- Such are our principles of theology.
- Some tales are to be told
- Other tales are not to be told to our disciples from their youth upwards, if we:
- mean them to honour the gods and their parents, and
- value friendship
- But if they are to be courageous they must learn other lessons, such as those that will take away the fear of death
- A man cannot be courageous if he has fear of death in him
- He can be fearless of death if he does not believe that the world below is real and terrible.
- So we must regulate the narrators of this class of tales.
- We must beg them not simply to revile but rather to commend the world below
- We must intimate to them that their descriptions:
- are untrue, and
- will do harm to our future warriors.
- We shall have to obliterate many obnoxious passages, beginning with the verses:
- ‘I would rather be a serf on the land of a poor and portionless man than rule over all the dead who have come to nought.’
- We must also expunge the verse, which tells us how Pluto feared:
- ‘Lest the mansions grim and squalid which the gods abhor should be seen both of mortals and immortals.’
- ‘O heavens! verily in the house of Hades there is soul and ghostly form but no mind at all!’
- Again of Tiresias:
- ‘(To him even after death did Persephone grant mind,) that he alone should be wise; but the other souls are flitting shades.’
- ‘The soul flying from the limbs had gone to Hades, lamenting her fate, leaving manhood and youth.’
- ‘And the soul, with shrilling cry, passed like smoke beneath the earth.’
- ‘As bats in hollow of mystic cavern, whenever any of them has dropped out of the string and falls from the rock, fly shrilling and cling to one another, so did they with shrilling cry hold together as they moved.’
- We must beg Homer and the other poets not to be angry if we strike out these and similar passages because the greater the poetical charm of them, the less are they meet for the ears of boys and men who are meant to be free, and who should fear slavery more than death.
- We shall have to reject all the terrible and appalling names which describe the world below:
- Cocytus and Styx
- ghosts under the earth
- sapless shades
- any similar words of which the very mention causes a shudder to pass through the inmost soul of him who hears them.
- These horrible stories are not useless.
- But there is a danger that the nerves of our guardians may be rendered too excitable and effeminate by them.
- Another and a nobler strain must be composed and sung by us.
- We shall get rid of the weepings and wailings of famous men.
They will go with the rest.
- But shall we be right in getting rid of them?
- Reflect: our principle is that the good man will not consider death terrible to any other good man who is his comrade.
- Therefore he will not be sad for his departed friend as though he had suffered anything terrible.
- It is sufficient for himself and his own happiness, and therefore is least in need of other men.
- This is why the loss of a son or brother, or the deprivation of fortune, is to him of all men least terrible.
- Therefore he will be least likely to lament, and will bear with the greatest equanimity any misfortune of this sort which may befall him.
- Yes, he will feel such a misfortune far less than another.
- Then we shall be right in getting rid of the lamentations of famous men, and making them over to women (and not even to women who are good for anything), or to men of a baser sort, that those who are being educated by us to be the defenders of their country may scorn to do the like.
- Then we will once more entreat Homer and the other poets not to depict Achilles, who is the son of a goddess, first lying on his side, then on his back, and then on his face; then starting up and sailing in a frenzy along the shores of the barren sea; now taking the sooty ashes in both his hands and pouring them over his head, or weeping and wailing in the various modes which Homer has delineated. Nor should he describe Priam the kinsman of the gods as praying and beseeching, ‘Rolling in the dirt, calling each man loudly by his name.’
- Still more earnestly will we beg of him at all events not to introduce the gods lamenting and saying: ‘Alas! my misery! Alas! that I bore the bravest to my sorrow.’
- But if he must introduce the gods, at any rate let him not dare so completely to misrepresent the greatest of the gods, as to make him say—
- ‘O heavens! with my eyes verily I behold a dear friend of mine chased round and round the city, and my heart is sorrowful.’
- Woe is me that I am fated to have Sarpedon, dearest of men to me, subdued at the hands of Patroclus the son of Menoetius.’
- For if, my sweet Adeimantus, our youth seriously listen to such unworthy representations of the gods, instead of laughing at them as they ought, hardly will any of them deem that he himself, being but a man, can be dishonoured by similar actions; neither will he rebuke any inclination which may arise in his mind to say and do the like.
- Instead of having any shame or self-control, he will be always whining and lamenting on slight occasions.
- But that surely is what ought not to be, as the argument has just proved to us; and by that proof we must abide until it is disproved by a better.
- Neither ought our guardians to be given to laughter.
- For a fit of laughter which has been indulged to excess almost always produces a violent reaction.
- Then persons of worth, even if only mortal men, must not be represented as overcome by laughter, and still less must such a representation of the gods be allowed.
Still less of the gods, as you say, he replied.
- Then we shall not suffer such an expression to be used about the gods as that of Homer when he describes how
- ‘Inextinguishable laughter arose among the blessed gods, when they saw Hephaestus bustling about the mansion.’
On your views, we must not admit them.
On my views, if you like to father them on me; that we must not admit them is certain.
Again, truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying, a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals have no business with them.
Clearly not, he said.
- Then if any one is to have the privilege of lying, the rulers of the State should be those persons.
- In their dealings either with enemies or with their own citizens, they may be allowed to lie for the public good.
- But nobody else should meddle with anything of the kind.
- Although the rulers have this privilege, for a private man to lie to them in return is to be deemed a more heinous fault than for the patient or the pupil of a gymnasium not to speak the truth about his own bodily illnesses to the physician or to the trainer, or for a sailor not to tell the captain what is happening about the ship and the rest of the crew, and how things are going with himself or his fellow sailors.
If, then, the ruler catches anybody beside himself lying in the State, ‘Any of the craftsmen, whether he be priest or physician or carpenter,’ he will punish him for introducing a practice which is equally subversive and destructive of ship or State.
- Most certainly, he said, if our idea of the State is ever carried out.
- Our youth must be temperate.
- The chief elements of temperance are generally:
- obedience to commanders and
- self-control in sensual pleasures.
- Then we shall approve such language as that of Diomede in Homer,
- ‘Friend, sit still and obey my word,’
- ‘The Greeks marched breathing prowess, …in silent awe of their leaders,’
- The line:
- ‘O heavy with wine, who hast the eyes of a dog and the heart of a stag,’
- These, when addressed to rulers are ill spoken.
- They can afford some amusement/
- But they do not conduce to temperance.
- Therefore they are likely to do harm to our young men
- ‘O heavy with wine, who hast the eyes of a dog and the heart of a stag,’
- To make the wisest of men say that nothing in his opinion is more glorious than:
- ‘When the tables are full of bread and meat, and the cup-bearer carries round wine which he draws from the bowl and pours into the cups,’
- Is it fit or conducive to temperance for a young man to hear such words? Or the verse
- ‘The saddest of fates is to die and meet destiny from hunger?’
- What would you say again to the tale of Zeus, who, while other gods and men were asleep and he the only person awake, lay devising plans, but forgot them all in a moment through his lust, and was so completely overcome at the sight of Here that he would not even go into the hut, but wanted to lie with her on the ground, declaring that he had never been in such a state of rapture before, even when they first met one another
- ‘Without the knowledge of their parents;’
- or that other tale of how Hephaestus, because of similar goings on, cast a chain around Ares and Aphrodite?
Indeed. I strongly think that they should not hear that sort of thing.
- But any deeds of endurance which are done or told by famous men, these they ought to see and hear; as, for example, what is said in the verses
- ‘He smote his breast, and thus reproached his heart, Endure, my heart; far worse hast thou endured!’
- In the next place, we must not let them be receivers of gifts or lovers of money.
- Neither must we sing to them of:
- ‘Gifts persuading gods, and persuading reverend kings.’
- Neither is Phoenix, the tutor of Achilles, to be approved or deemed to have given his pupil good counsel when he told him that he should take the gifts of the Greeks and assist them;
- but that without a gift he should not lay aside his anger. Neither will we believe or acknowledge Achilles himself to have been such a lover of money that he took Agamemnon’s gifts, or that when he had received payment he restored the dead body of Hector, but that without payment he was unwilling to do so.
Undoubtedly. These are not sentiments which can be approved.
- Loving Homer as I do, I hardly like to say that in attributing these feelings to Achilles, or in believing that they are truly attributed to him, he is guilty of downright impiety.
- As little can I believe the narrative of his insolence to Apollo, where he says:
- ‘Thou hast wronged me, O far-darter, most abominable of deities.
- Verily I would be even with thee, if I had only the power;’
- or his insubordination to the river-god, on whose divinity he is ready to lay hands; or his offering to the dead Patroclus of his own hair, which had been previously dedicated to the other river-god Spercheius, and that he actually performed this vow; or that he dragged Hector round the tomb of Patroclus, and slaughtered the captives at the pyre; of all this I cannot believe that he was guilty, any more than I can allow our citizens to believe that he, the wise Cheiron’s pupil, the son of a goddess and of Peleus who was the gentlest of men and third in descent from Zeus, was so disordered in his wits as to be at one time the slave of two seemingly inconsistent passions, meanness, not untainted by avarice, combined with overweening contempt of gods and men.
- Let us equally refuse to believe:
- the tale of Theseus son of Poseidon, or of Peirithous son of Zeus, going forth as they did to perpetrate a horrid rape; or
- of any other hero or son of a god daring to do such impious and dreadful things as they falsely ascribe to them in our day:
- Let us further compel the poets to declare either that these acts were not done by them, or that they were not the sons of gods;—both in the same breath they shall not be permitted to affirm.
- We will not have them trying to persuade our youth that the gods are the authors of evil, and that heroes are no better than men—sentiments which, as we were saying, are neither pious nor true, for we have already proved that evil cannot come from the gods.
- And further they are likely to have a bad effect on those who hear them; for everybody will begin to excuse his own vices when he is convinced that similar wickednesses are always being perpetrated by—
- ‘The kindred of the gods, the relatives of Zeus, whose ancestral altar, the altar of Zeus, is aloft in air on the peak of Ida,’
- and who have
- ‘the blood of deities yet flowing in their veins.’
- Let us put an end to such tales, lest they engender laxity of morals among the young.
- But now that we are determining what classes of subjects are or are not to be spoken of, let us see whether any have been omitted by us.
- The manner in which gods and demigods and heroes and the world below should be treated has been already laid down.
- But what about men?
- We are not in a condition to answer this question at present because men poets and story-tellers are guilty of making the gravest misstatements when they tell us:
- that wicked men are often happy
- that the good miserable
- that injustice is profitable when undetected
- but that justice is a man’s own loss and another’s gain
- We shall:
- forbid them to say these things
- command them to say the opposite.
- We shall:
- If you admit that I am right in this, then you have implied the principle for which we have been all along contending.
- Such things are or are not to be said about men is a question which we cannot determine until we have discovered what justice is, and how naturally advantageous to the possessor, whether he seem to be just or not.
- Enough of the subjects of poetry.
- Let us now speak of the style.
- When this has been considered, both matter and manner will have been completely treated.
- All mythology and poetry is a narration of events, either past, present, or future
- Narration may be either simple narration, or imitation, or a union of the two?
- You know the first lines of the Iliad, in which the poet says that Chryses prayed Agamemnon to release his daughter, and that Agamemnon flew into a passion with him; whereupon Chryses, failing of his object, invoked the anger of the God against the Achaeans. Now as far as these lines, ‘And he prayed all the Greeks, but especially the two sons of Atreus, the chiefs of the people,’
- The poet is speaking in his own person; he never leads us to suppose that he is any one else.
- But in what follows he takes the person of Chryses, and then he does all that he can to make us believe that the speaker is not Homer, but the aged priest himself.
- In this double form he has cast the entire narrative of the events which occurred at Troy and in Ithaca and throughout the Odyssey.
- A narrative remains both in the speeches which the poet recites from time to time and in the intermediate passages.
- But when the poet speaks in the person of another, he assimilates his style to the person he is speaking to.
- This assimilation of himself to another, either by the use of voice or gesture, is the imitation of the person whose character he assumes.
- In this case the narrative of the poet may be said to proceed by way of imitation.
- Or, if the poet everywhere appears and never conceals himself, then again the imitation is dropped, and his poetry becomes simple narration. However, in order that I may make my meaning quite clear, and that you may no more say, ‘I don’t understand,’ I will show how the change might be effected. If Homer had said, ‘The priest came, having his daughter’s ransom in his hands, supplicating the Achaeans, and above all the kings;’ and then if, instead of speaking in the person of Chryses, he had continued in his own person, the words would have been, not imitation, but simple narration. The passage would have run as follows (I am no poet, and therefore I drop the metre), ‘The priest came and prayed the gods on behalf of the Greeks that they might capture Troy and return safely home, but begged that they would give him back his daughter, and take the ransom which he brought, and respect the God. Thus he spoke, and the other Greeks revered the priest and assented. But Agamemnon was wroth, and bade him depart and not come again, lest the staff and chaplets of the God should be of no avail to him—the daughter of Chryses should not be released, he said—she should grow old with him in Argos. And then he told him to go away and not to provoke him, if he intended to get home unscathed. And the old man went away in fear and silence, and, when he had left the camp, he called upon Apollo by his many names, reminding him of everything which he had done pleasing to him, whether in building his temples, or in offering sacrifice, and praying that his good deeds might be returned to him, and that the Achaeans might expiate his tears by the arrows of the god,’—and so on. In this way the whole becomes simple narrative.
- Or you may suppose the opposite case—that the intermediate passages are omitted, and the dialogue only left.
That also, he said, I understand; you mean, for example, as in tragedy.
- Poetry and mythology are, in some cases, wholly imitative—instances of this are supplied by tragedy and comedy.
- There is likewise the opposite style, in which the poet is the only speaker—of this the dithyramb affords the best example; and the combination of both is found in epic, and in several other styles of poetry.
- In saying this, I intended to imply that we must come to an understanding about the mimetic art,—whether the poets, in narrating their stories, are to be allowed by us to imitate, and if so, whether in whole or in part, and if the latter, in what parts; or should all imitation be prohibited?
You mean, I suspect, to ask whether tragedy and comedy shall be admitted into our State?
- Yes, but there may be more than this in question.
- I really do not know as yet, but whither the argument may blow, thither we go.
- Should our guardians be imitators?
- ; or rather, has not this question been decided by the rule already laid down that one man can only do one thing well, and not many; and that if he attempt many, he will altogether fail of gaining much reputation in any?
- This is equally true of imitation.
- No one man can imitate many things as well as he would imitate a single one?
- Then the same person will hardly be able to play a serious part in life, and at the same time to be an imitator and imitate many other parts as well; for even when two species of imitation are nearly allied, the same persons cannot succeed in both, as, for example, the writers of tragedy and comedy—did you not just now call them imitations?
Yes, I did; and you are right in thinking that the same persons cannot succeed in both.
Any more than they can be rhapsodists and actors at once?
Neither are comic and tragic actors the same; yet all these things are but imitations.
They are so.
- Human nature appears to have been coined into yet smaller pieces
- to be as incapable of imitating many things well, as of performing well the actions of which the imitations are copies.
- If then we adhere to our original notion and bear in mind that our guardians, setting aside every other business, are to dedicate themselves wholly to the maintenance of freedom in the State, making this their craft, and engaging in no work which does not bear on this end, they ought not to practise or imitate anything else; if they imitate at all, they should imitate from youth upward only those characters which are suitable to their profession—the courageous, temperate, holy, free, and the like; but they should not depict or be skilful at imitating any kind of illiberality or baseness, lest from imitation they should come to be what they imitate. Did you never observe how imitations, beginning in early youth and continuing far into life, at length grow into habits and become a second nature, affecting body, voice, and mind?
- Then we will not allow those for whom we profess a care and of whom we say that they ought to be good men, to imitate a woman, whether young or old, quarrelling with her husband, or striving and vaunting against the gods in conceit of her happiness, or when she is in affliction, or sorrow, or weeping; and certainly not one who is in sickness, love, or labour.
- Neither must they represent slaves, male or female, performing the offices of slaves?
They must not.
- And surely not bad men, whether cowards or any others, who do the reverse of what we have just been prescribing, who scold or mock or revile one another in drink or out of drink, or who in any other manner sin against themselves and their neighbours in word or deed, as the manner of such is.
- Neither should they be trained to imitate the action or speech of men or women who are mad or bad; for madness, like vice, is to be known but not to be practised or imitated.
- Neither may they imitate smiths or other artificers, or oarsmen, or boatswains, or the like?
- How can they, he said, when they are not allowed to apply their minds to the callings of any of these?
- Nor may they imitate the neighing of horses, the bellowing of bulls, the murmur of rivers and roll of the ocean, thunder, and all that sort of thing?
Nay, he said, if madness be forbidden, neither may they copy the behaviour of madmen.
You mean, I said, if I understand you aright, that there is one sort of narrative style which may be employed by a truly good man when he has anything to say, and that another sort will be used by a man of an opposite character and education.
And which are these two sorts?
- Suppose, that a just and good man in the course of a narration comes on some saying or action of another good man,—
- I should imagine that he will like to personate him, and will not be ashamed of this sort of imitation: he will be most ready to play the part of the good man when he is acting firmly and wisely; in a less degree when he is overtaken by illness or love or drink, or has met with any other disaster.
- But when he comes to a character which is unworthy of him, he will not make a study of that; he will disdain such a person, and will assume his likeness, if at all, for a moment only when he is performing some good action;
- at other times he will be ashamed to play a part which he has never practised, nor will he like to fashion and frame himself after the baser models; he feels the employment of such an art, unless in jest, to be beneath him, and his mind revolts at it.
- Then he will adopt a mode of narration such as we have illustrated out of Homer, that is to say, his style will be both imitative and narrative;
- but there will be very little of the former, and a great deal of the latter.
That is the model which such a speaker must necessarily take.
- But there is another sort of character who will narrate anything, and, the worse he is, the more unscrupulous he will be; nothing will be too bad for him:
- He will be ready to imitate anything, not as a joke, but in right good earnest, before many people.
- He will
- attempt to represent:
- the roll of thunder,
- the noise of wind and hail, or
- the creaking of wheels, and pulleys, and
- the various sounds of flutes, pipes, trumpets, and other instruments:
- bark like a dog,
- bleat like a sheep, or
- crow like a cock;
- attempt to represent:
- His entire art will consist in imitation of voice and gesture.
- There will be very little narration.
- These are the two kinds of style.
- One of them is simple and has but slight changes
- If the harmony and rhythm are also chosen for their simplicity, the result is that the speaker, if he speaks correctly, is always pretty much the same in style, and he will keep within the limits of a single harmony (for the changes are not great), and in like manner he will make use of nearly the same rhythm?
- Whereas the other requires all sorts of harmonies and all sorts of rhythms, if the music and the style are to correspond, because the style has all sorts of changes.
- The two styles, or the mixture of the two, comprehend all poetry, and every form of expression in words.
- No one can say anything except in one or other of them or in both together.
- shall we receive into our State all the three styles, or one only of the two unmixed styles? or would you include the mixed?
I should prefer only to admit the pure imitator of virtue.
- Yes, Adeimantus.
- But the mixed style is also very charming: and the pantomimic, which is the opposite of the one chosen by you, is the most popular style with children and their attendants, and with the world in general.
- Do you think that it is unsuitable that human nature should make men only have one role in our State, instead of twofold or manifold?
Yes; quite unsuitable.
- This is why in our State, and in our State only, we shall find:
- a shoemaker to be a shoemaker and a pilot also,
- a husbandman to be a husbandman and a dicast also,
- a soldier a soldier and a trader also
- These pantomimic gentlemen are so clever that they can imitate anything/
- When they propose to us to exhibit himself and his poetry, we will fall down and worship him as a sweet and holy and wonderful being.
- But we must also inform him that in our State such as he are not permitted to exist
- The law will not allow them.
- When we have anointed him with myrrh, and set a garland of wool upon his head, we shall send him away to another city.
- For we mean to employ for our souls’ health the rougher and severer poet or story-teller, who will:
- imitate the style of the virtuous only,
- follow those models which we prescribed when we began the education of our soldiers.
Yes if we have the power.
- Then that part of music or literary education which relates to the story or myth may be considered to be finished; for the matter and manner have both been discussed.
- Next in order will follow melody and song.
- Every one can see already what we ought to say about them, if we are to be consistent with ourselves.
Glaucon” (laughing) I fear that the word ‘every one’ hardly includes me, for I cannot at the moment say what they should be; though I may guess.
- A song or ode has three parts:
- the words,
- the melody, and
- the rhythm
- There is no difference between words which are and which are not set to music.
- Both will conform to the same laws
- The melody and rhythm will depend on the words.
- We had no need of lamentation and strains of sorrow.
And which are the harmonies expressive of sorrow? You are musical, and can tell me.
- The harmonies which you mean are the mixed or tenor Lydian, and the full-toned or bass Lydian, and such like.
- These then must be banished; even to women who have a character to maintain they are of no use, and much less to men.
- In the next place, drunkenness and softness and indolence are utterly unbecoming the character of our guardians.
- And which are the soft or drinking harmonies?
The Ionian, and the Lydian; they are termed ‘relaxed.’
- Well, and are these of any military use?
Quite the reverse, he replied; and if so the Dorian and the Phrygian are the only ones which you have left.
- Of the harmonies I know nothing.
- But I want to have one warlike, to sound the note or accent which a brave man utters in the hour of danger and stern resolve, or when his cause is failing, and he is going to wounds or death or is overtaken by some other evil, and at every such crisis meets the blows of fortune with firm step and a determination to endure; and another to be used by him in times of peace and freedom of action, when there is no pressure of necessity, and he is seeking to persuade God by prayer, or man by instruction and admonition, or on the other hand, when he is expressing his willingness to yield to persuasion or entreaty or admonition, and which represents him when by prudent conduct he has attained his end, not carried away by his success, but acting moderately and wisely under the circumstances, and acquiescing in the event.
- These two harmonies I ask you to leave; the strain of necessity and the strain of freedom, the strain of the unfortunate and the strain of the fortunate, the strain of courage, and the strain of temperance; these, I say, leave.
These are the Dorian and Phrygian harmonies
- If these and these only are to be used in our songs and melodies, we shall not want multiplicity of notes or a panharmonic scale?
- Then we shall not maintain the artificers of lyres with three corners and complex scales, or the makers of any other many-stringed curiously-harmonised instruments?
- But what do you say to flute-makers and flute-players?
- Would you admit them into our State when you reflect that in this composite use of harmony the flute is worse than all the stringed instruments put together; even the panharmonic music is only an imitation of the flute?
- There remain then only the lyre and the harp for use in the city, and the shepherds may have a pipe in the country.
- That is surely the conclusion to be drawn from the argument.
- The preferring of Apollo and his instruments to Marsyas and his instruments is not at all strange, I said
- And so, by the dog of Egypt, we have been unconsciously purging the State, which not long ago we termed luxurious.
- Then let us now finish the purgation.
- Next in order to harmonies, rhythms will naturally follow.
- They should be subject to the same rules, for we ought not to seek out complex systems of metre, or metres of every kind, but rather to discover what rhythms are the expressions of a courageous and harmonious life;
- When we have found them, we shall adapt the foot and the melody to words having a like spirit, not the words to the foot and melody.
- To say what these rhythms are will be your duty—you must teach me them, as you have already taught me the harmonies.
But I cannot tell you. I only know that there are some three principles of rhythm out of which metrical systems are framed, just as in sounds there are four notes (i.e. the four notes of the tetrachord.) out of which all the harmonies are composed; that is an observation which I have made. But of what sort of lives they are severally the imitations I am unable to say.
- Then we must take Damon into our counsels.
- He will tell us:
- what rhythms are expressive of meanness, or insolence, or fury, or other unworthiness, and
- what are to be reserved for the expression of opposite feelings.
- I think that I have an indistinct recollection of his mentioning a complex Cretic rhythm; also a dactylic or heroic, and he arranged them in some manner which I do not quite understand, making the rhythms equal in the rise and fall of the foot, long and short alternating;
- he spoke of an iambic as well as of a trochaic rhythm, and assigned to them short and long quantities.
- Also in some cases he appeared to praise or censure the movement of the foot quite as much as the rhythm; or perhaps a combination of the two; for I am not certain what he meant.
- These matters, had better be referred to Damon himself, for the analysis of the subject would be difficult
- (Socrates expresses himself carelessly in accordance with his assumed ignorance of the details of the subject.
- In the first part of the sentence he appears to be speaking of paeonic rhythms which are in the ratio of 3/2
- In the second part, of dactylic and anapaestic rhythms, which are in the ratio of 1/1;
- In the last clause, of iambic and trochaic rhythms, which are in the ratio of 1/2 or 2/1.)
- But there is no difficulty in seeing that grace or the absence of grace is an effect of good or bad rhythm.
- Good and bad rhythm naturally assimilate to a good and bad style;
- Harmony and discord in like manner follow style; for our principle is that rhythm and harmony are regulated by the words, and not the words by them.
Just so, he said, they should follow the words.
- The words and the character of the style depend on the temper of the soul
- Everything else depends on the style.
- Then beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity
- I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character, not that other simplicity which is only an euphemism for folly?
- Our youth must make these graces and harmonies their perpetual aim.
- The art of the painter and every other creative and constructive art are full of them:
- every kind of manufacture;
- In all of the following, there is grace or the absence of grace:
- Ugliness and discord and inharmonious motion are nearly allied to ill words and ill nature, as grace and harmony are the twin sisters of goodness and virtue and bear their likeness.
- But shall our superintendence go no further, and are the poets only to be required by us to express the image of the good in their works, on pain, if they do anything else, of expulsion from our State?
- Or is the same control to be extended to other artists, and are they also to be prohibited from exhibiting the opposite forms of vice and intemperance and meanness and indecency in sculpture and building and the other creative arts; and is he who cannot conform to this rule of ours to be prevented from practising his art in our State, lest the taste of our citizens be corrupted by him? We would not have our guardians grow up amid images of moral deformity, as in some noxious pasture, and there browse and feed upon many a baneful herb and flower day by day, little by little, until they silently gather a festering mass of corruption in their own soul.
- Let our artists rather be those who are gifted to discern the true nature of the beautiful and graceful; then will our youth dwell in a land of health, amid fair sights and sounds, and receive the good in everything; and beauty, the effluence of fair works, shall flow into the eye and ear, like a health-giving breeze from a purer region, and insensibly draw the soul from earliest years into likeness and sympathy with the beauty of reason.
There can be no nobler training than that, he replied.
- Therefore, Glaucon, musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because:
- rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul
- They will mightily:
- fasten on these places
- impart grace
- make the educated soul graceful, or
- make the uneducated soul ungraceful.
- They will mightily:
- he who has received this true education of the inner being will:
- most shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and
- with a true taste, he becomes noble and good while he praises and receives into his soul the good
- will justly blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his youth, even before he knows why
- When reason comes he will recognise and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar.
- rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul
Yes, our youth should be trained in music and on the grounds which you mention.
- Just as in learning to read, we were satisfied when we knew the letters of the alphabet, which are very few, in all their recurring sizes and combinations; not slighting them as unimportant whether they occupy a space large or small, but everywhere eager to make them out; and not thinking ourselves perfect in the art of reading until we recognise them wherever they are found:
- Or, as we recognise the reflection of letters in the water, or in a mirror, only when we know the letters themselves; the same art and study giving us the knowledge of both:
- Even so, as I maintain, neither we nor our guardians, whom we have to educate, can ever become musical until we and they know the essential forms of temperance, courage, liberality, magnificence, and their kindred, as well as the contrary forms, in all their combinations, and can recognise them and their images wherever they are found, not slighting them either in small things or great, but believing them all to be within the sphere of one art and study.
- And when a beautiful soul harmonizes with a beautiful form, and the two are cast in one mould, that will be the fairest of sights to him who has an eye to see it?
The fairest indeed.
- The fairest is also the loveliest.
- And the man who has the spirit of harmony will be most in love with the loveliest; but he will not love him who is of an inharmonious soul?
Yes if the deficiency be in his soul. But if there be any merely bodily defect in another he will be patient of it, and will love all the same.
- I perceive, I said, that you have or have had experiences of this sort, and I agree.
- But let me ask you another question: Has excess of pleasure any affinity to temperance?
How can that be? Pleasure deprives a man of the use of his faculties quite as much as pain.
- Or any affinity to virtue in general?
- Any affinity to wantonness and intemperance?
Yes, the greatest.
- And is there any greater or keener pleasure than that of sensual love?
No, nor a madder.
- Whereas true love is a love of beauty and order—temperate and harmonious?
Quite true, he said.
- Then no intemperance or madness should be allowed to approach true love?
- Then mad or intemperate pleasure must never be allowed to come near the lover and his beloved; neither of them can have any part in it if their love is of the right sort?
No, it must never come near them.
- In the city which we are founding, you would make a law that a friend should use no other familiarity to his love than a father would use to his son, and then only for a noble purpose, and he must first have the other’s consent;
- this rule is to limit him in all his intercourse
- he is never to be seen going further, or, if he exceeds, he is to be deemed guilty of coarseness and bad taste.
- Thus much of music, which makes a fair ending; for what should be the end of music if not the love of beauty?
- After music comes gymnastic, in which our youth are next to be trained.
- Gymnastics and music should begin in early years.
- The training in it should be careful and should continue through life.
- I think that bodily excellence does not improve the soul.
- Rather, the good soul, by her own excellence, improves the body as far as this may be possible.
- When the mind is adequately trained, more particular care of the body can be handed over.
- That they must abstain from intoxication
- A guardian should be the last to get drunk.
Yes, a guardian should require another guardian to take care of him is ridiculous.
- What about their food?
- The men are training for the great contest of all.
- Will the habit of body of our ordinary athletes be suited to them
- I am afraid that a habit of body such as they have is but a sleepy sort of thing, and rather perilous to health.
- These athletes:
- sleep away their lives
- are liable to most dangerous illnesses if they depart from their customary regimen
- A finer sort of training will be required for our warrior athletes, who are:
- to be like wakeful dogs
- to see and hear with the utmost keenness; amid the many changes of water and also of food, of summer heat and winter cold, which they will have to endure when on a campaign, they must not be liable to break down in health.
- The really excellent gymnastic is twin sister of that simple music which we were just now describing.
- Why, I conceive that there is a gymnastic which, like our music, is simple and good; and especially the military gymnastic.
- My meaning may be learned from Homer;
- he feeds his heroes at their feasts, when they are campaigning, on soldiers’ fare;
- they have no fish, although they are on the shores of the Hellespont, and they are not allowed boiled meats but only roast, which is the food most convenient for soldiers, requiring only that they should light a fire, and not involving the trouble of carrying about pots and pans.
- Sweet sauces are nowhere mentioned in Homer.
- In proscribing them, however, he is not alone.
- All professional athletes know that men who are to be in good condition should take no sweets.
- Then you would not approve of:
- Syracusan dinners, and
- Athenian confectionary
- the refinements of Sicilian cookery?
- such a man having a Corinthian girl as his fair friend?
I think not.
- All such feeding and living may be rightly compared by us to melody and song composed in the panharmonic style, and in all the rhythms.
- There complexity engendered licence, and here disease;
- whereas simplicity in music was the parent of temperance in the soul; and simplicity in gymnastic of health in the body.
- But when intemperance and diseases multiply in a State, halls of justice and medicine are always being opened;
- The arts of the doctor and the lawyer give themselves airs, finding how keen is the interest which not only the slaves but the freemen of a city take about them.
- And yet what greater proof can there be of a bad and disgraceful state of education than this, that not only artisans and the meaner sort of people need the skill of first-rate physicians and judges, but also those who would profess to have had a liberal education?
- It is disgraceful and a lack of good-breeding, that:
- a man should have to go abroad for his law and physic because he has none of his own at home.
- he must surrender himself into the hands of other men whom he makes lords and judges over him?
- There is a further stage of the evil in which a man is not only a life-long litigant, passing all his days in the courts, either as plaintiff or defendant, but is actually led by his bad taste to pride himself on his litigiousness
- he imagines that he is a master in dishonesty; able to take every crooked turn, and wriggle into and out of every hole, bending like a withy and getting out of the way of justice: and all for what?—in order to gain small points not worth mentioning, he not knowing that so to order his life as to be able to do without a napping judge is a far higher and nobler sort of thing.
Yes, that is still more disgraceful.
- Well, to require the help of medicine, not when a wound has to be cured, or on occasion of an epidemic, but just because, by indolence and a habit of life such as we have been describing, men fill themselves with waters and winds, as if their bodies were a marsh, compelling the ingenious sons of Asclepius to find more names for diseases, such as flatulence and catarrh; is not this, too, a disgrace?
Yes, they do certainly give very strange and newfangled names to diseases.
- Yes, I do not believe that there were any such diseases in the days of Asclepius;
- and this I infer from the circumstance that the hero Eurypylus, after he has been wounded in Homer, drinks a posset of Pramnian wine well besprinkled with barley-meal and grated cheese, which are certainly inflammatory, and yet the sons of Asclepius who were at the Trojan war do not blame the damsel who gives him the drink, or rebuke Patroclus, who is treating his case.
That was surely an extraordinary drink to be given to a person in his condition.
- Not so extraordinary, if you bear in mind that in former days, as is commonly said, before the time of Herodicus, the guild of Asclepius did not practise our present system of medicine, which may be said to educate diseases.
- But Herodicus was:
- a trainer
- himself of a sickly constitution
- By a combination of training and doctoring, he found out a way of torturing himself first and then the rest of the world.
- He invented the lingering death.
- He had a mortal disease which he perpetually tended.
- Recovery was out of the question.
- He passed his entire life as a valetudinarian;
- he could do nothing but attend upon himself, and he was in constant torment whenever he departed in anything from his usual regimen, and so dying hard, by the help of science he struggled on to old age.
A rare reward of his skill!
Yes, I said; a reward which a man might fairly expect who never understood that, if Asclepius did not instruct his descendants in valetudinarian arts, the omission arose, not from ignorance or inexperience of such a branch of medicine, but because he knew that in all well-ordered states every individual has an occupation to which he must attend, and has therefore no leisure to spend in continually being ill. This we remark in the case of the artisan, but, ludicrously enough, do not apply the same rule to people of the richer sort.
- When a carpenter is ill he asks the physician for a rough and ready cure
- An emetic or a purge or a cautery or the knife,—these are his remedies.
- If some one prescribes for him a course of dietetics, and tells him that he must swathe and swaddle his head, and all that sort of thing, he replies at once that he has no time to be ill, and that he sees no good in a life which is spent in nursing his disease to the neglect of his customary employment;
- Bidding good-bye to this sort of physician, he resumes his ordinary habits.
- He either gets well and lives and does his business.
- If his constitution fails, he dies and has no more trouble.
Yes, a man in his condition of life should use the art of medicine thus far only.
- Has he not, I said, an occupation; and what profit would there be in his life if he were deprived of his occupation?
But with the rich man this is otherwise; of him we do not say that he has any specially appointed work which he must perform, if he would live.
He is generally supposed to have nothing to do.
Then you never heard of the saying of Phocylides, that as soon as a man has a livelihood he should practise virtue?
Nay, he said, I think that he had better begin somewhat sooner.
Let us not have a dispute with him about this, I said; but rather ask ourselves: Is the practice of virtue obligatory on the rich man, or can he live without it? And if obligatory on him, then let us raise a further question, whether this dieting of disorders, which is an impediment to the application of the mind in carpentering and the mechanical arts, does not equally stand in the way of the sentiment of Phocylides?
Of that, he replied, there can be no doubt; such excessive care of the body, when carried beyond the rules of gymnastic, is most inimical to the practice of virtue.
Yes, indeed, I replied, and equally incompatible with the management of a house, an army, or an office of state; and, what is most important of all, irreconcileable with any kind of study or thought or self-reflection—there is a constant suspicion that headache and giddiness are to be ascribed to philosophy, and hence all practising or making trial of virtue in the higher sense is absolutely stopped; for a man is always fancying that he is being made ill, and is in constant anxiety about the state of his body.
Yes, likely enough.
And therefore our politic Asclepius may be supposed to have exhibited the power of his art only to persons who, being generally of healthy constitution and habits of life, had a definite ailment; such as these he cured by purges and operations, and bade them live as usual, herein consulting the interests of the State; but bodies which disease had penetrated through and through he would not have attempted to cure by gradual processes of evacuation and infusion: he did not want to lengthen out good-for-nothing lives, or to have weak fathers begetting weaker sons;—if a man was not able to live in the ordinary way he had no business to cure him; for such a cure would have been of no use either to himself, or to the State.
Then, he said, you regard Asclepius as a statesman.
Clearly; and his character is further illustrated by his sons. Note that they were heroes in the days of old and practised the medicines of which I am speaking at the siege of Troy: You will remember how, when Pandarus wounded Menelaus, they
‘Sucked the blood out of the wound, and sprinkled soothing remedies,’
but they never prescribed what the patient was afterwards to eat or drink in the case of Menelaus, any more than in the case of Eurypylus; the remedies, as they conceived, were enough to heal any man who before he was wounded was healthy and regular in his habits; and even though he did happen to drink a posset of Pramnian wine, he might get well all the same. But they would have nothing to do with unhealthy and intemperate subjects, whose lives were of no use either to themselves or others; the art of medicine was not designed for their good, and though they were as rich as Midas, the sons of Asclepius would have declined to attend them.
They were very acute persons, those sons of Asclepius.
Naturally so, I replied. Nevertheless, the tragedians and Pindar disobeying our behests, although they acknowledge that Asclepius was the son of Apollo, say also that he was bribed into healing a rich man who was at the point of death, and for this reason he was struck by lightning. But we, in accordance with the principle already affirmed by us, will not believe them when they tell us both;—if he was the son of a god, we maintain that he was not avaricious; or, if he was avaricious, he was not the son of a god.
All that, Socrates, is excellent; but I should like to put a question to you: Ought there not to be good physicians in a State, and are not the best those who have treated the greatest number of constitutions good and bad? and are not the best judges in like manner those who are acquainted with all sorts of moral natures?
Yes, I said, I too would have good judges and good physicians. But do you know whom I think good?
Will you tell me?
I will, if I can. Let me however note that in the same question you join two things which are not the same.
How so? he asked.
Why, I said, you join physicians and judges. Now the most skilful physicians are those who, from their youth upwards, have combined with the knowledge of their art the greatest experience of disease; they had better not be robust in health, and should have had all manner of diseases in their own persons. For the body, as I conceive, is not the instrument with which they cure the body; in that case we could not allow them ever to be or to have been sickly; but they cure the body with the mind, and the mind which has become and is sick can cure nothing.
That is very true, he said.
But with the judge it is otherwise; since he governs mind by mind; he ought not therefore to have been trained among vicious minds, and to have associated with them from youth upwards, and to have gone through the whole calendar of crime, only in order that he may quickly infer the crimes of others as he might their bodily diseases from his own self-consciousness; the honourable mind which is to form a healthy judgment should have had no experience or contamination of evil habits when young. And this is the reason why in youth good men often appear to be simple, and are easily practised upon by the dishonest, because they have no examples of what evil is in their own souls.
Yes, he said, they are far too apt to be deceived.
Therefore, I said, the judge should not be young; he should have learned to know evil, not from his own soul, but from late and long observation of the nature of evil in others: knowledge should be his guide, not personal experience.
Yes, he said, that is the ideal of a judge.
Yes, I replied, and he will be a good man (which is my answer to your question); for he is good who has a good soul. But the cunning and suspicious nature of which we spoke,—he who has committed many crimes, and fancies himself to be a master in wickedness, when he is amongst his fellows, is wonderful in the precautions which he takes, because he judges of them by himself: but when he gets into the company of men of virtue, who have the experience of age, he appears to be a fool again, owing to his unseasonable suspicions; he cannot recognise an honest man, because he has no pattern of honesty in himself; at the same time, as the bad are more numerous than the good, and he meets with them oftener, he thinks himself, and is by others thought to be, rather wise than foolish.
Most true, he said.
Then the good and wise judge whom we are seeking is not this man, but the other; for vice cannot know virtue too, but a virtuous nature, educated by time, will acquire a knowledge both of virtue and vice: the virtuous, and not the vicious, man has wisdom—in my opinion.
And in mine also.
This is the sort of medicine, and this is the sort of law, which you will sanction in your state. They will minister to better natures, giving health both of soul and of body; but those who are diseased in their bodies they will leave to die, and the corrupt and incurable souls they will put an end to themselves.
That is clearly the best thing both for the patients and for the State.
And thus our youth, having been educated only in that simple music which, as we said, inspires temperance, will be reluctant to go to law.
And the musician, who, keeping to the same track, is content to practise the simple gymnastic, will have nothing to do with medicine unless in some extreme case.
That I quite believe.
The very exercises and tolls which he undergoes are intended to stimulate the spirited element of his nature, and not to increase his strength; he will not, like common athletes, use exercise and regimen to develope his muscles.
Very right, he said.
Neither are the two arts of music and gymnastic really designed, as is often supposed, the one for the training of the soul, the other for the training of the body.
What then is the real object of them?
I believe, I said, that the teachers of both have in view chiefly the improvement of the soul.
How can that be? he asked.
Did you never observe, I said, the effect on the mind itself of exclusive devotion to gymnastic, or the opposite effect of an exclusive devotion to music?
In what way shown? he said.
The one producing a temper of hardness and ferocity, the other of softness and effeminacy, I replied.
Yes, he said, I am quite aware that the mere athlete becomes too much of a savage, and that the mere musician is melted and softened beyond what is good for him.
Yet surely, I said, this ferocity only comes from spirit, which, if rightly educated, would give courage, but, if too much intensified, is liable to become hard and brutal.
That I quite think.
On the other hand the philosopher will have the quality of gentleness. And this also, when too much indulged, will turn to softness, but, if educated rightly, will be gentle and moderate.
And in our opinion the guardians ought to have both these qualities?
And both should be in harmony?
And the harmonious soul is both temperate and courageous?
And the inharmonious is cowardly and boorish?
And, when a man allows music to play upon him and to pour into his soul through the funnel of his ears those sweet and soft and melancholy airs of which we were just now speaking, and his whole life is passed in warbling and the delights of song; in the first stage of the process the passion or spirit which is in him is tempered like iron, and made useful, instead of brittle and useless. But, if he carries on the softening and soothing process, in the next stage he begins to melt and waste, until he has wasted away his spirit and cut out the sinews of his soul; and he becomes a feeble warrior.
If the element of spirit is naturally weak in him the change is speedily accomplished, but if he have a good deal, then the power of music weakening the spirit renders him excitable;—on the least provocation he flames up at once, and is speedily extinguished; instead of having spirit he grows irritable and passionate and is quite impracticable.
And so in gymnastics, if a man takes violent exercise and is a great feeder, and the reverse of a great student of music and philosophy, at first the high condition of his body fills him with pride and spirit, and he becomes twice the man that he was.
And what happens? if he do nothing else, and holds no converse with the Muses, does not even that intelligence which there may be in him, having no taste of any sort of learning or enquiry or thought or culture, grow feeble and dull and blind, his mind never waking up or receiving nourishment, and his senses not being purged of their mists?
True, he said.
And he ends by becoming a hater of philosophy, uncivilized, never using the weapon of persuasion,—he is like a wild beast, all violence and fierceness, and knows no other way of dealing; and he lives in all ignorance and evil conditions, and has no sense of propriety and grace.
That is quite true, he said.
And as there are two principles of human nature, one the spirited and the other the philosophical, some God, as I should say, has given mankind two arts answering to them (and only indirectly to the soul and body), in order that these two principles (like the strings of an instrument) may be relaxed or drawn tighter until they are duly harmonized.
That appears to be the intention.
And he who mingles music with gymnastic in the fairest proportions, and best attempers them to the soul, may be rightly called the true musician and harmonist in a far higher sense than the tuner of the strings.
You are quite right, Socrates.
And such a presiding genius will be always required in our State if the government is to last.
Yes, he will be absolutely necessary.
Such, then, are our principles of nurture and education: Where would be the use of going into further details about the dances of our citizens, or about their hunting and coursing, their gymnastic and equestrian contests? For these all follow the general principle, and having found that, we shall have no difficulty in discovering them.
I dare say that there will be no difficulty.
Very good, I said; then what is the next question? Must we not ask who are to be rulers and who subjects?
There can be no doubt that the elder must rule the younger.
And that the best of these must rule.
That is also clear.
Now, are not the best husbandmen those who are most devoted to husbandry?
And as we are to have the best of guardians for our city, must they not be those who have most the character of guardians?
And to this end they ought to be wise and efficient, and to have a special care of the State?
And a man will be most likely to care about that which he loves?
To be sure.
And he will be most likely to love that which he regards as having the same interests with himself, and that of which the good or evil fortune is supposed by him at any time most to affect his own?
Very true, he replied.
Then there must be a selection. Let us note among the guardians those who in their whole life show the greatest eagerness to do what is for the good of their country, and the greatest repugnance to do what is against her interests.
Those are the right men.
And they will have to be watched at every age, in order that we may see whether they preserve their resolution, and never, under the influence either of force or enchantment, forget or cast off their sense of duty to the State.
How cast off? he said.
I will explain to you, I replied. A resolution may go out of a man’s mind either with his will or against his will; with his will when he gets rid of a falsehood and learns better, against his will whenever he is deprived of a truth.
I understand, he said, the willing loss of a resolution; the meaning of the unwilling I have yet to learn.
Why, I said, do you not see that men are unwillingly deprived of good, and willingly of evil? Is not to have lost the truth an evil, and to possess the truth a good? and you would agree that to conceive things as they are is to possess the truth?
Yes, he replied; I agree with you in thinking that mankind are deprived of truth against their will.
And is not this involuntary deprivation caused either by theft, or force, or enchantment?
Still, he replied, I do not understand you.
I fear that I must have been talking darkly, like the tragedians. I only mean that some men are changed by persuasion and that others forget; argument steals away the hearts of one class, and time of the other; and this I call theft. Now you understand me?
Those again who are forced, are those whom the violence of some pain or grief compels to change their opinion.
I understand, he said, and you are quite right.
And you would also acknowledge that the enchanted are those who change their minds either under the softer influence of pleasure, or the sterner influence of fear?
Yes, he said; everything that deceives may be said to enchant.
Therefore, as I was just now saying, we must enquire who are the best guardians of their own conviction that what they think the interest of the State is to be the rule of their lives. We must watch them from their youth upwards, and make them perform actions in which they are most likely to forget or to be deceived, and he who remembers and is not deceived is to be selected, and he who fails in the trial is to be rejected. That will be the way?
And there should also be toils and pains and conflicts prescribed for them, in which they will be made to give further proof of the same qualities.
Very right, he replied.
And then, I said, we must try them with enchantments—that is the third sort of test—and see what will be their behaviour: like those who take colts amid noise and tumult to see if they are of a timid nature, so must we take our youth amid terrors of some kind, and again pass them into pleasures, and prove them more thoroughly than gold is proved in the furnace, that we may discover whether they are armed against all enchantments, and of a noble bearing always, good guardians of themselves and of the music which they have learned, and retaining under all circumstances a rhythmical and harmonious nature, such as will be most serviceable to the individual and to the State. And he who at every age, as boy and youth and in mature life, has come out of the trial victorious and pure, shall be appointed a ruler and guardian of the State; he shall be honoured in life and death, and shall receive sepulture and other memorials of honour, the greatest that we have to give. But him who fails, we must reject. I am inclined to think that this is the sort of way in which our rulers and guardians should be chosen and appointed. I speak generally, and not with any pretension to exactness.
And, speaking generally, I agree with you, he said.
And perhaps the word ‘guardian’ in the fullest sense ought to be applied to this higher class only who preserve us against foreign enemies and maintain peace among our citizens at home, that the one may not have the will, or the others the power, to harm us. The young men whom we before called guardians may be more properly designated auxiliaries and supporters of the principles of the rulers.
I agree with you, he said.
How then may we devise one of those needful falsehoods of which we lately spoke—just one royal lie which may deceive the rulers, if that be possible, and at any rate the rest of the city?
What sort of lie? he said.
Nothing new, I replied; only an old Phoenician tale (Laws) of what has often occurred before now in other places, (as the poets say, and have made the world believe,) though not in our time, and I do not know whether such an event could ever happen again, or could now even be made probable, if it did.
How your words seem to hesitate on your lips!
You will not wonder, I replied, at my hesitation when you have heard.
Speak, he said, and fear not.
Well then, I will speak, although I really know not how to look you in the face, or in what words to utter the audacious fiction, which I propose to communicate gradually, first to the rulers, then to the soldiers, and lastly to the people. They are to be told that their youth was a dream, and the education and training which they received from us, an appearance only; in reality during all that time they were being formed and fed in the womb of the earth, where they themselves and their arms and appurtenances were manufactured; when they were completed, the earth, their mother, sent them up; and so, their country being their mother and also their nurse, they are bound to advise for her good, and to defend her against attacks, and her citizens they are to regard as children of the earth and their own brothers.
You had good reason, he said, to be ashamed of the lie which you were going to tell.
True, I replied, but there is more coming; I have only told you half. Citizens, we shall say to them in our tale, you are brothers, yet God has framed you differently. Some of you have the power of command, and in the composition of these he has mingled gold, wherefore also they have the greatest honour; others he has made of silver, to be auxiliaries; others again who are to be husbandmen and craftsmen he has composed of brass and iron; and the species will generally be preserved in the children. But as all are of the same original stock, a golden parent will sometimes have a silver son, or a silver parent a golden son. And God proclaims as a first principle to the rulers, and above all else, that there is nothing which they should so anxiously guard, or of which they are to be such good guardians, as of the purity of the race. They should observe what elements mingle in their offspring; for if the son of a golden or silver parent has an admixture of brass and iron, then nature orders a transposition of ranks, and the eye of the ruler must not be pitiful towards the child because he has to descend in the scale and become a husbandman or artisan, just as there may be sons of artisans who having an admixture of gold or silver in them are raised to honour, and become guardians or auxiliaries. For an oracle says that when a man of brass or iron guards the State, it will be destroyed. Such is the tale; is there any possibility of making our citizens believe in it?
Not in the present generation, he replied; there is no way of accomplishing this; but their sons may be made to believe in the tale, and their sons’ sons, and posterity after them.
I see the difficulty, I replied; yet the fostering of such a belief will make them care more for the city and for one another. Enough, however, of the fiction, which may now fly abroad upon the wings of rumour, while we arm our earth-born heroes, and lead them forth under the command of their rulers. Let them look round and select a spot whence they can best suppress insurrection, if any prove refractory within, and also defend themselves against enemies, who like wolves may come down on the fold from without; there let them encamp, and when they have encamped, let them sacrifice to the proper Gods and prepare their dwellings.
Just so, he said.
And their dwellings must be such as will shield them against the cold of winter and the heat of summer.
I suppose that you mean houses, he replied.
Yes, I said; but they must be the houses of soldiers, and not of shop-keepers.
What is the difference? he said.
That I will endeavour to explain, I replied. To keep watch-dogs, who, from want of discipline or hunger, or some evil habit or other, would turn upon the sheep and worry them, and behave not like dogs but wolves, would be a foul and monstrous thing in a shepherd?
Truly monstrous, he said.
And therefore every care must be taken that our auxiliaries, being stronger than our citizens, may not grow to be too much for them and become savage tyrants instead of friends and allies?
Yes, great care should be taken.
And would not a really good education furnish the best safeguard?
But they are well-educated already, he replied.
I cannot be so confident, my dear Glaucon, I said; I am much more certain that they ought to be, and that true education, whatever that may be, will have the greatest tendency to civilize and humanize them in their relations to one another, and to those who are under their protection.
Very true, he replied.
And not only their education, but their habitations, and all that belongs to them, should be such as will neither impair their virtue as guardians, nor tempt them to prey upon the other citizens. Any man of sense must acknowledge that.
Then now let us consider what will be their way of life, if they are to realize our idea of them. In the first place, none of them should have any property of his own beyond what is absolutely necessary; neither should they have a private house or store closed against any one who has a mind to enter; their provisions should be only such as are required by trained warriors, who are men of temperance and courage; they should agree to receive from the citizens a fixed rate of pay, enough to meet the expenses of the year and no more; and they will go to mess and live together like soldiers in a camp. Gold and silver we will tell them that they have from God; the diviner metal is within them, and they have therefore no need of the dross which is current among men, and ought not to pollute the divine by any such earthly admixture; for that commoner metal has been the source of many unholy deeds, but their own is undefiled. And they alone of all the citizens may not touch or handle silver or gold, or be under the same roof with them, or wear them, or drink from them. And this will be their salvation, and they will be the saviours of the State. But should they ever acquire homes or lands or moneys of their own, they will become housekeepers and husbandmen instead of guardians, enemies and tyrants instead of allies of the other citizens; hating and being hated, plotting and being plotted against, they will pass their whole life in much greater terror of internal than of external enemies, and the hour of ruin, both to themselves and to the rest of the State, will be at hand. For all which reasons may we not say that thus shall our State be ordered, and that these shall be the regulations appointed by us for guardians concerning their houses and all other matters?
Yes, said Glaucon.
Here Adeimantus interposed a question: How would you answer, Socrates, said he, if a person were to say that you are making these people miserable, and that they are the cause of their own unhappiness; the city in fact belongs to them, but they are none the better for it; whereas other men acquire lands, and build large and handsome houses, and have everything handsome about them, offering sacrifices to the gods on their own account, and practising hospitality; moreover, as you were saying just now, they have gold and silver, and all that is usual among the favourites of fortune; but our poor citizens are no better than mercenaries who are quartered in the city and are always mounting guard?
Yes, I said; and you may add that they are only fed, and not paid in addition to their food, like other men; and therefore they cannot, if they would, take a journey of pleasure; they have no money to spend on a mistress or any other luxurious fancy, which, as the world goes, is thought to be happiness; and many other accusations of the same nature might be added.
But, said he, let us suppose all this to be included in the charge.
You mean to ask, I said, what will be our answer?
If we proceed along the old path, my belief, I said, is that we shall find the answer. And our answer will be that, even as they are, our guardians may very likely be the happiest of men; but that our aim in founding the State was not the disproportionate happiness of any one class, but the greatest happiness of the whole; we thought that in a State which is ordered with a view to the good of the whole we should be most likely to find justice, and in the ill-ordered State injustice: and, having found them, we might then decide which of the two is the happier. At present, I take it, we are fashioning the happy State, not piecemeal, or with a view of making a few happy citizens, but as a whole; and by-and-by we will proceed to view the opposite kind of State. Suppose that we were painting a statue, and some one came up to us and said, Why do you not put the most beautiful colours on the most beautiful parts of the body—the eyes ought to be purple, but you have made them black—to him we might fairly answer, Sir, you would not surely have us beautify the eyes to such a degree that they are no longer eyes; consider rather whether, by giving this and the other features their due proportion, we make the whole beautiful. And so I say to you, do not compel us to assign to the guardians a sort of happiness which will make them anything but guardians; for we too can clothe our husbandmen in royal apparel, and set crowns of gold on their heads, and bid them till the ground as much as they like, and no more. Our potters also might be allowed to repose on couches, and feast by the fireside, passing round the winecup, while their wheel is conveniently at hand, and working at pottery only as much as they like; in this way we might make every class happy—and then, as you imagine, the whole State would be happy. But do not put this idea into our heads; for, if we listen to you, the husbandman will be no longer a husbandman, the potter will cease to be a potter, and no one will have the character of any distinct class in the State. Now this is not of much consequence where the corruption of society, and pretension to be what you are not, is confined to cobblers; but when the guardians of the laws and of the government are only seeming and not real guardians, then see how they turn the State upside down; and on the other hand they alone have the power of giving order and happiness to the State. We mean our guardians to be true saviours and not the destroyers of the State, whereas our opponent is thinking of peasants at a festival, who are enjoying a life of revelry, not of citizens who are doing their duty to the State. But, if so, we mean different things, and he is speaking of something which is not a State. And therefore we must consider whether in appointing our guardians we would look to their greatest happiness individually, or whether this principle of happiness does not rather reside in the State as a whole. But if the latter be the truth, then the guardians and auxiliaries, and all others equally with them, must be compelled or induced to do their own work in the best way. And thus the whole State will grow up in a noble order, and the several classes will receive the proportion of happiness which nature assigns to them.
I think that you are quite right.
I wonder whether you will agree with another remark which occurs to me.
What may that be?
There seem to be two causes of the deterioration of the arts.
What are they?
Wealth, I said, and poverty.
How do they act?
The process is as follows: When a potter becomes rich, will he, think you, any longer take the same pains with his art?
He will grow more and more indolent and careless?
And the result will be that he becomes a worse potter?
Yes; he greatly deteriorates.
But, on the other hand, if he has no money, and cannot provide himself with tools or instruments, he will not work equally well himself, nor will he teach his sons or apprentices to work equally well.
Then, under the influence either of poverty or of wealth, workmen and their work are equally liable to degenerate?
That is evident.
Here, then, is a discovery of new evils, I said, against which the guardians will have to watch, or they will creep into the city unobserved.
Wealth, I said, and poverty; the one is the parent of luxury and indolence, and the other of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.
That is very true, he replied; but still I should like to know, Socrates, how our city will be able to go to war, especially against an enemy who is rich and powerful, if deprived of the sinews of war.
There would certainly be a difficulty, I replied, in going to war with one such enemy; but there is no difficulty where there are two of them.
How so? he asked.
In the first place, I said, if we have to fight, our side will be trained warriors fighting against an army of rich men.
That is true, he said.
And do you not suppose, Adeimantus, that a single boxer who was perfect in his art would easily be a match for two stout and well-to-do gentlemen who were not boxers?
Hardly, if they came upon him at once.
What, now, I said, if he were able to run away and then turn and strike at the one who first came up? And supposing he were to do this several times under the heat of a scorching sun, might he not, being an expert, overturn more than one stout personage?
Certainly, he said, there would be nothing wonderful in that.
And yet rich men probably have a greater superiority in the science and practise of boxing than they have in military qualities.
Then we may assume that our athletes will be able to fight with two or three times their own number?
I agree with you, for I think you right.
And suppose that, before engaging, our citizens send an embassy to one of the two cities, telling them what is the truth: Silver and gold we neither have nor are permitted to have, but you may; do you therefore come and help us in war, and take the spoils of the other city: Who, on hearing these words, would choose to fight against lean wiry dogs, rather than, with the dogs on their side, against fat and tender sheep?
That is not likely; and yet there might be a danger to the poor State if the wealth of many States were to be gathered into one.
But how simple of you to use the term State at all of any but our own!
You ought to speak of other States in the plural number; not one of them is a city, but many cities, as they say in the game. For indeed any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich; these are at war with one another; and in either there are many smaller divisions, and you would be altogether beside the mark if you treated them all as a single State. But if you deal with them as many, and give the wealth or power or persons of the one to the others, you will always have a great many friends and not many enemies. And your State, while the wise order which has now been prescribed continues to prevail in her, will be the greatest of States, I do not mean to say in reputation or appearance, but in deed and truth, though she number not more than a thousand defenders. A single State which is her equal you will hardly find, either among Hellenes or barbarians, though many that appear to be as great and many times greater.
That is most true, he said.
And what, I said, will be the best limit for our rulers to fix when they are considering the size of the State and the amount of territory which they are to include, and beyond which they will not go?
What limit would you propose?
I would allow the State to increase so far as is consistent with unity; that, I think, is the proper limit.
Very good, he said.
Here then, I said, is another order which will have to be conveyed to our guardians: Let our city be accounted neither large nor small, but one and self-sufficing.
And surely, said he, this is not a very severe order which we impose upon them.
And the other, said I, of which we were speaking before is lighter still,—I mean the duty of degrading the offspring of the guardians when inferior, and of elevating into the rank of guardians the offspring of the lower classes, when naturally superior. The intention was, that, in the case of the citizens generally, each individual should be put to the use for which nature intended him, one to one work, and then every man would do his own business, and be one and not many; and so the whole city would be one and not many.
Yes, he said; that is not so difficult.
The regulations which we are prescribing, my good Adeimantus, are not, as might be supposed, a number of great principles, but trifles all, if care be taken, as the saying is, of the one great thing,—a thing, however, which I would rather call, not great, but sufficient for our purpose.
What may that be? he asked.
Education, I said, and nurture: If our citizens are well educated, and grow into sensible men, they will easily see their way through all these, as well as other matters which I omit; such, for example, as marriage, the possession of women and the procreation of children, which will all follow the general principle that friends have all things in common, as the proverb says.
That will be the best way of settling them.
Also, I said, the State, if once started well, moves with accumulating force like a wheel. For good nurture and education implant good constitutions, and these good constitutions taking root in a good education improve more and more, and this improvement affects the breed in man as in other animals.
Very possibly, he said.
Then to sum up: This is the point to which, above all, the attention of our rulers should be directed,—that music and gymnastic be preserved in their original form, and no innovation made. They must do their utmost to maintain them intact. And when any one says that mankind most regard
‘The newest song which the singers have,’
they will be afraid that he may be praising, not new songs, but a new kind of song; and this ought not to be praised, or conceived to be the meaning of the poet; for any musical innovation is full of danger to the whole State, and ought to be prohibited. So Damon tells me, and I can quite believe him;—he says that when modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the State always change with them.
Yes, said Adeimantus; and you may add my suffrage to Damon’s and your own.
Then, I said, our guardians must lay the foundations of their fortress in music?
Yes, he said; the lawlessness of which you speak too easily steals in.
Yes, I replied, in the form of amusement; and at first sight it appears harmless.
Why, yes, he said, and there is no harm; were it not that little by little this spirit of licence, finding a home, imperceptibly penetrates into manners and customs; whence, issuing with greater force, it invades contracts between man and man, and from contracts goes on to laws and constitutions, in utter recklessness, ending at last, Socrates, by an overthrow of all rights, private as well as public.
Is that true? I said.
That is my belief, he replied.
Then, as I was saying, our youth should be trained from the first in a stricter system, for if amusements become lawless, and the youths themselves become lawless, they can never grow up into well-conducted and virtuous citizens.
Very true, he said.
And when they have made a good beginning in play, and by the help of music have gained the habit of good order, then this habit of order, in a manner how unlike the lawless play of the others! will accompany them in all their actions and be a principle of growth to them, and if there be any fallen places in the State will raise them up again.
Very true, he said.
Thus educated, they will invent for themselves any lesser rules which their predecessors have altogether neglected.
What do you mean?
I mean such things as these:—when the young are to be silent before their elders; how they are to show respect to them by standing and making them sit; what honour is due to parents; what garments or shoes are to be worn; the mode of dressing the hair; deportment and manners in general. You would agree with me?
But there is, I think, small wisdom in legislating about such matters,—I doubt if it is ever done; nor are any precise written enactments about them likely to be lasting.
It would seem, Adeimantus, that the direction in which education starts a man, will determine his future life. Does not like always attract like?
To be sure.
Until some one rare and grand result is reached which may be good, and may be the reverse of good?
That is not to be denied.
And for this reason, I said, I shall not attempt to legislate further about them.
Naturally enough, he replied.
Well, and about the business of the agora, and the ordinary dealings between man and man, or again about agreements with artisans; about insult and injury, or the commencement of actions, and the appointment of juries, what would you say? there may also arise questions about any impositions and exactions of market and harbour dues which may be required, and in general about the regulations of markets, police, harbours, and the like. But, oh heavens! shall we condescend to legislate on any of these particulars?
I think, he said, that there is no need to impose laws about them on good men; what regulations are necessary they will find out soon enough for themselves.
Yes, I said, my friend, if God will only preserve to them the laws which we have given them.
And without divine help, said Adeimantus, they will go on for ever making and mending their laws and their lives in the hope of attaining perfection.
You would compare them, I said, to those invalids who, having no self-restraint, will not leave off their habits of intemperance?
Yes, I said; and what a delightful life they lead! they are always doctoring and increasing and complicating their disorders, and always fancying that they will be cured by any nostrum which anybody advises them to try.
Such cases are very common, he said, with invalids of this sort.
Yes, I replied; and the charming thing is that they deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth, which is simply that, unless they give up eating and drinking and wenching and idling, neither drug nor cautery nor spell nor amulet nor any other remedy will avail.
Charming! he replied. I see nothing charming in going into a passion with a man who tells you what is right.
These gentlemen, I said, do not seem to be in your good graces.
Nor would you praise the behaviour of States which act like the men whom I was just now describing. For are there not ill-ordered States in which the citizens are forbidden under pain of death to alter the constitution; and yet he who most sweetly courts those who live under this regime and indulges them and fawns upon them and is skilful in anticipating and gratifying their humours is held to be a great and good statesman—do not these States resemble the persons whom I was describing?
Yes, he said; the States are as bad as the men; and I am very far from praising them.
But do you not admire, I said, the coolness and dexterity of these ready ministers of political corruption?
Yes, he said, I do; but not of all of them, for there are some whom the applause of the multitude has deluded into the belief that they are really statesmen, and these are not much to be admired.
What do you mean? I said; you should have more feeling for them. When a man cannot measure, and a great many others who cannot measure declare that he is four cubits high, can he help believing what they say?
Nay, he said, certainly not in that case.
Well, then, do not be angry with them; for are they not as good as a play, trying their hand at paltry reforms such as I was describing; they are always fancying that by legislation they will make an end of frauds in contracts, and the other rascalities which I was mentioning, not knowing that they are in reality cutting off the heads of a hydra?
Yes, he said; that is just what they are doing.
I conceive, I said, that the true legislator will not trouble himself with this class of enactments whether concerning laws or the constitution either in an ill-ordered or in a well-ordered State; for in the former they are quite useless, and in the latter there will be no difficulty in devising them; and many of them will naturally flow out of our previous regulations.
What, then, he said, is still remaining to us of the work of legislation?
Nothing to us, I replied; but to Apollo, the God of Delphi, there remains the ordering of the greatest and noblest and chiefest things of all.
Which are they? he said.
The institution of temples and sacrifices, and the entire service of gods, demigods, and heroes; also the ordering of the repositories of the dead, and the rites which have to be observed by him who would propitiate the inhabitants of the world below. These are matters of which we are ignorant ourselves, and as founders of a city we should be unwise in trusting them to any interpreter but our ancestral deity. He is the god who sits in the centre, on the navel of the earth, and he is the interpreter of religion to all mankind.
You are right, and we will do as you propose.
But where, amid all this, is justice? son of Ariston, tell me where. Now that our city has been made habitable, light a candle and search, and get your brother and Polemarchus and the rest of our friends to help, and let us see where in it we can discover justice and where injustice, and in what they differ from one another, and which of them the man who would be happy should have for his portion, whether seen or unseen by gods and men.
Nonsense, said Glaucon: did you not promise to search yourself, saying that for you not to help justice in her need would be an impiety?
I do not deny that I said so, and as you remind me, I will be as good as my word; but you must join.
We will, he replied.
Well, then, I hope to make the discovery in this way: I mean to begin with the assumption that our State, if rightly ordered, is perfect.
That is most certain.
And being perfect, is therefore wise and valiant and temperate and just.
That is likewise clear.
And whichever of these qualities we find in the State, the one which is not found will be the residue?
If there were four things, and we were searching for one of them, wherever it might be, the one sought for might be known to us from the first, and there would be no further trouble; or we might know the other three first, and then the fourth would clearly be the one left.
Very true, he said.
And is not a similar method to be pursued about the virtues, which are also four in number?
First among the virtues found in the State, wisdom comes into view, and in this I detect a certain peculiarity.
What is that?
The State which we have been describing is said to be wise as being good in counsel?
And good counsel is clearly a kind of knowledge, for not by ignorance, but by knowledge, do men counsel well?
And the kinds of knowledge in a State are many and diverse?
There is the knowledge of the carpenter; but is that the sort of knowledge which gives a city the title of wise and good in counsel?
Certainly not; that would only give a city the reputation of skill in carpentering.
Then a city is not to be called wise because possessing a knowledge which counsels for the best about wooden implements?
Nor by reason of a knowledge which advises about brazen pots, I said, nor as possessing any other similar knowledge?
Not by reason of any of them, he said.
Nor yet by reason of a knowledge which cultivates the earth; that would give the city the name of agricultural?
Well, I said, and is there any knowledge in our recently-founded State among any of the citizens which advises, not about any particular thing in the State, but about the whole, and considers how a State can best deal with itself and with other States?
There certainly is.
And what is this knowledge, and among whom is it found? I asked.
It is the knowledge of the guardians, he replied, and is found among those whom we were just now describing as perfect guardians.
And what is the name which the city derives from the possession of this sort of knowledge?
The name of good in counsel and truly wise.
And will there be in our city more of these true guardians or more smiths?
The smiths, he replied, will be far more numerous.
Will not the guardians be the smallest of all the classes who receive a name from the profession of some kind of knowledge?
Much the smallest.
And so by reason of the smallest part or class, and of the knowledge which resides in this presiding and ruling part of itself, the whole State, being thus constituted according to nature, will be wise; and this, which has the only knowledge worthy to be called wisdom, has been ordained by nature to be of all classes the least.
Thus, then, I said, the nature and place in the State of one of the four virtues has somehow or other been discovered.
And, in my humble opinion, very satisfactorily discovered, he replied.
Again, I said, there is no difficulty in seeing the nature of courage, and in what part that quality resides which gives the name of courageous to the State.
How do you mean?
Why, I said, every one who calls any State courageous or cowardly, will be thinking of the part which fights and goes out to war on the State’s behalf.
No one, he replied, would ever think of any other.
The rest of the citizens may be courageous or may be cowardly, but their courage or cowardice will not, as I conceive, have the effect of making the city either the one or the other.
The city will be courageous in virtue of a portion of herself which preserves under all circumstances that opinion about the nature of things to be feared and not to be feared in which our legislator educated them; and this is what you term courage.
I should like to hear what you are saying once more, for I do not think that I perfectly understand you.
I mean that courage is a kind of salvation.
Salvation of what?
Of the opinion respecting things to be feared, what they are and of what nature, which the law implants through education; and I mean by the words ‘under all circumstances’ to intimate that in pleasure or in pain, or under the influence of desire or fear, a man preserves, and does not lose this opinion. Shall I give you an illustration?
If you please.
You know, I said, that dyers, when they want to dye wool for making the true sea-purple, begin by selecting their white colour first; this they prepare and dress with much care and pains, in order that the white ground may take the purple hue in full perfection. The dyeing then proceeds; and whatever is dyed in this manner becomes a fast colour, and no washing either with lyes or without them can take away the bloom. But, when the ground has not been duly prepared, you will have noticed how poor is the look either of purple or of any other colour.
Yes, he said; I know that they have a washed-out and ridiculous appearance.
Then now, I said, you will understand what our object was in selecting our soldiers, and educating them in music and gymnastic; we were contriving influences which would prepare them to take the dye of the laws in perfection, and the colour of their opinion about dangers and of every other opinion was to be indelibly fixed by their nurture and training, not to be washed away by such potent lyes as pleasure—mightier agent far in washing the soul than any soda or lye; or by sorrow, fear, and desire, the mightiest of all other solvents. And this sort of universal saving power of true opinion in conformity with law about real and false dangers I call and maintain to be courage, unless you disagree.
But I agree, he replied; for I suppose that you mean to exclude mere uninstructed courage, such as that of a wild beast or of a slave—this, in your opinion, is not the courage which the law ordains, and ought to have another name.
Then I may infer courage to be such as you describe?
Why, yes, said I, you may, and if you add the words ‘of a citizen,’ you will not be far wrong;—hereafter, if you like, we will carry the examination further, but at present we are seeking not for courage but justice; and for the purpose of our enquiry we have said enough.
You are right, he replied.
Two virtues remain to be discovered in the State—first, temperance, and then justice which is the end of our search.
Now, can we find justice without troubling ourselves about temperance?
I do not know how that can be accomplished, he said, nor do I desire that justice should be brought to light and temperance lost sight of; and therefore I wish that you would do me the favour of considering temperance first.
Certainly, I replied, I should not be justified in refusing your request.
Then consider, he said.
Yes, I replied; I will; and as far as I can at present see, the virtue of temperance has more of the nature of harmony and symphony than the preceding.
How so? he asked.
Temperance, I replied, is the ordering or controlling of certain pleasures and desires; this is curiously enough implied in the saying of ‘a man being his own master;’ and other traces of the same notion may be found in language.
No doubt, he said.
There is something ridiculous in the expression ‘master of himself;’ for the master is also the servant and the servant the master; and in all these modes of speaking the same person is denoted.
The meaning is, I believe, that in the human soul there is a better and also a worse principle; and when the better has the worse under control, then a man is said to be master of himself; and this is a term of praise: but when, owing to evil education or association, the better principle, which is also the smaller, is overwhelmed by the greater mass of the worse—in this case he is blamed and is called the slave of self and unprincipled.
Yes, there is reason in that.
- Look at our newly-created State.
- One of these two conditions are realized
- the State may be justly called master of itself, if the words ‘temperance’ and ‘self-mastery’ truly express the rule of the better part over the worse.
- The manifold and complex pleasures and desires and pains are generally found in:
- freemen so called who are of the lowest and more numerous class.
- Whereas the simple and moderate desires which follow reason, and are under the guidance of mind and true opinion, are to be found only:
- in a few, and
- those the best born and best educated.
- These two have a place in our State
- The meaner desires of the many are held down by the virtuous desires and wisdom of the few.
- Then if there be any city which may be described as master of its own pleasures and desires, and master of itself, ours may claim such a designation?
- It may also be called temperate
- If there be any State in which rulers and subjects will be agreed as to the question who are to rule, that again will be our State?
- And the citizens being thus agreed among themselves, in which class will temperance be found—in the rulers or in the subjects?
In both, as I should imagine, he replied.
- Do you observe that we were not far wrong in our guess that temperance was a sort of harmony?
- Because temperance is unlike courage and wisdom.
- Each of which resides in a part only.
- The one making the State wise and the other valiant.
- Temperance extends to the whole and does not do this.
- It runs through all the notes of the scale.
- It produces a harmony of the weaker and the stronger and the middle class, whether you suppose them to be stronger or weaker in wisdom or power or numbers or wealth, or anything else.
- Most truly then may we deem temperance to be the agreement of the naturally superior and inferior, as to the right to rule of either, both in states and individuals.
- We may consider three out of the four virtues to have been discovered in our State. The last of those qualities which make a state virtuous must be justice, if we only knew what that was.
The inference is obvious.
The time then has arrived, Glaucon, when, like huntsmen, we should surround the cover, and look sharp that justice does not steal away, and pass out of sight and escape us; for beyond a doubt she is somewhere in this country: watch therefore and strive to catch a sight of her, and if you see her first, let me know.
Would that I could! but you should regard me rather as a follower who has just eyes enough to see what you show him—that is about as much as I am good for.
Offer up a prayer with me and follow.
I will, but you must show me the way.
Here is no path, I said, and the wood is dark and perplexing; still we must push on.
Let us push on.
Here I saw something: Halloo! I said, I begin to perceive a track, and I believe that the quarry will not escape.
Good news, he said.
Truly, I said, we are stupid fellows.
Why, my good sir, at the beginning of our enquiry, ages ago, there was justice tumbling out at our feet, and we never saw her; nothing could be more ridiculous. Like people who go about looking for what they have in their hands—that was the way with us—we looked not at what we were seeking, but at what was far off in the distance; and therefore, I suppose, we missed her.
What do you mean?
I mean to say that in reality for a long time past we have been talking of justice, and have failed to recognise her.
I grow impatient at the length of your exordium.
Well then, tell me, I said, whether I am right or not: You remember the original principle which we were always laying down at the foundation of the State, that one man should practise one thing only, the thing to which his nature was best adapted;—now justice is this principle or a part of it.
Yes, we often said that one man should do one thing only.
Further, we affirmed that justice was doing one’s own business, and not being a busybody; we said so again and again, and many others have said the same to us.
Yes, we said so.
Then to do one’s own business in a certain way may be assumed to be justice. Can you tell me whence I derive this inference?
I cannot, but I should like to be told.
Because I think that this is the only virtue which remains in the State when the other virtues of temperance and courage and wisdom are abstracted; and, that this is the ultimate cause and condition of the existence of all of them, and while remaining in them is also their preservative; and we were saying that if the three were discovered by us, justice would be the fourth or remaining one.
That follows of necessity.
If we are asked to determine which of these four qualities by its presence contributes most to the excellence of the State, whether the agreement of rulers and subjects, or the preservation in the soldiers of the opinion which the law ordains about the true nature of dangers, or wisdom and watchfulness in the rulers, or whether this other which I am mentioning, and which is found in children and women, slave and freeman, artisan, ruler, subject,—the quality, I mean, of every one doing his own work, and not being a busybody, would claim the palm—the question is not so easily answered.
Certainly, he replied, there would be a difficulty in saying which.
Then the power of each individual in the State to do his own work appears to compete with the other political virtues, wisdom, temperance, courage.
Yes, he said.
- The virtue which enters into this competition is justice.
- Are not the rulers in a State those to whom you would entrust the office of determining suits at law?
- And are suits decided on any other ground but that a man may neither take what is another’s, nor be deprived of what is his own?
Which is a just principle?
- Then justice will be admitted to be the having and doing what is a man’s own, and belongs to him.
- Suppose a carpenter to be doing the business of a cobbler, or a cobbler of a carpenter; and suppose them to exchange their implements or their duties, or the same person to be doing the work of both, or whatever be the change
- Not much harm would result to the State.
- But when the cobbler or any other man whom nature designed to be a trader, having his heart lifted up by wealth or strength or the number of his followers, or any like advantage, attempts to force his way into the class of warriors, or a warrior into that of legislators and guardians, for which he is unfitted, and either to take the implements or the duties of the other; or when one man is trader, legislator, and warrior all in one, then I think you will agree with me in saying that this interchange and this meddling of one with another is the ruin of the State.
- There are three distinct classes.
- Any meddling of one with another, or the change of one into another, is the greatest harm to the State
- It can be called evil-doing
- The greatest degree of evil-doing to one’s own city will be called injustice
- On the other hand, when the trader, the auxiliary, and the guardian each do their own business, that is justice.
- It will make the city just.
- We will not be over-positive as yet.
- But if, on trial, this conception of justice be verified in the individual as well as in the State, there will be no longer any room for doubt;
- If it be not verified, we must have a fresh enquiry.
- First let us complete the old investigation, which we began, as you remember, under the impression that, if we could previously examine justice on the larger scale, there would be less difficulty in discerning her in the individual.
- That larger example appeared to be the State, and accordingly we constructed as good a one as we could, knowing well that in the good State justice would be found.
- Let the discovery which we made be now applied to the individual—if they agree, we shall be satisfied; or, if there be a difference in the individual, we will come back to the State and have another trial of the theory. The friction of the two when rubbed together may possibly strike a light in which justice will shine forth, and the vision which is then revealed we will fix in our souls.
That will be in regular course; let us do as you say.
- When two things, a greater and less, are called by the same name, they like as they are called the same.
- The just man then, if we regard the idea of justice only, will be like the just State?
- And a State was thought by us to be just when the three classes in the State severally did their own business; and also thought to be temperate and valiant and wise by reason of certain other affections and qualities of these same classes?
True, he said.
And so of the individual; we may assume that he has the same three principles in his own soul which are found in the State; and he may be rightly described in the same terms, because he is affected in the same manner?
Certainly, he said.
Once more then, O my friend, we have alighted upon an easy question—whether the soul has these three principles or not?
An easy question! Nay, rather, Socrates, the proverb holds that hard is the good.
Very true, I said; and I do not think that the method which we are employing is at all adequate to the accurate solution of this question; the true method is another and a longer one. Still we may arrive at a solution not below the level of the previous enquiry.
May we not be satisfied with that? he said;—under the circumstances, I am quite content.
I too, I replied, shall be extremely well satisfied.
Then faint not in pursuing the speculation, he said.
Must we not acknowledge, I said, that in each of us there are the same principles and habits which there are in the State; and that from the individual they pass into the State?—how else can they come there? Take the quality of passion or spirit;—it would be ridiculous to imagine that this quality, when found in States, is not derived from the individuals who are supposed to possess it, e.g. the Thracians, Scythians, and in general the northern nations; and the same may be said of the love of knowledge, which is the special characteristic of our part of the world, or of the love of money, which may, with equal truth, be attributed to the Phoenicians and Egyptians.
Exactly so, he said.
There is no difficulty in understanding this.
But the question is not quite so easy when we proceed to ask whether these principles are three or one; whether, that is to say, we learn with one part of our nature, are angry with another, and with a third part desire the satisfaction of our natural appetites; or whether the whole soul comes into play in each sort of action—to determine that is the difficulty.
Yes, he said; there lies the difficulty.
Then let us now try and determine whether they are the same or different.
How can we? he asked.
I replied as follows: The same thing clearly cannot act or be acted upon in the same part or in relation to the same thing at the same time, in contrary ways; and therefore whenever this contradiction occurs in things apparently the same, we know that they are really not the same, but different.
For example, I said, can the same thing be at rest and in motion at the same time in the same part?
Still, I said, let us have a more precise statement of terms, lest we should hereafter fall out by the way. Imagine the case of a man who is standing and also moving his hands and his head, and suppose a person to say that one and the same person is in motion and at rest at the same moment—to such a mode of speech we should object, and should rather say that one part of him is in motion while another is at rest.
And suppose the objector to refine still further, and to draw the nice distinction that not only parts of tops, but whole tops, when they spin round with their pegs fixed on the spot, are at rest and in motion at the same time (and he may say the same of anything which revolves in the same spot), his objection would not be admitted by us, because in such cases things are not at rest and in motion in the same parts of themselves; we should rather say that they have both an axis and a circumference, and that the axis stands still, for there is no deviation from the perpendicular; and that the circumference goes round. But if, while revolving, the axis inclines either to the right or left, forwards or backwards, then in no point of view can they be at rest.
That is the correct mode of describing them, he replied.
Then none of these objections will confuse us, or incline us to believe that the same thing at the same time, in the same part or in relation to the same thing, can act or be acted upon in contrary ways.
Certainly not, according to my way of thinking.
Yet, I said, that we may not be compelled to examine all such objections, and prove at length that they are untrue, let us assume their absurdity, and go forward on the understanding that hereafter, if this assumption turn out to be untrue, all the consequences which follow shall be withdrawn.
Yes, he said, that will be the best way.
Well, I said, would you not allow that assent and dissent, desire and aversion, attraction and repulsion, are all of them opposites, whether they are regarded as active or passive (for that makes no difference in the fact of their opposition)?
Yes, he said, they are opposites.
Well, I said, and hunger and thirst, and the desires in general, and again willing and wishing,—all these you would refer to the classes already mentioned. You would say—would you not?—that the soul of him who desires is seeking after the object of his desire; or that he is drawing to himself the thing which he wishes to possess: or again, when a person wants anything to be given him, his mind, longing for the realization of his desire, intimates his wish to have it by a nod of assent, as if he had been asked a question?
And what would you say of unwillingness and dislike and the absence of desire; should not these be referred to the opposite class of repulsion and rejection?
Admitting this to be true of desire generally, let us suppose a particular class of desires, and out of these we will select hunger and thirst, as they are termed, which are the most obvious of them?
Let us take that class, he said.
The object of one is food, and of the other drink?
And here comes the point: is not thirst the desire which the soul has of drink, and of drink only; not of drink qualified by anything else; for example, warm or cold, or much or little, or, in a word, drink of any particular sort: but if the thirst be accompanied by heat, then the desire is of cold drink; or, if accompanied by cold, then of warm drink; or, if the thirst be excessive, then the drink which is desired will be excessive; or, if not great, the quantity of drink will also be small: but thirst pure and simple will desire drink pure and simple, which is the natural satisfaction of thirst, as food is of hunger?
Yes, he said; the simple desire is, as you say, in every case of the simple object, and the qualified desire of the qualified object.
But here a confusion may arise; and I should wish to guard against an opponent starting up and saying that no man desires drink only, but good drink, or food only, but good food; for good is the universal object of desire, and thirst being a desire, will necessarily be thirst after good drink; and the same is true of every other desire.
Yes, he replied, the opponent might have something to say.
Nevertheless I should still maintain, that of relatives some have a quality attached to either term of the relation; others are simple and have their correlatives simple.
I do not know what you mean.
Well, you know of course that the greater is relative to the less?
And the much greater to the much less?
And the sometime greater to the sometime less, and the greater that is to be to the less that is to be?
Certainly, he said.
And so of more and less, and of other correlative terms, such as the double and the half, or again, the heavier and the lighter, the swifter and the slower; and of hot and cold, and of any other relatives;—is not this true of all of them?
And does not the same principle hold in the sciences? The object of science is knowledge (assuming that to be the true definition), but the object of a particular science is a particular kind of knowledge; I mean, for example, that the science of house-building is a kind of knowledge which is defined and distinguished from other kinds and is therefore termed architecture.
Because it has a particular quality which no other has?
And it has this particular quality because it has an object of a particular kind; and this is true of the other arts and sciences?
Now, then, if I have made myself clear, you will understand my original meaning in what I said about relatives. My meaning was, that if one term of a relation is taken alone, the other is taken alone; if one term is qualified, the other is also qualified. I do not mean to say that relatives may not be disparate, or that the science of health is healthy, or of disease necessarily diseased, or that the sciences of good and evil are therefore good and evil; but only that, when the term science is no longer used absolutely, but has a qualified object which in this case is the nature of health and disease, it becomes defined, and is hence called not merely science, but the science of medicine.
I quite understand, and I think as you do.
Would you not say that thirst is one of these essentially relative terms, having clearly a relation—
Yes, thirst is relative to drink.
And a certain kind of thirst is relative to a certain kind of drink; but thirst taken alone is neither of much nor little, nor of good nor bad, nor of any particular kind of drink, but of drink only?
Then the soul of the thirsty one, in so far as he is thirsty, desires only drink; for this he yearns and tries to obtain it?
That is plain.
And if you suppose something which pulls a thirsty soul away from drink, that must be different from the thirsty principle which draws him like a beast to drink; for, as we were saying, the same thing cannot at the same time with the same part of itself act in contrary ways about the same.
No more than you can say that the hands of the archer push and pull the bow at the same time, but what you say is that one hand pushes and the other pulls.
Exactly so, he replied.
And might a man be thirsty, and yet unwilling to drink?
Yes, he said, it constantly happens.
And in such a case what is one to say? Would you not say that there was something in the soul bidding a man to drink, and something else forbidding him, which is other and stronger than the principle which bids him?
I should say so.
And the forbidding principle is derived from reason, and that which bids and attracts proceeds from passion and disease?
Then we may fairly assume that they are two, and that they differ from one another; the one with which a man reasons, we may call the rational principle of the soul, the other, with which he loves and hungers and thirsts and feels the flutterings of any other desire, may be termed the irrational or appetitive, the ally of sundry pleasures and satisfactions?
Yes, he said, we may fairly assume them to be different.
Then let us finally determine that there are two principles existing in the soul. And what of passion, or spirit? Is it a third, or akin to one of the preceding?
I should be inclined to say—akin to desire.
Well, I said, there is a story which I remember to have heard, and in which I put faith. The story is, that Leontius, the son of Aglaion, coming up one day from the Piraeus, under the north wall on the outside, observed some dead bodies lying on the ground at the place of execution. He felt a desire to see them, and also a dread and abhorrence of them; for a time he struggled and covered his eyes, but at length the desire got the better of him; and forcing them open, he ran up to the dead bodies, saying, Look, ye wretches, take your fill of the fair sight.
I have heard the story myself, he said.
The moral of the tale is, that anger at times goes to war with desire, as though they were two distinct things.
Yes; that is the meaning, he said.
And are there not many other cases in which we observe that when a man’s desires violently prevail over his reason, he reviles himself, and is angry at the violence within him, and that in this struggle, which is like the struggle of factions in a State, his spirit is on the side of his reason;—but for the passionate or spirited element to take part with the desires when reason decides that she should not be opposed, is a sort of thing which I believe that you never observed occurring in yourself, nor, as I should imagine, in any one else?
Suppose that a man thinks he has done a wrong to another, the nobler he is the less able is he to feel indignant at any suffering, such as hunger, or cold, or any other pain which the injured person may inflict upon him—these he deems to be just, and, as I say, his anger refuses to be excited by them.
True, he said.
But when he thinks that he is the sufferer of the wrong, then he boils and chafes, and is on the side of what he believes to be justice; and because he suffers hunger or cold or other pain he is only the more determined to persevere and conquer. His noble spirit will not be quelled until he either slays or is slain; or until he hears the voice of the shepherd, that is, reason, bidding his dog bark no more.
The illustration is perfect, he replied; and in our State, as we were saying, the auxiliaries were to be dogs, and to hear the voice of the rulers, who are their shepherds.
I perceive, I said, that you quite understand me; there is, however, a further point which I wish you to consider.
You remember that passion or spirit appeared at first sight to be a kind of desire, but now we should say quite the contrary; for in the conflict of the soul spirit is arrayed on the side of the rational principle.
But a further question arises: Is passion different from reason also, or only a kind of reason; in which latter case, instead of three principles in the soul, there will only be two, the rational and the concupiscent; or rather, as the State was composed of three classes, traders, auxiliaries, counsellors, so may there not be in the individual soul a third element which is passion or spirit, and when not corrupted by bad education is the natural auxiliary of reason?
Yes, he said, there must be a third.
Yes, I replied, if passion, which has already been shown to be different from desire, turn out also to be different from reason.
But that is easily proved:—We may observe even in young children that they are full of spirit almost as soon as they are born, whereas some of them never seem to attain to the use of reason, and most of them late enough.
Excellent, I said, and you may see passion equally in brute animals, which is a further proof of the truth of what you are saying. And we may once more appeal to the words of Homer, which have been already quoted by us,
‘He smote his breast, and thus rebuked his soul,’
for in this verse Homer has clearly supposed the power which reasons about the better and worse to be different from the unreasoning anger which is rebuked by it.
Very true, he said.
And so, after much tossing, we have reached land, and are fairly agreed that the same principles which exist in the State exist also in the individual, and that they are three in number.
Must we not then infer that the individual is wise in the same way, and in virtue of the same quality which makes the State wise?
Also that the same quality which constitutes courage in the State constitutes courage in the individual, and that both the State and the individual bear the same relation to all the other virtues?
And the individual will be acknowledged by us to be just in the same way in which the State is just?
That follows, of course.
We cannot but remember that the justice of the State consisted in each of the three classes doing the work of its own class?
We are not very likely to have forgotten, he said.
We must recollect that the individual in whom the several qualities of his nature do their own work will be just, and will do his own work?
Yes, he said, we must remember that too.
And ought not the rational principle, which is wise, and has the care of the whole soul, to rule, and the passionate or spirited principle to be the subject and ally?
And, as we were saying, the united influence of music and gymnastic will bring them into accord, nerving and sustaining the reason with noble words and lessons, and moderating and soothing and civilizing the wildness of passion by harmony and rhythm?
Quite true, he said.
And these two, thus nurtured and educated, and having learned truly to know their own functions, will rule over the concupiscent, which in each of us is the largest part of the soul and by nature most insatiable of gain; over this they will keep guard, lest, waxing great and strong with the fulness of bodily pleasures, as they are termed, the concupiscent soul, no longer confined to her own sphere, should attempt to enslave and rule those who are not her natural-born subjects, and overturn the whole life of man?
Very true, he said.
Both together will they not be the best defenders of the whole soul and the whole body against attacks from without; the one counselling, and the other fighting under his leader, and courageously executing his commands and counsels?
And he is to be deemed courageous whose spirit retains in pleasure and in pain the commands of reason about what he ought or ought not to fear?
Right, he replied.
And him we call wise who has in him that little part which rules, and which proclaims these commands; that part too being supposed to have a knowledge of what is for the interest of each of the three parts and of the whole?
And would you not say that he is temperate who has these same elements in friendly harmony, in whom the one ruling principle of reason, and the two subject ones of spirit and desire are equally agreed that reason ought to rule, and do not rebel?
Certainly, he said, that is the true account of temperance whether in the State or individual.
And surely, I said, we have explained again and again how and by virtue of what quality a man will be just.
That is very certain.
And is justice dimmer in the individual, and is her form different, or is she the same which we found her to be in the State?
There is no difference in my opinion, he said.
Because, if any doubt is still lingering in our minds, a few commonplace instances will satisfy us of the truth of what I am saying.
What sort of instances do you mean?
If the case is put to us, must we not admit that the just State, or the man who is trained in the principles of such a State, will be less likely than the unjust to make away with a deposit of gold or silver? Would any one deny this?
No one, he replied.
Will the just man or citizen ever be guilty of sacrilege or theft, or treachery either to his friends or to his country?
Neither will he ever break faith where there have been oaths or agreements?
No one will be less likely to commit adultery, or to dishonour his father and mother, or to fail in his religious duties?
And the reason is that each part of him is doing its own business, whether in ruling or being ruled?
Are you satisfied then that the quality which makes such men and such states is justice, or do you hope to discover some other?
Not I, indeed.
Then our dream has been realized; and the suspicion which we entertained at the beginning of our work of construction, that some divine power must have conducted us to a primary form of justice, has now been verified?
And the division of labour which required the carpenter and the shoemaker and the rest of the citizens to be doing each his own business, and not another’s, was a shadow of justice, and for that reason it was of use?
But in reality justice was such as we were describing, being concerned however, not with the outward man, but with the inward, which is the true self and concernment of man: for the just man does not permit the several elements within him to interfere with one another, or any of them to do the work of others,—he sets in order his own inner life, and is his own master and his own law, and at peace with himself; and when he has bound together the three principles within him, which may be compared to the higher, lower, and middle notes of the scale, and the intermediate intervals—when he has bound all these together, and is no longer many, but has become one entirely temperate and perfectly adjusted nature, then he proceeds to act, if he has to act, whether in a matter of property, or in the treatment of the body, or in some affair of politics or private business; always thinking and calling that which preserves and co-operates with this harmonious condition, just and good action, and the knowledge which presides over it, wisdom, and that which at any time impairs this condition, he will call unjust action, and the opinion which presides over it ignorance.
You have said the exact truth, Socrates.
Very good; and if we were to affirm that we had discovered the just man and the just State, and the nature of justice in each of them, we should not be telling a falsehood?
Most certainly not.
May we say so, then?
Let us say so.
And now, I said, injustice has to be considered.
Must not injustice be a strife which arises among the three principles—a meddlesomeness, and interference, and rising up of a part of the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlawful authority, which is made by a rebellious subject against a true prince, of whom he is the natural vassal,—what is all this confusion and delusion but injustice, and intemperance and cowardice and ignorance, and every form of vice?
And if the nature of justice and injustice be known, then the meaning of acting unjustly and being unjust, or, again, of acting justly, will also be perfectly clear?
What do you mean? he said.
Why, I said, they are like disease and health; being in the soul just what disease and health are in the body.
How so? he said.
Why, I said, that which is healthy causes health, and that which is unhealthy causes disease.
- Just actions cause justice, and unjust actions cause injustice?
And the creation of health is the institution of a natural order and government of one by another in the parts of the body; and the creation of disease is the production of a state of things at variance with this natural order?
And is not the creation of justice the institution of a natural order and government of one by another in the parts of the soul, and the creation of injustice the production of a state of things at variance with the natural order?
Exactly so, he said.
Then virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the soul, and vice the disease and weakness and deformity of the same?
- Good practices lead to virtue.
- Evil practices lead to vice
- Our old question of the comparative advantage of justice and injustice has not been answered.
- Which is more profitable:
- to be just and act justly and practise virtue, whether seen or unseen of gods and men, or
- to be unjust and act unjustly, if only unpunished and unreformed?
- Which is more profitable:
I think the question has now become ridiculous. When the body is gone, life is no longer endurable and shall we be told that when the very essence of the vital principle is undermined and corrupted, life is still worth having to a man, if only he be allowed to do whatever he likes with the single exception that he is not to acquire justice and virtue, or to escape from injustice and vice; assuming them both to be such as we have described?
- Yes the question is ridiculous.
- Still, as we are near the spot at which we may see the truth in the clearest manner with our own eyes, let us not faint by the way.
- Behold the various forms of vice worth looking at.
- A man looking down at this argument will see that virtue is one, but that the forms of vice are innumerable.
- There being four special vices deserving of note.
- There appear to be as many forms of the soul as there are distinct forms of the State.
- There are five of the State, and five of the soul
What are they?
- The first is that which we have been describing.
- It has two names:
- rule is exercised by one distinguished man
- rule is exercised by many distinguished men
- It has two names:
- But I regard the two names as describing one form only
- The fundamental laws of the State will be maintained whether:
- the government is in the hands of one or many
- the governors have been trained in the way we have supposed