Count no man happy until he is dead
May 7, 2013 4:56 PM Subscribe
When I was a beginning Greek student, I translated something, I believe in Plato, about the man who led the happiest life. What was this parable?
posted by Countess Elena to religion & philosophy (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think that it went this way: one of Socrates' interlocutors asked him, who in your opinion was the happiest man who had ever lived? Socrates answered that it was a certain athlete, who had died at the age of twenty. He won the Olympic Games, and after the games he led a triumphal procession back to town. When his friends had carried him back home, he suffered a stroke, and fell dead on his parents' doorstep.
Possibly I am confusing this with a story that he told about two brothers who did something nice for their mother and then fell down dead. I think that I translated this around the same time.
Could you tell me which story I am thinking of? When I was eighteen, I thought it was horrible, but now I find myself giving it a lot of thought. I think that, like many Greek stories, it's a parable that appeals to middle-aged people who've always had a lot expected of them -- the idea of dying before you disappoint everyone you know.