Our subject begins with the threshold difficulty of de­fining the question which Plato’s Phaedrus was meant to answer. Students of this justly celebrated dialogue have felt uncertain of its unity of theme, and the tendency has been to designate it broadly as a discussion of the ethical and the beautiful. The explicit topics of the dialogue are, in order: love, the soul, speechmaking, and the spoken and written word, or what is generally termed by us ‘ composition.” The development looks random, and some of the most interesting passages appear jeux dfesprit. The richness of the literary art diverts attention from the substance of the argument.