For ministering to the gods see for example Hes. Op. 135, Hdt. 2.37.2, Eur. Ion 111 and 187 and Eur. IT. 1105. See also Mikalson, Greek Popular Religion, 30.
(33) See for example Pl. Phdr. 244c, Walter Burkert, Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical, trans. John Raffen (Malden and Oxford: Blackwell, 1985), 111-14 and Kenneth Dover, Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1974), 135.
(34) Furley, 'The Figure of Euthyphro', 202.
(35) Burnet, Euthyphro, 114-15 and Isoc. 11.38-40.
(36) Taylor, Plato, 147.
(37) See for example Ar. Nub. 985-86, Ach. 692-701, Thuc. II.36 and Dover, Greek Popular Morality, 107-8.
(38) Ar. Nub., for example 1458-11, 247-48 and 366-85.
(39) Pl. Ap. 23d. See also 26c-d where Meletus leaps at the chance to accuse Socrates of not believing in the existence of the gods and of thinking that the sun is a rock.
(40) Pl. Resp. 377d-98b.
(41) See for example Richard Janko, 'Socrates the Freethinker', in A Companion to Socrates, eds. Sarah Ahbel-Rappe and Rachana Kamtekar (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 58. In light of the Derveni papyrus he suggest that 'many Athenians thought "atheism" went hand in hand with the reinterpretation of myth'.
(42) See for example Pl. Euthphr. 9b. This tells against the rather ingenious supposition that Euthyphro did not actually want to convict his father, but was simply discharging his perceived religious obligation by going to court. For this view see Taylor, Plato, 147, Geach, 'Plato's Euthyphro', 370 and Furley, 'The Figure of Euthyphro', 206. Below I argue that Euthyphro almost gloats over his outrageous actions.
(43) Socrates frequently remarks this shortcoming in his contemporaries in the Apology for example. See Pl. Ap. 21c5-7, 22c4-6, 22d5-e1 and 23b4-7. For particular examples see, for instance, Critias (Pl. Chrm. 169c-d), Laches (Pl. Lach. 194a-b), compare the slave boy with Meno (Pl. Meno 84b-c, 80b) and consider Protagoras' reluctance to yield to Socrates (Pl. Prt 348b-b and 335b) and similarly Thrasymachus (Pl. Resp. 350c-d).
(44) Burnet, Euthyphro, 86-87 and Taylor, Plato, 147, see Euthyphro's putative kinship with Socrates as an indication that he has nothing to do with Socrates' accuers. Nevertheless, we can note that Socrates respondes to Euthyphro's suggestion that they are akin by emphasising the difference between them (Pl. Euthphr. 3c6-e4). Further, as we shall see in the next section, there are some distinct connections between Euthyphro and Meletus. Ironically then, Euthyphro's percieved kinship with Socrates is but another point of contrast between them: while Euthyphro thinks Socrates and he are two of a kind, Socrates knows that they are not.
(45) Cf. Versenyi, Holiness and Justice, 38.
(46) I discuss in what follows a couple of examples of Socrates appealing to Euthyphro's arrogance to get answers out of him but see also, for example, 6b1-c6, 9b and note Socrates' repeated ironic suggestion that Euthyphro's definitions fail because the latter is 'not eager' to teach him or wishes to 'conceal' his beliefs: for example, 11b1-2, 11C (here the implication is that Euthyphro, like the marvelous Daedalus, deliberately makes 'works of art in words' that will not stay still, see also 15b712), 12a4-5, 14b8-c1, 15d1-e1 and 15e5-16a3.
(47) See for example Pl. Grg. 456b1--more on which below.
(48) See for example Burkert, Greek Religion, 246.
(49) Pind. O.O. 1.52, Eur. fr. 292.7. For a later, but interesting source see Dem. 23.62 on Orestes' 'holy murder [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]]' of his mother. Here he claims that the gods could not give an unjust verdict.
(50) Ar. Nub. 904-6.
(51) Pl. Resp. 376c-417b.
(52) See Pl. Euthphr. 8e3-4, 11b6-e1, 14a11-b7 and esp. 15d-e. At times he hardly seems to notice that he has been refuted, see for example 6e and 15b6.
(53) See for example Dem. 25.48 and in Pl. Resp. 589B and leg. 765e and 813d.
(54) Dem. 23.62, cf. Pl. Ap. 24d.
(55) Pl. Ap. 3a4-5. Compare this with Socrates' almost abusive treatment of Meletus (Pl. Ap. 24b-8a) and in particular 24c: 'he is guilty of joking around with serious issues, readily taking people to court, he pretends to be eagerly concerned with important matters and to be worried about things that have never been a concern for him'.
(56) ibid., 3a4-5. For the chiasma, which rings-in the farmer simile, see 2c7-c1.
(57) ibid., 2c5-6.
(58) ibid., 24d.
(59) ibid., 24b3-4.
(60) ibid., 5b9-c8.
(61) ibid., 5e2-3. For mega tekmerion see Pl. Grg. 456b1, Prt. 341e1, Resp. 360c5 and Hdt. 2.13.1 and 104.4. The phrase megiston tekmerion is quite common in oratory: see for example Antiph. 5.16, Dem. 29.7, 30.7 and 53.1, Isoc. 17.31 and 53 and Lys. 21.6 and 9. On Euthyphro's connection to the sophists and oratory see Friedlander, Plato, 85 and cf. 90, Teloh, SocraticEducation, 24 and McPherran, 'Aporetic Interlude', 31.
(62) See Liddell, Scott and Jones [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] I.2.b. Note Dem. 36.12: 'One may demonstrate [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] many indications [of this] but I think the best proof [[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]] of all is ...'
(63) Pl. Ap. 17a-c, cf. 24c, and 21e.
(64) Ar. Nub. 1401-5. The father-beating scene is in fact the crucial turning point in the plot. Strepsiades is so agog that his son would think such things that he finally sees the error of his ways and burns down Socrates' school, which, in turn, is all part of the Clouds' plan to punish Socrates (see for example 1461). For the connection between the Euthyphro and the Clouds see Grote, Other Companions of Sokrates, 315-16 and Heidel, 'On Plato's Euthyphro', 166.
(65) Pl. Ap. 17c-d.
(66) This is Plato's usual term for Socrates' preferred pastime (Lach. 180c) or the gymnasiums he liked to frequent (Chrm. 153a) to pursue this activity. Cf. Ap. 17c-d. Far from linking Euthyphro to Socrates this observation (albeit Euthyphro's observation) feeds into the contrast between them.
(67) Ar. Nub. 904-6. The connection between the Unjust argument and Euthyphro's argument are also noted by Aristophanes' commentators, for example, W. J. M. Starkie, ed., The Clouds of Aristophanes with introduction, English prose transl., critical notes and commentary, including a new transcript of the Scholia in the Codex Venetus Marcianus 474 (London: MacMillan and Co., 1911), 203; Benjamin Rogers, ed., The Comedies of Aristophanes: The Clouds, The Wasps (London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd., 1930) 116; and Kenneth Dover, ed., Clouds: Aristophanes with introduction and commentary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), 211.
(68) See Pl. Ap. 23c-e, 18b-c and 19b-c.
(69) ibid., 29d-31b, 36c and 41e.
(70) Myles Burnyeat, 'The Impiety of Socrates', Ancient Philosophy 17 (1997): 5.
(71) Pl. Ap. 30c. Burnyeat, 'The Impiety of Socrates', 6-7.
(72) Gregory Vlastos, 'Socratic Piety' in Reason and Religion in Socratic Philosophy, eds. Nicholas Smith and Paul Woodruff (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) 59 and see also 64-6. See also Richard Kraut, 'Socrates, Politics and Religion', in Reason and Religion in Socratic Philosophy, eds. Nicholas Smith and Paul Woodruff (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 13 and Mark McPherran, 'Does Piety Pay? Socrates and Plato on Prayer and Sacrifice', in Reason and Religion in Socratic Philosophy, eds. Nicholas Smith and Paul Woodruff (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 92-93.
(73) For example, Pl. Ap. 19b-c.
(74) Ar. Nub. 1401-5, cf. Pl. Ap. 18c.