From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The main characters are Socrates, the boys Lysis and Menexenus who are friends, as well as Hippothales, who is in unrequited love with Lysis and therefore, after the initial conversation, hides himself behind the surrounding listeners. Socrates proposes four possible notions regarding the true nature of friendship: 1. Friendship between people who are similar, interpreted by Socrates as friendship between good men. 2. Friendship between men who are dissimilar. 3. Friendship between men who are neither good nor bad and good men. 4. Gradually emerging: friendship between those who are relatives (oikeioi - not kindred) by the nature of their souls. Of all those options, Socrates thinks that the only logical possibility is the friendship between men who are good and men who are neither good nor bad.
In the end, Socrates seems to discard all these ideas as wrong, although his paralogical refutations have strong hints of irony about them.
- Ctesippus - Cousin of Menexenus. Also appears in the Euthydemus.
- Hippothales - Of approximately the same age of Ctesippus.
- Lysis - Eldest son of Democrates, in his early teens.
- Menexenus - Son of Demophon, of the same age as Lysis. Probable namesake of the Menexenus.
Depiction of Simple Eros (Sexual Love) and Philia (Friendship) [203a-207d]
Knowledge is the source of happiness [207d-210e]
Reciprocal and Non-reciprocal Friendship [211a-213d]
Like is Friend to Like [213e-215c]
Unlike is Friend to Unlike [215c-216b]
The Presence of Bad is the Cause of Love (Philia) [216c-218c]
The Possession of Good is the Goal of Love (Philia) [216d-219b]
The First Thing that is Loved [219c-220e]
Desire is the Cause of Love [221a-221d]
What is Akin is Friend to What is Akin: Aporia [159e-223a]
- Platonis opera, ed. John Burnet, Tom. III, Oxford 1903
- Benjamin Jowett, 1892: full text
- J. Wright, 1921
- W. R. M. Lamb, 1925: full text
- David Bolotin, 1979
- Stanley Lombardo, 1997
- David Bolotin, Plato’s dialogue on Friendship. An Interpretation of the Lysis with a new translation, Ithaca/London 1979
- C. P. Seech, Platos’s “Lysis” as Drama and Philosophy, Diss. San Diego 1979
- Michael Bordt: Platon, Lysis. Übersetzung und Kommentar, Göttingen 1998.
- Hans Krämer/Maria Lualdi: Platone.Liside, Milano 1998. (Greek text with an Italien translation, introduction and comment).
- Horst Peters: Platons Dialog Lysis. Ein unlösbares Rätsel? Frankfurt a. Main 2001.