Literapedia Book Notes for

Lesser Hippias by Plato


  • Eudicus—a friend of Socrates
  • Socrates—a man in search of truth
  • Hippias—a man who is full of himself

Background to “Lesser Hippias”

  1. Hippias is a professional lecturer who is extremely interested in argument for argument's sake.
  2. Socrates believes that the ability to be virtuous is akin to the knowledge of a craft.
  3. Socratic paradox: “No one does wrong deliberately.”

Introduction (1-7)

  1. Hippias is a sophist.
  2. “...for since the day when I first entered the lists at Olympia, I have never found any man who was my superior at anything.”

Achilles vrs Odysseus (8-100)

  1. Hippias shows at best a limited understanding of Homer and at worst a misreading of the texts.
  2. Socrates knows Achilles and Odysseus are not the same, but he finds fault with Hippias's reading of the texts.

Socrates on Homer (101-125)

  1. Socrates shows his knowledge of Homer by quoting a number of different passages.
  2. Socrates broadens the argument to talk about right and wrong.

Intentional & Unintentional Misdeeds (126-234)

  1. It is not clear whether Socrates believes his conclusion, but he does believe much of what goes into the conclusion.

Book Note Creator

Hal Waller, instructor