Book 9

  • Last of all comes the tyrannical man.
  • We must determine the nature and number of the appetites first.
  • Everyone has the unnecessary pleasures and appetites which I think are unlawful.
    • But in some persons, they are controlled by the laws and by reason.
      • The better desires prevail over them—either they are wholly banished or they become few and weak.
    • While in the case of others they are more and are stronger.

Which appetites do you mean?

  • Such appetites are awake when the reasoning and human and ruling power is asleep.
    • Then the wild beast within us, gorged with meat or drink, starts up and having shaken off sleep, goes forth to satisfy his desires.
  • Men who have no shame and sense are ready to commit crimes.
  • But normally, men uses reason against these appetites:
    • when a man’s pulse is healthy and temperate
    • when he has awakened his rational powers and fed them on noble thoughts
    • when he meditates;
    • after indulging his appetites moderately just enough to lay them to sleep and prevent them from interfering with the higher principle
      • he leaves this higher principle in pure abstraction
    • when the lower and higher principle clash.
      • He rouses up the third principle which is reason.
      • He then rests and attains truth most nearly
  • In all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature.
  • It peers out in sleep.
  • The democratic man was supposed from his youth upwards to have been trained under a miserly parent, who:
    • encouraged the saving appetites in him.
    • removed the unnecessary appetites which aim only at amusement and ornament
  • Then he got into the company of a more refined, licentious sort of people.
  • He takes to all their wanton ways.
  • He rushed into the opposite extreme from an abhorrence of his father’s meanness.
  • At last, being a better man than his corruptors, he was drawn in both directions until he halted midway and lived in indulgence in various pleasures.
  • In this way, the democrat was generated out of the oligarch?


  • After many years, you this man has a son, who is brought up in his father’s principles.
  • The son is drawn into a lawless life.
    • His seducers call it perfect liberty.
  • His father and friends take part with his moderate desires.
    • The opposite party assist the opposite ones.
  • As soon as these dire magicians and tyrant-makers find that they are losing their hold on him, they implant in him a master passion, to be lord over his idle and spendthrift lusts—a sort of monstrous winged drone
    • His other lusts now let loose.
    • They come buzzing around him, nourishing the sting of desire which they implant in his drone-like nature.
    • Then at last this lord of the soul, having Madness for the captain of his guard, breaks out into a frenzy.
    • If he finds in himself any good opinions or appetites forming, and there is still any sense of shame in him, to these better principles he puts an end.

Yes, that is how the tyrannical man is generated.

  • This why of old love has been called a tyrant.
  • A drunken man also has  the spirit of a tyrant.
  • A deranged man will fancy that he is able to rule over the gods.
  • The tyrannical man comes into being when, either under the influence of nature, or habit, or both, he becomes drunken, lustful, passionate.
  • There will be feasts and carousals and revellings and courtezans
  • Love is the lord of the house within him, and orders all the concerns of his soul.
  • Every day desires grow up and their demands are many.
  • His revenues are soon spent.
  • Then comes debt and the cutting down of his property.
  • When he has nothing left, his desires will be crying out. 
  • He will discover whom he can defraud so that he may gratify them
  • He must have money, no matter how, if he is to escape horrid pains and pangs.
  • In himself there was a succession of pleasures.
  • The new got the better of the old and took away their rights.
  • So he being younger will claim to have more than his father and his mother.
  • If he has spent his own share of the property, he will take a slice of theirs.
  • If his parents will not give way, then he will try first of all to cheat and deceive them.
  • And if he fails, then he will use force and plunder them.
  • And if the old couple fight for their own, will the creature feel any compunction at tyrannizing over them?

Nay, I should not feel at all comfortable about his parents.

  • He would strike the mother who is his ancient friend and necessary to his very existence.
  • He would place her under the authority of the harlot, when she is brought under the same roof with her.
  • He would do the same to his withered old father, first and most indispensable of friends, for the sake of some newly-found blooming youth who is dispensable.
  • A tyrannical son is a blessing to his father and mother.
    • He first takes their property.
    • When that fails, and pleasures are beginning to swarm in the hive of his soul, then he breaks into a house, or steals the garments of some nightly wayfarer.
    • Next he proceeds to clear a temple.
    • Meanwhile the old opinions which he had when a child, and which gave judgment about good and evil, are overthrown by those others which have just been emancipated, and are now the body-guard of love and share his empire.
    • These in his democratic days, when he was still subject to the laws and to his father, were only let loose in the dreams of sleep. But now that he is under the dominion of love, he becomes always and in waking reality what he was then very rarely and in a dream only;
  • He will commit the foulest murder, or eat forbidden food, or be guilty of any other horrid act.
  • Love is his tyrant.
  • He lives lordly in him and lawlessly.
  • Being himself a king, leads him on, as a tyrant leads a State.
  • It makes him do reckless deeds which can maintain himself and his associates, whether such deeds came from himself or others.
  • They become mercenary soldiers of some other tyrant who may want them for a war if:
    • there are only a few of them in the State, and
    • the rest of the people are well disposed
  • If there is no war, they stay at home and do many little pieces of mischief in the city.


What sort of mischief?

  • They are the thieves, burglars, cut-purses, foot-pads, robbers of temples, man-stealers of the community;
  • If they are able to speak they turn informers, and bear false witness, and take bribes.

A small catalogue of evils

  • Yes, but small and great are comparative terms.
  • All these things, in the misery and evil which they inflict upon a State, do not come within a thousand miles of the tyrant.
  • When they grow numerous and become conscious of their strength, assisted by the infatuation of the people, they choose among themselves the one who has most of the tyrant in his own soul
  • In him they create their tyrant.
  • If the people yield, well and good.
  • He began by beating his own father and mother.
  • If the people resist him, he beats them.
  • He will keep his dear old fatherland or motherland, as the Cretans say, in subjection to his young retainers whom he has introduced to be their rulers and masters.
  • This is the goal of his passions and desires.
  • When such men are only private individuals and before they get power, this is their character.
  • They associate entirely with their own flatterers or ready tools; or if they want anything from anybody, they in their turn are equally ready to bow down before them: they profess every sort of affection for them.
  • But when they have gained their point they know them no more.
  • They are always either the masters or servants and never the friends of anybody.
  • The tyrant never tastes of true freedom or friendship.
  • We call such men treacherous.
  • The character of the worst man: he is the waking reality of what we dreamed.
  • And this is he who being by nature most of a tyrant bears rule.
  • The longer he lives, the more of a tyrant he becomes.
  • The wickedest will also be the most miserable.
  • He who has tyrannized longest and most, most continually and truly are miserable, even if this may not be the opinion of men in general.
  • The tyrannical man is like the tyrannical State.
  • The democratical man is like the democratical State.
  • As State is to State in virtue and happiness, so is man in relation to man.
  • Then comparing our original city, which was under a king, and the city which is under a tyrant, how do they stand as to virtue?

They are the opposite extremes, for one is the very best and the other is the very worst.

  • We must not allow ourselves to be panic-stricken at the apparition of the tyrant.
  • He is only a unit and may perhaps have a few retainers about him.
  • But let us go as we ought into every corner of the city and look all about, and then we will give our opinion.

A fair invitation. I see that a tyranny is the wretchedest form of government, and the rule of a king the happiest.

  • The person who sees through human nature must not be like a child who looks at the outside and is dazzled at the pompous aspect which the tyrannical nature assumes to the beholder.
  • But let him be one who has a clear insight.
  • I propose that the judgment is given in the hearing of us all by one who:
    • is able to judge, and
    • has dwelt in the same place with him,
    • has been present at his dally life and known him in his family relations, where he may be seen stripped of his tragedy attire,
    • shall tell us about the happiness and misery of the tyrant, in the hour of public danger?

That is a very fair proposal.

  • I assume that we ourselves are able and experienced judges.
  • Let us not forget the parallel of the individual and the State.
  • Beginning with the State, would you say that a city which is governed by a tyrant is free or enslaved?

No city, can be more completely enslaved.

  • Yet here are freemen as well as masters in such a State?

Yes, he said, I see that there are—a few; but the people are miserably degraded and enslaved.

  • Then if the man is like the State, must not the same rule prevail?
  • His soul is full of meanness and vulgarity—the best elements in him are enslaved; and there is a small ruling part, which is also the worst and maddest.


  • And would you say that the soul of such an one is the soul of a freeman, or of a slave?

He has the soul of a slave

  • And the State which is enslaved under a tyrant is utterly incapable of acting voluntarily?

Utterly incapable.

  • The soul which is under a tyrant (I am speaking of the soul taken as a whole) is least capable of doing what she desires;
  • there is a gadfly which goads her, and she is full of trouble and remorse.
  • The city which is under a tyrant is poor.
  • The tyrannical soul must be always poor and insatiable.
  • Such a State and such a man is always full of fear.
  • There is no State in which you will find more of lamentation and sorrow and groaning and pain
  • There is no  man you will find more of this sort of misery than in the tyrannical man, who is in a fury of passions and desires.
  • The tyrannical State is the most miserable of States.
  • The tyrannical man is miserable but I do not think that he has as yet reached the utmost extreme of misery.
  • He who is of a tyrannical nature, and instead of leading a private life has been cursed with the further misfortune of being a public tyrant.
  • Rich people in cities possess many slaves.
  • From them you may form an idea of the tyrant’s condition, for they both have slaves.
  • The only difference is that he has more slaves.
  • They live securely and have nothing to apprehend from their servants because the whole city is leagued together for the protection of each individual.
  • But imagine a master of 50 slaves, together with his family and property and slaves, carried off by a god into the wilderness, where there are no freemen to help him.
    • He will be afraid that he and his wife and children should be put to death by his slaves.
    • He must:
      • flatter divers of his slaves.
      • make many promises to them of freedom and other things, much against his will
  • If the same god, surrounds him with neighbours who will not suffer one man to be the master of another, and who, if they could catch the offender, would take his life, he His case will be still worse
  • This is the prison that binds the tyrant.
    • He is full of all sorts of fears and lusts.
    • His soul is dainty and greedy.
    • Yet alone, of all men in the city, he is never allowed to:
      • go on a journey, or
      • see the things which other freemen see.
    • He lives in his hole like a woman hidden in the house.
    • He is jealous of other citizens who go and see anything of interest.
  • The public tyrant is the most miserable of all.
    • He has to be master of others when he is not master of himself.
    • He is like a diseased or paralytic man who is compelled to pass his life, not in retirement, but fighting and combating with other men.
  • The real tyrant is the real slave.
  • He is obliged to:
    • practise the greatest adulation and servility.
    • be the flatterer of the vilest of mankind.
  • He has desires which he is utterly unable to satisfy.
  • He has more wants than any one, and is truly poor.
  • If you know how to inspect his whole soul, all his life:
    • he is beset with fear
    • he is full of convulsions and distractions, even as the State which he resembles.
  • He grows worse from having power.
  • He becomes and is of necessity more jealous, more faithless, more unjust, more friendless, more impious, than he was at first.
  • He is the purveyor and cherisher of every sort of vice which makes him supremely miserable.
  • He makes everybody else as miserable as himself.
  • Who is first in the scale of happiness, and who second, and in what order the others follow.
  • There are five of them in all
    • the royal
    • timocratical
    • oligarchical
    • democratical
    • tyrannical.

It is in the order in which they enter, by the criterion of virtue and vice, happiness and misery.

  • The son of Ariston (the best) has decided that:
    • the best and justest is also the happiest.
    • this is he who is the most royal man and king over himself;
    • the worst and most unjust man is also the most miserable
    • this is he who being the greatest tyrant of himself is also the greatest tyrant of his State
  • The second proof is derived from the nature of the soul:
  • The individual soul, like the State, has been divided by us into three principles.
  • These three principles and three pleasures correspond, also three desires and governing powers.
  • One principle makes a man want to learn
  • Another principle makes a man angry
  • The third has many forms and is generally called appetitive
    • It makes man want to eat and drink and want money.
    • The loves and pleasures of this third part were concerned with gain.
    • This third is the part of the soul loving gain or money.
      • The passionate element is wholly set on ruling and conquering and getting fame.
      • We can call it the contentious or ambitious
  • On the other hand, every one sees that the principle of knowledge is wholly directed to the truth, and cares less than either of the others for gain or fame.
    • ‘Lover of wisdom,’ ‘lover of knowledge,’ are titles which we may apply to that part of the soul.
  • One principle prevails in the souls of one class of men, another in others.
  • Thus there are three classes of men:
    • lovers of wisdom
    • lovers of honour
    • lovers of gain
  • There are three kinds of pleasure
  • Which of the three classes of men have most pleasant lives?
  • Each will be found praising his own and depreciating that of others.
  • The money-maker will contrast the vanity of honour or of learning if they bring no money with the solid advantages of gold and silver
  • The lover of honour will think that the pleasure of riches is vulgar, while the pleasure of learning are nonsense
  • The philosopher sets any value on other pleasures in comparison with the pleasure of knowing the truth, and in that pursuit abiding, ever learning, not so far from the heaven of pleasure.
  • He calls the other pleasures necessary, under the idea that if there were no necessity for them, he would rather not have them.
  • The pleasures of each class and the life of each are in dispute.
  • The question is not which life is more or less honourable, or better or worse, but which is the more pleasant or painless.
  • Of the three individuals, which has the greatest experience of all the pleasures which we enumerated?
  • Has the lover of gain, in learning the nature of essential truth, greater experience of the pleasure of knowledge than the philosopher has of the pleasure of gain?

The philosopher has greatly the advantage. He has known the taste of the other pleasures from his childhood. But the lover of gain in all his experience has not of necessity tasted the sweetness of learning and knowing truth.

  • The lover of wisdom has a great advantage over the lover of gain, for he has a double experience.
  • Has he greater experience of the pleasures of honour, or the lover of honour of the pleasures of wisdom?

Nay,  all three are honoured in proportion as they attain their object. for the rich man and the brave man and the wise man alike have their crowd of admirers, and as they all receive honour they all have experience of the pleasures of honour; but the delight which is to be found in the knowledge of true being is known to the philosopher only.

  • His experience will enable him to judge better than any one.
  • He is the only one who has wisdom as well as experience.
  • Reason is not possessed by the covetous or ambitious man, but only by the philosopher. 
  • If wealth and gain were the criterion, then the praise or blame of the lover of gain would surely be the most trustworthy.
  • Or if honour or victory or courage, in that case the judgment of the ambitious or pugnacious would be the truest.
  • But since experience and wisdom and reason are the judges—

The only inference possible, he replied, is that pleasures which are approved by the lover of wisdom and reason are the truest.

  • And so the pleasure of the intelligent part of the soul is the pleasantest of the three,.
  • He of us in whom this is the ruling principle has the pleasantest life.

The wise man speaks with authority when he approves of his own life.

  • And what does the judge affirm to be the life which is next, and the pleasure which is next?

Clearly that of the soldier and lover of honour; who is nearer to himself than the money-maker.

  • Last comes the lover of gain.
  • Twice in succession, then, has the just man overthrown the unjust in this conflict.
  • Now comes the third trial, which is dedicated to Olympian Zeus the saviour:
  • A sage whispers in my ear that no pleasure except that of the wise is quite true and pure—all others are a shadow only; and surely this will prove the greatest and most decisive of falls?

Yes, the greatest; but will you explain yourself?

  • Pleasure is opposed to pain. 
  • There is a neutral state which is neither pleasure nor pain
  • A state which is intermediate, and a sort of repose of the soul about either
  • Sick people say that after all nothing is pleasanter than health.
  • But then they never knew this to be the greatest of pleasures until they were ill.
  • And when persons are suffering from acute pain, you must have heard them say that there is nothing pleasanter than to get rid of their pain.
  • There are many other cases of suffering in which the mere rest and cessation of pain, and not any positive enjoyment, is extolled by them as the greatest pleasure?

Yes, he said; at the time they are pleased and well content to be at rest.

  • Again, when pleasure ceases, that sort of rest or cessation will be painful.
  • Then the intermediate state of rest will be pleasure and will also be pain.
  • But that which is neither cannot become both.
  • Both pleasure and pain are motions of the soul.
  • But that which is neither was just now shown to be rest and not motion, and in a mean between them.
  • How, then, can we be right in supposing that the absence of pain is pleasure, or that the absence of pleasure is pain?


  • This then is an appearance only and not a reality;
  • The rest is pleasure at the moment and in comparison of what is painful, and painful in comparison of what is pleasant;
  • but all these representations, when tried by the test of true pleasure, are not real but a sort of imposition?

That is the inference.

  • Look at the other class of pleasures which have no antecedent pains and you will no longer suppose, as you perhaps may at present, that pleasure is only the cessation of pain, or pain of pleasure.

What are they, he said, and where shall I find them?

  • There are many of them:
  • take as an example the pleasures of smell, which are very great and have no antecedent pains; they come in a moment, and when they depart leave no pain behind them.
  • Let us believe that pure pleasure is the cessation of pain, or pain of pleasure.
  • Still, the more numerous and violent pleasures which reach the soul through the body are generally of this sort—they are reliefs of pain.
  • And the anticipations of future pleasures and pains are of a like nature.
  • There is in nature an upper and lower and middle region.
  • If a person were to go from the lower to the middle region, he would imagine that he is going up.
  • He who is standing in the middle and sees whence he has come, would imagine that he is already in the upper region, if he has never seen the true upper world.
  • But if he were taken back again he would imagine, and truly imagine, that he was descending.
  • All that would arise out of his ignorance of the true upper and middle and lower regions.
  • Then can you wonder that persons who are inexperienced in the truth
  • They have wrong ideas about many other things.
  • They should also have wrong ideas about pleasure and pain and the intermediate state
  • ; so that when they are only being drawn towards the painful they feel pain and think the pain which they experience to be real, and in like manner, when drawn away from pain to the neutral or intermediate state, they firmly believe that they have reached the goal of satiety and pleasure; they, not knowing pleasure, err in contrasting pain with the absence of pain, which is like contrasting black with grey instead of white
  • Hunger, thirst, and the like, are inanitions of the bodily state
  • Ignorance and folly are inanitions of the soul
  • Food and wisdom are the corresponding satisfactions of either
  • The satisfaction derived from that which has more existence, the truer
  • What classes of things have a greater share of pure existence in your judgment—those of which food and drink and condiments and all kinds of sustenance are examples, or the class which contains true opinion and knowledge and mind and all the different kinds of virtue?
  • Which has a more pure being—that which is concerned with the invariable, the immortal, and the true, and is of such a nature, and is found in such natures; or that which is concerned with and found in the variable and mortal, and is itself variable and mortal?

Far purer, is the being of that which is concerned with the invariable.

  • The essence of the invariable partake of knowledge in the same degree as of essence.
  • And of truth in the same degree.
  • Conversely, that which has less of truth will also have less of essence
  • This in general, those kinds of things which are in the service of the body have less of truth and essence than those which are in the service of the soul?

Far less.

  • And has not the body itself less of truth and essence than the soul?


  • What is filled with more real existence, and actually has a more real existence, is more really filled than that which is filled with less real existence and is less real?

Of course.

  • And if there be a pleasure in being filled with that which is according to nature, that which is more really filled with more real being will more really and truly enjoy true pleasure;
  • whereas that which participates in less real being will be less truly and surely satisfied, and will participate in an illusory and less real pleasure?


  • Those then who know not wisdom and virtue, and are always busy with gluttony and sensuality, go down and up again as far as the mean; and in this region they move at random throughout life, but they never pass into the true upper world; thither they neither look, nor do they ever find their way, neither are they truly filled with true being, nor do they taste of pure and abiding pleasure.
  • Like cattle, with their eyes always looking down and their heads stooping to the earth, that is, to the dining-table, they fatten and feed and breed, and, in their excessive love of these delights, they kick and butt at one another with horns and hoofs which are made of iron; and they kill one another by reason of their insatiable lust.
  • For they fill themselves with that which is not substantial, and the part of themselves which they fill is also unsubstantial and incontinent.

Verily, Socrates, said Glaucon, you describe the life of the many like an oracle.

  • Their pleasures are mixed with pains.
  • For they are mere shadows and pictures of the true, and are coloured by contrast, which exaggerates both light and shade, and so they implant in the minds of fools insane desires of themselves;
  • They are fought about as Stesichorus says that the Greeks fought about the shadow of Helen at Troy in ignorance of the truth.

Something of that sort must inevitably happen.

  • And must not the like happen with the spirited or passionate element of the soul? Will not the passionate man who carries his passion into action, be in the like case, whether he is envious and ambitious, or violent and contentious, or angry and discontented, if he be seeking to attain honour and victory and the satisfaction of his anger without reason or sense?

Yes, he said, the same will happen with the spirited element also.

  • Then may we not confidently assert that the lovers of money and honour, when they seek their pleasures under the guidance and in the company of reason and knowledge, and pursue after and win the pleasures which wisdom shows them, will also have the truest pleasures in the highest degree which is attainable to them, inasmuch as they follow truth; and they will have the pleasures which are natural to them, if that which is best for each one is also most natural to him?

Yes, certainly; the best is the most natural.

  • And when the whole soul follows the philosophical principle, and there is no division, the several parts are just, and do each of them their own business, and enjoy severally the best and truest pleasures of which they are capable?


But when either of the two other principles prevails, it fails in attaining its own pleasure, and compels the rest to pursue after a pleasure which is a shadow only and which is not their own?


And the greater the interval which separates them from philosophy and reason, the more strange and illusive will be the pleasure?


And is not that farthest from reason which is at the greatest distance from law and order?


And the lustful and tyrannical desires are, as we saw, at the greatest distance? Yes.

And the royal and orderly desires are nearest?


  • Then the tyrant will live at the greatest distance from true or natural pleasure, and the king at the least?


  • But if so, the tyrant will live most unpleasantly, and the king most pleasantly?


  • There appears to be three pleasures, one genuine and two spurious.
  • Now the transgression of the tyrant reaches a point beyond the spurious.
  • He has run away from the region of law and reason, and taken up his abode with certain slave pleasures which are his satellites.
  • The measure of his inferiority can only be expressed in a figure.
  • I assume that the tyrant is in the third place from the oligarch; the democrat was in the middle?


  • The tyrant will be wedded to an image of pleasure which is thrice removed as to truth from the pleasure of the oligarch?

He will.

  • And the oligarch is third from the royal; since we count as one royal and aristocratical?

Yes, he is third.

  • Then the tyrant is removed from true pleasure by the space of a number which is three times three?


  • The shadow then of tyrannical pleasure determined by the number of length will be a plane figure.


  • And if you raise the power and make the plane a solid, there is no difficulty in seeing how vast is the interval by which the tyrant is parted from the king.

Yes; the arithmetician will easily do the sum.

  • Or if some person begins at the other end and measures the interval by which the king is parted from the tyrant in truth of pleasure, he will find him, when the multiplication is completed, living 729 times more pleasantly, and the tyrant more painfully by this same interval.

What a wonderful calculation! And how enormous is the distance which separates the just from the unjust in regard to pleasure and pain!

  • Yet a true calculation.
  • It is a number which nearly concerns human life, if human beings are concerned with days and nights and months and years. (729 NEARLY equals the number of days and nights in the year.)

Yes, human life is certainly concerned with them.

  • Then if the good and just man be thus superior in pleasure to the evil and unjust, his superiority will be infinitely greater in propriety of life and in beauty and virtue?

Immeasurably greater.

  • Was not some one saying that injustice was a gain to the perfectly unjust who was reputed to be just?

Yes, that was said.

  • Now then, having determined the power and quality of justice and injustice, let us have a little conversation with him.

What shall we say to him?

  • Let us make an image of the soul, that he may have his own words presented before his eyes.

Of what sort?

  • An ideal image of the soul, like the composite creations of ancient mythology, such as the Chimera or Scylla or Cerberus, and there are many others in which two or more different natures are said to grow into one.

There are said of have been such unions.

  • Then do you now model the form of a multitudinous, many-headed monster, having a ring of heads of all manner of beasts, tame and wild, which he is able to generate and metamorphose at will.

You suppose marvellous powers in the artist; but, as language is more pliable than wax or any similar substance, let there be such a model as you propose.

  • Suppose now that you make:
    • a second form as of a lion,
    • a third of a man
  • The second is smaller than the first
  • The third smaller than the second.
  • Join them, and let the three grow into one.
  • Next fashion the outside of them into a single image, as of a man, so that he who is not able to look within, and sees only the outer hull, may believe the beast to be a single human creature.
  • And now, to him who maintains that it is profitable for the human creature to be unjust, and unprofitable to be just, let us reply that, if he be right, it is profitable for this creature to feast the multitudinous monster and strengthen the lion and the lion-like qualities, but to starve and weaken the man, who is consequently liable to be dragged about at the mercy of either of the other two; and he is not to attempt to familiarize or harmonize them with one another—he ought rather to suffer them to fight and bite and devour one another.

Certainly, that is what the approver of injustice says.

  • To him the supporter of justice makes answer that he should ever so speak and act as to give the man within him in some way or other the most complete mastery over the entire human creature.
  • He should watch over the many-headed monster like a good husbandman, fostering and cultivating the gentle qualities, and preventing the wild ones from growing; he should be making the lion-heart his ally, and in common care of them all should be uniting the several parts with one another and with himself.

Yes, he said, that is quite what the maintainer of justice say.

  • And so from every point of view, whether of pleasure, honour, or advantage, the approver of justice is right and speaks the truth, and the disapprover is wrong and false and ignorant?

Yes, from every point of view.

  • Come, now, and let us gently reason with the unjust, who is not intentionally in error. ‘Sweet Sir,’ we will say to him, ‘what think you of things esteemed noble and ignoble? Is not the noble that which subjects the beast to the man, or rather to the god in man; and the ignoble that which subjects the man to the beast?’ He can hardly avoid saying Yes—can he now?

Not if he has any regard for my opinion.

  • But, if he agree so far, we may ask him to answer another question: ‘Then how would a man profit if he received gold and silver on the condition that he was to enslave the noblest part of him to the worst? Who can imagine that a man who sold his son or daughter into slavery for money, especially if he sold them into the hands of fierce and evil men, would be the gainer, however large might be the sum which he received? And will any one say that he is not a miserable caitiff who remorselessly sells his own divine being to that which is most godless and detestable? Eriphyle took the necklace as the price of her husband’s life, but he is taking a bribe in order to compass a worse ruin.’

Yes, said Glaucon, far worse—I will answer for him.

Has not the intemperate been censured of old, because in him the huge multiform monster is allowed to be too much at large?


And men are blamed for pride and bad temper when the lion and serpent element in them disproportionately grows and gains strength?


And luxury and softness are blamed, because they relax and weaken this same creature, and make a coward of him?

Very true.

And is not a man reproached for flattery and meanness who subordinates the spirited animal to the unruly monster, and, for the sake of money, of which he can never have enough, habituates him in the days of his youth to be trampled in the mire, and from being a lion to become a monkey?

True, he said.

  • And why are mean employments and manual arts a reproach? Only because they imply a natural weakness of the higher principle; the individual is unable to control the creatures within him, but has to court them, and his great study is how to flatter them.

Such appears to be the reason.

  • And therefore, being desirous of placing him under a rule like that of the best, we say that he ought to be the servant of the best, in whom the Divine rules; not, as Thrasymachus supposed, to the injury of the servant, but because every one had better be ruled by divine wisdom dwelling within him; or, if this be impossible, then by an external authority, in order that we may be all, as far as possible, under the same government, friends and equals.

True, he said.

  • And this is clearly seen to be the intention of the law, which is the ally of the whole city; and is seen also in the authority which we exercise over children, and the refusal to let them be free until we have established in them a principle analogous to the constitution of a state, and by cultivation of this higher element have set up in their hearts a guardian and ruler like our own, and when this is done they may go their ways.

Yes, he said, the purpose of the law is manifest.

  • From what point of view, then, and on what ground can we say that a man is profited by injustice or intemperance or other baseness, which will make him a worse man, even though he acquire money or power by his wickedness?

From no point of view at all.

  • What shall he profit, if his injustice be undetected and unpunished?
  • He who is undetected only gets worse, whereas he who is detected and punished has the brutal part of his nature silenced and humanized;
  • the gentler element in him is liberated, and his whole soul is perfected and ennobled by the acquirement of justice and temperance and wisdom, more than the body ever is by receiving gifts of beauty, strength and health, in proportion as the soul is more honourable than the body.

Certainly, he said.

  • To this nobler purpose the man of understanding will devote the energies of his life. And in the first place, he will honour studies which impress these qualities on his soul and will disregard others?

Clearly, he said.

  • In the next place, he will regulate his bodily habit and training, and so far will he be from yielding to brutal and irrational pleasures, that he will regard even health as quite a secondary matter; his first object will be not that he may be fair or strong or well, unless he is likely thereby to gain temperance, but he will always desire so to attemper the body as to preserve the harmony of the soul?

Certainly he will, if he has true music in him.

  • In the acquisition of wealth there is a principle of order and harmony which he will also observe.
  • He will not allow himself to be dazzled by the foolish applause of the world, and heap up riches to his own infinite harm.
  • He will look at the city which is within him
  • He will take heed that no disorder occur in it, such as might arise either from superfluity or from want;
  • Upon this principle he will regulate his property and gain or spend according to his means.

Very true.

  • And, for the same reason, he will gladly accept and enjoy such honours as he deems likely to make him a better man;
  • but those, whether private or public, which are likely to disorder his life, he will avoid?

Then, if that is his motive, he will not be a statesman.

  • In the city which is his own he certainly will, though in the land of his birth perhaps not, unless he have a divine call.

He will be a ruler in the city of which we are the founders, and which exists in idea only; for I do not believe that there is such an one anywhere on earth?

  • There is laid up a pattern of it which he who desires may behold, and beholding, may set his own house in order.
  • But whether such an one exists, or ever will exist in fact, is no matter; for he will live after the manner of that city, having nothing to do with any other.