SOCRATES - ADEIMANTUS
SUCH then, I said, are our principles
of theology--some tales are
to be told, and others are not
to be told to our disciples from
youth upwards, if we mean them
to honour the gods and their
and to value friendship with
Yes; and I think that our principles
are right, he said.
But if they are to be courageous,
must they not learn other lessons
besides these, and lessons of
such a kind as will take away
of death? Can any man be courageous
who has the fear of death
Certainly not, he said.
And can he be fearless of death,
or will he choose death in battle
rather than defeat and slavery,
who believes the world below
to be real and terrible?
Then we must assume a control
over the narrators of this class
of tales as well as over the
others, and beg them not simply
to but rather to commend the
world below, intimating to them
their descriptions are untrue,
and will do harm to our future
That will be our duty, he said.
Then, I said, we shall have
to obliterate many obnoxious
beginning with the verses,
I would rather he a serf on
the land of a poor and portionless
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
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
should be wise; but the other souls are flitting shades.
The soul flying from the limbs
had gone to Hades, lamentng her
leaving manhood and youth.
And the soul, with shrilling
cry, passed like smoke beneath
As bats in hollow of mystic
cavern, whenever any of the 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.
And we must beg Homer and the
other poets not to be angry if
out these and similar passages,
not because they are unpoetical,
or unattractive to the popular
ear, but because the greater
charm of them, the less are they
meet for the ears of boys and
who are meant to be free, and
who should fear slavery more
Also we shall have to reject
all the terrible and appalling
describe the world below--Cocytus
and Styx, ghosts under the earth,
and sapless shades, and any similar
words of which the very mention
causes a shudder to pass through
the inmost soul of him who hears
I do not say that these horrible
stories may not have a use of
but there is a danger that the
nerves of our guardians may be
too excitable and effeminate
There is a real danger, he said.
Then we must have no more of
Another and a nobler strain
must be composed and sung by
And shall we proceed to 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.
Yes; that is our principle.
And therefore he will not sorrow
for his departed friend as though
he had suffered anything terrible?
He will not.
Such an one, as we further maintain,
is sufficient for himself
and his own happiness, and therefore
is least in need of other men.
True, he said.
And for this reason the loss
of a son or brother, or the deprivation
of fortune, is to him of all
men least terrible.
And therefore he will be least
likely to lament, and will bear
the greatest equanimity any misfortune
of this sort which may befall
Yes, he will feel such a misfortune
far less than another.
Then we shall be right in getting
rid of the lamentations of famous
and making them over to women
(and not even to women who are
for anything), or to men of a
baser sort, that those who are
educated by us to be the defenders
of their country may scorn
to do the like.
That will be very right.
Then we will once more entreat
Homer and the other poets not
depict Achilles, who is the son
of a goddess, first lying on
then on his back, and then on
his face; then starting up and
in a frenzy along the shores
of the barren sea; now taking
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
Rolling in the dirt, calling
each man loudly by his name.
Still more earnestly will we
beg of him at all events not
the gods lamenting and saying,
Alas! my misery! Alas! that
I bore the harvest to my sorrow.
But if he must introduce the
gods, at any rate let him not
so completely to misrepresent
the greatest of the gods, as
O heavens! with my eyes verily
I behold a dear friend of mine
round and round the city, and my heart is sorrowful.
Woe is me that I am fated to
have Sarpedon, dearest of men
subdued at the hands of Patroclus the son of Menoetius.
For if, my sweet Adeimantus,
our youth seriously listen to
representations of the gods,
instead of laughing at them as
hardly will any of them deem
that he himself, being but a
can be dishonoured by similar
actions; neither will he rebuke
inclination which may arise in
his mind to say and do the like.
And instead of having any shame
or self-control, he will be always
whining and lamenting on slight
Yes, he said, that is most true.
Yes, I replied; 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.
It ought not to be.
Neither ought our guardians
to be given to laughter. For
of laughter which has been indulged
to excess almost always produces
a violent reaction.
So I believe.
Then persons of worth, even
if only mortal men, must not
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
as that of Homer when he describes
Inextinguishable laughter arose
among the blessed gods, when
saw Hephaestus bustling about the mansion.
On your views, we must not admit
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
then the use of such medicines
should be restricted to physicians;
private individuals have no business
Clearly not, he said.
Then if any one at all is to
have the privilege of lying,
the rulers of the State should
be the persons; and they,
in their dealings either with
enemies or with their own citizens,
may be allowed to lie for the
public good. But nobody else
should meddle with anything of
the kind; and although the rulers
have this privilege, for a private
man to lie to them in return
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
and how things are going with
himself or his fellow sailors.
Most true, he said.
If, then, the ruler catches
anybody beside himself lying
in the State,
Any of the craftsmen, whether
he 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
In the next place our youth
must be temperate?
Are not the chief elements of
temperance, speaking 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
and the verses which follow,
The Greeks marched breathing
...in silent awe of their leaders,
and other sentiments of the
What of this line,
O heavy with wine, who hast
the eyes of a dog and the heart
and of the words which follow?
Would you say that these, or
similar impertinences which private
individuals are supposed to address
to their rulers, whether in verse
or prose, are well or ill spoken?
They are ill spoken.
They may very possibly afford
some amusement, but they do not
conduce to temperance. And therefore
they are likely to do harm
to our young men--you would agree
with me there?
And then, again, to make the
wisest of men say that nothing
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
is it fit or conducive to temperance
for a young man to hear such
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
gods and men were asleep and
he the only person awake,
lay devising plans, but forgot
them all in a moment through
and was so completely overcome
at the sight of Here that he
not even go into the hut, but
wanted to lie with her on the
declaring that he had never been
in such a state of rapture before,
even when they first met one
Without the knowledge of their
or that other tale of how Hephaestus,
because of similar goings on,
cast a chain around Ares and
Indeed, he said, I am strongly
of opinion that they ought not
to 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!
Certainly, he said.
In the next place, we must not
let them be receivers of gifts
or lovers of money.
Neither must we sing to them
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 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, he said, these
are not sentiments which can
Loving Homer as I do, I hardly
like to say that in attributing
these feelings to Achilles, or
in believing that they are truly
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 he 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
which had been previously dedicated
to the other river-god Spercheius,
and that he actually performed
this vow; or that he dragged
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
be at one time the slave of two
seemingly inconsistent passions,
meanness, not untainted by avarice,
combined with overweening
contempt of gods and men.
You are quite right, he replied.
And let us equally refuse to
believe, or allow to be repeated,
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:
and let us further compel the
poets to declare either that
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
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
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 attar of Zeus, is aloft in air on the peak of Ida,
and who have
the blood of deities yet flowing
in their veins.
And therefore let us put an
end to such tales, lest they
laxity of morals among the young.
By all means, he replied.
But now that we are determining
what classes of subjects are
not to be spoken of, let us see
whether any have been omitted
The manner in which gods and
demigods and heroes and the world
should be treated has been already
And what shall we say about
men? That is clearly the remaining
portion of our subject.
But we are not in a condition
to answer this question at present,
Because, if I am not mistaken,
we shall have to say that about
poets and story-tellers are guilty
of making the gravest misstatements
when they tell us that wicked
men are often happy, and the
and that injustice is profitable
when undetected, but that justice
is a man's own loss and another's
gain--these things we shall
forbid them to utter, and command
them to sing and say the opposite.
To be sure we shall, he replied.
But if you admit that I am right
in this, then I shall maintain
have implied the principle for
which we have been all along
I grant the truth of your inference.
That such things are or are
not to be said about men is a
which we cannot determine until
we have discovered what justice
and how naturally advantageous
to the possessor, whether he
to be just or not.
Most true, he said.
Enough of the subjects of poetry:
let us now speak of the style;
and when this has been considered,
both matter and manner will have
been completely treated.
I do not understand what you
mean, said Adeimantus.
Then I must make you understand;
and perhaps I may be more
intelligible if I put the matter
in this way. You are aware,
I suppose, that all mythology
and poetry is a narration of
either past, present, or to come?
Certainly, he replied.
And narration may be either
simple narration, or imitation,
or a union of the two?
That again, he said, I do not
I fear that I must be a ridiculous
teacher when I have so much difficulty
in making myself apprehended.
Like a bad speaker, therefore,
not take the whole of the subject,
but will break a piece off in
illustration of my meaning. 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
the chiefs of the people,
the poet is speaking in his
own person; he never leads us
that he is any one else. But
in what follows he takes the
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.
And in this double form he has
cast the entire narrative of
which occurred at Troy and in
Ithaca and throughout the Odyssey.
And a narrative it 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, may we
say that he assimilates his style
to that of the person who,
as he informs you, is going to
And this assimilation of himself
to another, either by the use
of voice or gesture, is the imitation
of the person whose character
Then 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
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
and prayed the gods on behalf
of the Greeks that they might
Troy and return safely home,
but begged that they would give
his daughter, and take the ransom
which he brought, and respect
Thus he spoke, and the other
Greeks revered the priest and
But Agamemnon was wroth, and
bade him depart and not come
lest the staff and chaplets of
the God should be of no avail
the daughter of Chryses should
not be released, he said--
she should grow old with him
in Argos. And then he told him
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
that his good deeds might be
returned to him, and that the
might expiate his tears by the
arrows of the god,'--and so on.
In this way the whole becomes
I understand, he said.
Or you may suppose the opposite
case--that the intermediate passages
are omitted, and the dialogue
That also, he said, I understand;
you mean, for example, as in
You have conceived my meaning
perfectly; and if I mistake not,
what you failed to apprehend
before is now made clear to you,
that poetry and mythology are,
in some cases, wholly imitative--
instances of this are supplied
by tragedy and comedy; there
likewise the opposite style,
in which the my poet is the only
of this the dithyramb affords
the best example; and the combination
of both is found in epic, and
in several other styles of poetry.
take you with me?
Yes, he said; I see now what
I will ask you to remember also
what I began by saying, that
had done with the subject and
might proceed to the style.
Yes, I remember.
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, I said; but there may be
more than this in question:
I really do not know as yet,
but whither the argument may
thither we go.
And go we will, he said.
Then, Adeimantus, let me ask
you whether our guardians ought
to 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 fall of gaining
much reputation in any?
And 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
and at the same time to be an
imitator and imitate many other
as well; for even when two species
of imitation are nearly allied,
the same persons cannot succeed
in both, as, for example, the
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
are but imitations.
They are so.
And human nature, Adeimantus,
appears to have been coined into
smaller pieces, and to be as
incapable of imitating many things
as of performing well the actions
of which the imitations are copies.
Quite true, he replied.
If then we adhere to our original
notion and bear in mind that
our guardians, setting aside
every other business, are to
themselves wholly to the maintenance
of freedom in the State,
making this their craft, and
engaging in no work which does
on this end, they ought not to
practise or imitate anything
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
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
second nature, affecting body,
voice, and mind?
Yes, certainly, he said.
Then, I said, 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,
Very right, he said.
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
or revile one another in drink
or out of in drink or, or who
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
for madness, like vice, is to
be known but not to be practised
Very true, he replied.
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
minds to the callings of any
Nor may they imitate the neighing
of horses, the bellowing of bulls,
the murmur of rivers and roll
of the ocean, thunder, and all
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
when he has anything to say,
and that another sort will be
by a man of an opposite character
And which are these two sorts?
Suppose, I answered, that a
just and good man in the course
narration comes on some saying
or action of another good man,--
I should imagine that he will
like to personate him, and will
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
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
So I should expect, he replied.
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.
Do you agree?
Certainly, he said; that is
the model which such a speaker
But there is another sort of
character who will narrate anything,
and, the worse lie is, the more
unscrupulous he will be; nothing
be too bad for him: and he will
be ready to imitate anything,
not as a joke, but in right good
earnest, and before a large company.
As I was just now saying, he
will attempt to represent the
of thunder, the noise of wind
and hall, or the creaking of
and pulleys, and the various
sounds of flutes; pipes, trumpets,
sorts of instruments: he will
bark like a dog, bleat like a
or crow like a cock; his entire
art will consist in imitation
and gesture, and there will be
very little narration.
That, he said, will be his mode
These, then, are the two kinds
And you would agree with me
in saying that one of them is
and has but slight changes; and
if the harmony and rhythm are
also chosen for their simplicity,
the result is that the speaker,
if hc speaks correctly, is always
pretty much the same in style,
and he will keep within the limits
of a single harmony (for the
are not great), and in like manner
he will make use of nearly
the same rhythm?
That is quite true, he said.
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
That is also perfectly true,
And do not 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
They include all, he said.
And shall we receive into our
State all the three styles, or
only of the two unmixed styles?
or would you include the mixed?
I should prefer only to admit
the pure imitator of virtue.
Yes, I said, Adeimantus, but
the mixed style is also very
and indeed 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.
I do not deny it.
But I suppose you would argue
that such a style is unsuitable
to our State, in which human
nature is not twofold or manifold,
for one man plays one part only?
Yes; quite unsuitable.
And this is the reason why in
our State, and in our State only,
we shall find a shoemaker to
be a shoemaker and not a pilot
and a husbandman to be a husbandman
and not a dicast also, and a
a soldier and not a trader also,
and the same throughout?
True, he said.
And therefore when any one of
these pantomimic gentlemen,
who are so clever that they can
imitate anything, comes to us,
and makes a proposal to exhibit
himself and his poetry, we will
fall down and worship him as
a sweet and holy and wonderful
but we must also inform him that
in our State such as he
are not permitted to exist; the
law will not allow them.
And so 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
poet or story-teller, who will
imitate the style of the virtuous
and will follow those models
which we prescribed at first
began the education of our soldiers.
We certainly will, he said,
if we have the power.
Then now, my friend, I said,
that part of music or literary
which relates to the story or
myth may be considered to be
for the matter and manner have
both been discussed.
I think so too, he said.
Next in order will follow melody
That is obvious.
Every one can see already what
we ought to say about them, if
are to be consistent with ourselves.
SOCRATES - GLAUCON
I fear, said Glaucon, laughing,
that the words `every one'
hardly includes me, for I cannot
at the moment say what they should
though I may guess.
At any rate you can tell that
a song or ode has three parts--
the words, the melody, and the
rhythm; that degree of knowledge
Yes, he said; so much as that
And as for the words, there
surely be no difference words
words which are and which are
not set to music; both will conform
to the same laws, and these have
been already determined by us?
And the melody and rhythm will
depend upon the words?
We were saying, when we spoke
of the subject-matter, that we
had no need of lamentations and
strains of sorrow?
And which are the harmonies
expressive of sorrow? You are
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, I said, must be
banished; even to women who have
to maintain they are of no use,
and much less to men. Certainly.
In the next place, drunkenness
and softness and indolence are
utterly unbecoming the character
of our guardians.
And which are the soft or drinking
The Ionian, he replied, and
the Lydian; they are termed `relaxed.'
Well, and are these of any military
Quite the reverse, he replied;
and if so the Dorian and the
are the only ones which you have
I answered: Of the harmonies
I know nothing, but I want to
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
and he is going to wounds or
death or is overtaken by some
and at every such crisis meets
the blows of fortune with firm
and a determination to endure;
and another to be used by him
of peace and freedom of action,
when there is no pressure of
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
the strain of freedom, the strain
of the unfortunate and the strain
of the fortunate, the strain
of courage, and the strain of
these, I say, leave.
And these, he replied, are the
Dorian and Phrygian harmonies
of which I was just now speaking.
Then, I said, if these and these
only are to be used in our songs
and melodies, we shall not want
multiplicity of notes or a panharmonic
I suppose not.
Then we shall not maintain the
artificers of lyres with three
and complex scales, or the makers
of any other many-stringed
But what do you say to flute-makers
and flute-players? Would you
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
instruments is not at all strange,
Not at all, he replied.
And so, by the dog of Egypt,
we have been unconsciously purging
the State, which not long ago
we termed luxurious.
And we have done wisely, he
Then let us now finish the purgation,
I said. Next in order
to harmonies, rhythms will naturally
follow, and 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
and when we have found them,
we shall adapt the foot and the
to words having a like spirit,
not the words to the foot and
To say what these rhythms are
will be your duty--you must teach
as you have already taught me
But, indeed, he replied, I cannot
tell you. I only know that there
are some three principles of
rhythm out of which metrical
are framed, just as in sounds
there are four notes out of which
the harmonies are composed; that
is an observation which I have
But of what sort of lives they
are severally the imitations
unable to say.
Then, I said, we must take Damon
into our counsels; and he will
us what rhythms are expressive
of meanness, or insolence, or
or other unworthiness, and what
are to be reserved for the expression
of opposite feelings. And 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; and,
unless I am mistaken, he spoke
of an iambic as well as of a
trochaic rhythm, and assigned
short and long quantities. Also
in some cases he appeared to
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
These matters, however, as I
was saying, had better be referred
to Damon himself, for the analysis
of the subject would be difficult,
Rather so, I should say.
But there is no difficulty in
seeing that grace or the absence
of grace is an effect of good
or bad rhythm.
None at all.
And also that good and bad rhythm
naturally assimilate to a good
bad style; and that harmony and
discord in like manner follow
for our principle is that rhythm
and harmony are regulated by
and not the words by them.
Just so, he said, they should
follow the words.
And will not the words and the
character of the style depend
on the temper of the soul?
And everything else 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?
Very true, he replied.
And if our youth are to do their
work in life, must they not make
these graces and harmonies their
And surely the art of the painter
and every other creative and
constructive art are full of
them,--weaving, embroidery, architecture,
and every kind of manufacture;
also nature, animal and vegetable,--
in all of them there is grace
or the absence of grace.
And ugliness and discord and
inharmonious motion are nearly
to ill words and ill nature,
as grace and harmony are the
sisters of goodness and virtue
and bear their likeness.
That is quite true, he said.
But shall our superintendence
go no further, and are the poets
to be required by us to express
the image of the good in their
on pain, if they do anything
else, of expulsion from our State?
Or is the same control to be
extended to other artists, and
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
in our State, lest the taste
of our citizens be corrupted
We would not have our guardians
grow up amid images of moral
as in some noxious pasture, and
there browse and feed upon many
a baneful herb and flower day
by day, little by little, until
silently gather a festering mass
of corruption in their own soul.
Let our artists rather be those
who are gifted to discern the
nature of the beautiful and graceful;
then will our youth dwell
in a land of health, amid fair
sights and sounds, and receive
in everything; and beauty, the
effluence of fair works, shall
into the eye and ear, like a
health-giving breeze from a purer
and insensibly draw the soul
from earliest years into likeness
sympathy with the beauty of reason.
There can be no nobler training
than that, he replied.
And therefore, I said, Glaucon,
musical training is a more potent
instrument than any other, because
rhythm and harmony find their
into the inward places of the
soul, on which they mightily
imparting grace, and making the
soul of him who is rightly
educated graceful, or of him
who is ill-educated ungraceful;
and also because 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,
while he praises and rejoices
over and receives into his soul
the good, and becomes noble and
he will justly blame and hate
the bad, now in the days of his
even before he is able to know
the reason why; and when reason
he will recognise and salute
the friend with whom his education
made him long familiar.
Yes, he said, I quite agree
with you in thinking that our
should be trained in music and
on the grounds which you mention.
Just as in learning to read,
I said, we were satisfied when
the letters of the alphabet,
which are very few, in all their
sizes and combinations; not slighting
them as unimportant whether they
occupy a space large or small,
but everywhere eager to make
and not thinking ourselves perfect
in the art of reading until we
recognise them wherever they
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
in all their combinations, and
can recognise them and their
wherever they are found, not
slighting them either in small
or great, but believing them
all to be within the sphere of
one art and study.
And when a beautiful soul harmonises
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
The fairest indeed.
And the fairest is also the
That may be assumed.
And the man who has the spirit
of harmony will be most in love
the loveliest; but he will not
love him who is of an inharmonious
That is true, he replied, if
the deficiency be in his soul;
but if there be any merely bodily
defect in another he will be
of it, and will love all the
I perceive, I said, that you
have or have had experiences
this sort, and I agree. But let
me ask you another question:
Has excess of pleasure any affinity
How can that be? he replied;
pleasure deprives a man of the
of his faculties quite as much
Or any affinity to virtue in
Any affinity to wantonness and
Yes, the greatest.
And is there any greater or
keener pleasure than that of
No, nor a madder.
Whereas true love is a love
of beauty and order--temperate
Quite true, he said.
Then no intemperance or madness
should be allowed to approach
Then mad or intemperate pleasure
must never be allowed to come
near the lover and his beloved;
neither of them can have any
in it if their love is of the
No, indeed, Socrates, it must
never come near them.
Then I suppose that in the city
which we are founding you would
a law to the effect 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;
and this rule is to limit him
in all his intercourse, and he
to be seen going further, or,
if he exceeds, he is to be deemed
guilty of coarseness and bad
I quite agree, he said.
Thus much of music, which makes
a fair ending; for what should
be the end of music if not the
love of beauty?
I agree, he said.
After music comes gymnastic,
in which our youth are next to
Gymnastic as well as music should
begin in early years; the training
in it should be careful and should
continue through life.
Now my belief is,--and this is
a matter upon which I should
have your opinion in confirmation
of my own, but my own belief
not that the good body by any
bodily excellence improves the
but, on the contrary, that the
good soul, by her own excellence,
improves the body as far as this
may be possible. What do you
Yes, I agree.
Then, to the mind when adequately
trained, we shall be right in
over the more particular care
of the body; and in order to
prolixity we will now only give
the general outlines of the subject.
That they must abstain from
intoxication has been already
remarked by us;
for of all persons a guardian
should be the last to get drunk
and not know where in the world
Yes, he said; that a guardian
should require another guardian
to take care of him is ridiculous
But next, what shall we say
of their food; for the men
are in training for the great
contest of all--are they not?
Yes, he said.
And will the habit of body of
our ordinary athletes be suited
I am afraid, I said, that a
habit of body such as they have
but a sleepy sort of thing, and
rather perilous to health.
Do you not observe that these
athletes sleep away their lives,
and are liable to most dangerous
illnesses if they depart, in
so slight a degree, from their
Yes, I do.
Then, I said, a finer sort of
training will be required for
warrior athletes, who are to
be like wakeful dogs, and 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
That is my view.
The really excellent gymnastic
is twin sister of that simple
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.
What do you mean?
My meaning may be learned from
Homer; he, you know, feeds his
at their feasts, when they are
campaigning, on soldiers' fare;
no fish, although they are on
the shores of the Hellespont,
are not allowed boiled meats
but only roast, which is the
most convenient for soldiers,
requiring only that they should
a fire, and not involving the
trouble of carrying about pots
And I can hardly be mistaken
in saying that sweet sauces are
mentioned in Homer. In proscribing
them, however, he is not singular;
all professional athletes are
well aware that a man who is
in good condition should take
nothing of the kind.
Yes, he said; and knowing this,
they are quite right in not taking
Then you would not approve of
Syracusan dinners, and the refinements
of Sicilian cookery?
I think not.
Nor, if a man is to be in condition,
would you allow him to have
a Corinthian girl as his fair
Neither would you approve of
the delicacies, as they are thought,
of Athenian confectionery?
All such feeding and living
may be rightly compared by us
and song composed in the panharmonic
style, and in all the rhythms.
There complexity engendered
license, and here disease;
whereas simplicity in music was
the parent of temperance in the
and simplicity in gymnastic of
health in the body.
Most true, he said.
But when intemperance and disease
multiply in a State, halls of
and medicine are always being
opened; and the arts of the doctor
and the lawyer give themselves
airs, finding how keen is the
which not only the slaves but
the freemen of a city take about
And yet what greater proof can
there be of a bad and disgraceful
state of education than this,
that not only artisans and the
sort of people need the skill
of first-rate physicians and
but also those who would profess
to have had a liberal education?
Is it not disgraceful, and a
great sign of want of good-breeding,
that a man should have to go
abroad for his law and physic
he has none of his own at home,
and must therefore surrender
himself into the hands of other
men whom he makes lords and judges
Of all things, he said, the
Would you say `most,' I replied,
when you consider that 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
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
Is not that still more disgraceful?
Yes, he said, that is still
Well, I said, and to require
the help of medicine, not when
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
more names for diseases, such
as flatulence and catarrh;
is not this, too, a disgrace?
Yes, he said, they do certainly
give very strange and newfangled
names to diseases.
Yes, I said, and 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
of Asclepius who were at the
Trojan war do not blame the damsel
who gives him the drink, or rebuke
Patroclus, who is treating
Well, he said, that was surely
an extraordinary drink to be
to a person in his condition.
Not so extraordinary, I replied,
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
which may be said to educate
diseases. But Herodicus, being
and himself of a sickly constitution,
by a combination of training
and doctoring found out a way
of torturing first and chiefly
and secondly the rest of the
How was that? he said.
By the invention of lingering
death; for he had a mortal disease
which he perpetually tended,
and as recovery was out of the
he passed his entire life as
a valetudinarian; he could do
but attend upon himself, and
he was in constant torment whenever
he departed in anything from
his usual regimen, and so dying
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
understood that, if Asclepius
did not instruct his descendants
valetudinarian arts, the omission
arose, not from ignorance or
of such a branch of medicine,
but because he knew that in all
states every individual has an
occupation to which he must attend,
and has therefore no leisure
to spend in continually being
This we remark in the case of
the artisan, but, ludicrously
do not apply the same rule to
people of the richer sort.
How do you mean? he said.
I mean this: 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. And if
some one prescribes for him a
of dietetics, and tells him that
he must swathe and swaddle his
and all that sort of thing, he
replies at once that he has no
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;
and therefore bidding good-bye
to this sort of physician, he
his ordinary habits, and either
gets well and lives and does
his business, or, if his constitution
falls, he dies and has no
Yes, he said, and a man in his
condition of life ought to use
the art of medicine thus far
Has he not, I said, an occupation;
and what profit would there
be in his life if he were deprived
of his occupation?
Quite true, he said.
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
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
or can he live without it? And
if obligatory on him, then let
a further question, whether this
dieting of disorders which is
to the application of the mind
t in carpentering and the mechanical
arts, does not equally stand
in the way of the sentiment of
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
Yes, indeed, I replied, and
equally incompatible with the
of a house, an army, or an office
of state; and, what is
most important of all, irreconcilable
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
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
would not have attempted to cure
by gradual processes of evacuation
and infusion: he did not want
to lengthen out good-for-nothing
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
for such a cure would have been
of no use either to himself,
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
of which I am speaking at the
siege of Troy: You will remember
when Pandarus wounded Menelaus,
Sucked the blood out of the
wound, and sprinkled soothing
but they never prescribed what
the patient was afterwards to
drink in the case of Menelaus,
any more than in the case of
the remedies, as they conceived,
were enough to heal any man
who before he was wounded was
healthy and regular in habits;
and even though he did happen
to drink a posset of Pramnian
he might get well all the same.
But they would have nothing to
with unhealthy and intemperate
subjects, whose lives were of
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
was struck by lightning. But
we, in accordance with the principle
already affirmed by us, will
not believe them when they tell
if he was the son of a god, we
maintain that hd 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
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
Yes, I said, I too would have
good judges and good physicians.
But do you know whom I think
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
but they cure the body with the
mind, and the mind which has
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
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
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
your question); for he is good
who has a good soul. But the
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
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
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
but the other; for vice cannot
know virtue too, but a virtuous
educated by time, will acquire
a knowledge both of virtue and
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,
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
That is clearly the best thing
both for the patients and for
And thus our youth, having been
educated only in that simple
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
will have nothing to do with
medicine unless in some extreme
That I quite believe.
The very exercises and tolls
which he undergoes are intended
stimulate the spirited element
of his nature, and not to increase
his strength; he will not, like
common athletes, use exercise
and regimen to develop 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 fir the training of
What then is the real object
I believe, I said, that the
teachers of both have in view
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
Yes, he said, I am quite aware
that the mere athlete becomes
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
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,
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, 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
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
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
speedily accomplished, but if
he have a good deal, then the
of music weakening the spirit
renders him excitable;--on the
provocation he flames up at once,
and is speedily extinguished;
instead of having spirit he grows
irritable and passionate and
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
lie becomes twice the man that
And what happens? if he do nothing
else, and holds no con-a verse
with the Muses, does not even
that intelligence which there
in him, having no taste of any
sort of learning or enquiry or
or culture, grow feeble and dull
and blind, his mind never waking
or receiving nourishment, and
his senses not being purged of
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
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 harmonised.
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
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
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
of our citizens, or about their
hunting and coursing, their gymnastic
and equestrian contests? For
these all follow the general
and having found that, we shall
have no difficulty in discovering
I dare say that there will be
Very good, I said; then what
is the next question? Must we
who are to be rulers and who
There can be no doubt that the
elder must rule the younger.
And that the best of these must
That is also clear.
Now, are not the best husbandmen
those who are most devoted
And as we are to have the best
of guardians for our city, must
not be those who have most the
character of guardians?
And to this end they ought to
be wise and efficient, and to
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
the same interests with himself,
and that of which the good or
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
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
off their sense of duty to the
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
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
Yes, he replied; I agree with
you in thinking that mankind
deprived of truth against their
And is not this involuntary
deprivation caused either by
or force, or enchantment?
Still, he replied, I do not
I fear that I must have been
talking darkly, like the tragedians.
I only mean that some men are
changed by persuasion and that
argument steals away the hearts
of one class, and time of the
and this I call theft. Now you
Those again who are forced are
those whom the violence of some
or grief compels to change their
I understand, he said, and you
are quite right.
And you would also acknowledge
that the enchanted are those
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
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 falls in the trial
is to be rejected. That will
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
of a timid nature, so must we
take our youth amid terrors of
and again pass them into pleasures,
and prove them more thoroughly
than gold is proved in the furnace,
that we may discover whether
are armed against all enchantments,
and of a noble bearing always,
good guardians of themselves
and of the music which they have
and retaining under all circumstances
a rhythmical and harmonious nature,
such as will be most serviceable
to the individual and to the
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
the greatest that we have to
give. But him who fails, we must
I am inclined to think that this
is the sort of way in which our
and guardians should be chosen
and appointed. I speak generally,
and not with any pretension to
And, speaking generally, I agree
with you, he said.
And perhaps the word `guardian'
in the fullest sense ought to
applied to this higher class
only who preserve us against
enemies and maintain peace among
our citizens at home, that the
may not have the will, or the
others the power, to harm us.
The young men whom we before
called guardians may be more
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
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 of what
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
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
all that time they were being
formed and fed in the womb of
where they themselves and their
arms and appurtenances were manufactured;
when they were completed, the
earth, their mother, sent them
and so, their country being their
mother and also their nurse,
they are bound to advise for
her good, and to defend her against
and her citizens they are to
regard as children of the earth
You had good reason, he said,
to be ashamed of the lie which
were going to tell.
True, I replied, but there is
more coming; I have only told
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 auxillaries;
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 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 off spring;
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
Not in the present generation,
he replied; there is no way of
accomplishing this; but their
sons may be made to believe in
and their sons' sons, and posterity
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
them forth under the command
of their rulers. Let them look
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
of winter and the heat of summer.
I suppose that you mean houses,
Yes, I said; but they must be
the houses of soldiers, and not
What is the difference? he said.
That I will endeavour to explain,
I replied. To keep watchdogs,
who, from want of discipline
or hunger, or some evil habit,
or evil habit or other, would
turn upon the sheep and worry
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,
I cannot be so confident, my
dear Glaucon, I said; I am much
that they ought to be, and that
true education, whatever that
will have the greatest tendency
to civilize and humanize them
in their relations to one another,
and to those who are under
Very true, he replied.
And not only their education,
but their habitations, and all
belongs to them, should be such
as will neither impair their
as guardians, nor tempt them
to prey upon the other citizens.
Any man of sense must acknowledge
Then let us consider what will
be their way of life, if they
to realize our idea of them.
In the first place, none of them
have any property of his own
beyond what is absolutely necessary;
neither should they have a private
house or store closed against
who has a mind to enter; their
provisions should be only such
required by trained warriors,
who are men of temperance and
they should agree to receive
from the citizens a fixed rate
enough to meet the expenses of
the year and no more; and they
and live together like soldiers
in a camp. Gold and silver we
tell them that they have from
God; the diviner metal is within
and they have therefore no need
of the dross which is current
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
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
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
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.