τὸ μὲν οὖν πρῶτον ἐκαλλωπίζετο ἡμῖν ὁ Πρωταγόρας—τὸν γὰρ λόγον ᾐτιᾶτο δυσχερῆ εἶναι—ἔπειτα μέντοι συνεχώρησεν ἀποκρίνεσθαι.
ἴθι δή, ἔφην ἐγώ, ἐξ ἀρχῆς μοι ἀπόκριναι. δοκοῦσί τινές σοι σωφρονεῖν ἀδικοῦντες;
τὸ δὲ σωφρονεῖν λέγεις εὖ φρονεῖν;
τὸ δ' εὖ φρονεῖν εὖ βουλεύεσθαι, ὅτι ἀδικοῦσιν;
πότερον, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, εἰ εὖ πράττουσιν ἀδικοῦντες ἢ εἰ κακῶς;
λέγεις οὖν ἀγαθὰ ἄττα εἶναι;
ἆρ' οὖν, ἦν δ' ἐγώ, ταῦτ' ἐστὶν ἀγαθὰ ἅ ἐστιν ὠφέλιμα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις;
At first Protagoras appeared to be coy, alleging that the argument was too disconcerting: however he consented at length to make answer. Well now, I said, begin at the beginning, and tell me, do you consider people to be temperate when they are unjust?
Let us suppose so, he said.
And by being temperate you mean being sensible?
And being sensible is being well-advised in their injustice?
Let us grant it, he said.
Does this mean, I asked, if they fare well by their injustice, or if they fare ill?
If they fare well.
Now do you say there are things that are good?
Then, I asked, are those things good which are profitable to men?