Plutarch, How a young man may become aware of his progress in virtue 7.79b = T 100 Radt

How to quote this translation

For discussion of this passage, see C. Pelling, ‘Sophocles’ Learning Curve.’ In P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, and N. J. Richardson eds. 2007, Hesperos: Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry Present to M.L. West on his Seventieth Birthday. Oxford. 204-227.

ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ Σοφοκλῆς ἔλεγε τὸν Ἀισχύλου διαπεπαιχὼς ὄγκον, εἶτα τὸ πικρὸν καὶ κατάτεχνον τῆς αὑτοῦ κατασκευῆς, τρίτον ἤδη τὸ τῆς λέξεως μεταβάλλειν εἶδος, ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἠθικώτατον καὶ βέλτιστον, οὕτως οἱ φιλοσοφοῦντες, ὅταν ἐκ τῶν πανηγυρικῶν καὶ κατατέχνων εἰς τὸν ἁπτόμενον ἤθους καὶ πάθους λόγον καταβῶσιν, ἄρχονται τὴν ἀληθῆ προκοπὴν καὶ ἄτυφον προκόπτειν.

For just as Sophocles said that after he had played at the weightiness of Aeschylus, then the harsh and artificial phase of his own invention, as a third step he was shifting to a form of speech which is most representative of character and morally best, so too, those pursuing philosophy, when they descend from panegyric and artificiality to the mode of speech that fastens on character and emotion, begin to make true progess that is free from arrogance.

Relevant guides Sophocles