Xanthippe.—Socrates found the sort of wife that he needed — but even he would not have sought her had he known her well enough: the heroism of even this free spirit would not have gone that far. Xanthippe actually drove him more and more into his characteristic profession by making his house and home inhospitable and unhomely for him: she taught him to live in the streets and everywhere that one could chat and be idle and thus shaped him into the greatest Athenian street dialectician : who finally had to compare himself to an obtrusive gadfly that some god had placed upon the neck of that beautiful horse, Athens, in order to keep it from finding any peace.
It is the example of the rider who wishes to become an expert horseman: "None of your soft-mouthed, docile animals for me," he says; "the horse for me to own must show some spirit" in the belief, no doubt, if he can manage such an animal, it will be easy enough to deal with every other horse besides. And that is just my case. I wish to deal with human beings, to associate with man in general; hence my choice of wife. I know full well, if I can tolerate her spirit, I can with ease attach myself to every human being else.