Simple Republic Book 3 (under construction)

Proper Tales of Morality for the Youth

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 courageous, they must learn other lessons, like those that will remove 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 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!'
  • Also the verse 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 remove such passages, because the greater their poetical charm, the less are they meet for people who:
    • are meant to be free, and
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Such a person is enough for himself and does not need others.
    • This is why the loss of a son or brother, or the deprivation of fortune, is to him least terrible.
    • Therefore he will be least likely to lament.
    • He will bear with the greatest equanimity any misfortune of this kind.
  • Then we shall be right in getting rid of the lamentations of famous men.
    • We will compare them to women (and not even to women who are good for anything) or to men of a baser sort.
    • We will tell our students to be the defenders of their country and avoid to become such men.
  • Achilles is the son of a goddess.
    • We will once more entreat Homer and the other poets not to depict Achilles 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, he should not so completely misrepresent the greatest of the gods, as to make him say:
    • 'O heavens! With my eyes I behold a dear friend of mine chased round and round the city, and my heart is sad.'
    • 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.'
  • If our youth seriously listened to such unworthy representations of the gods, instead of laughing at them as they should, they will feel that they cannot be dishonoured by such actions.
    • They will not 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.
  • Our guardians should not laugh at it, because excessive laughter almost always produces a violent reaction.
  • Then persons of worth, even if only mortal men, must not be represented as overcome by laughter.
  • They must be less overcome by laughter than the gods.
  • 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.'
  • We must not allow it.
  • Truth should be highly valued.
    • If 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.
    • 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.
  • The rulers have this privilege, because lying to the rulers is a more heinous fault than for:
    • the patient not to speak the truth about his own illnesses to the physician or to the trainer, or
    • a sailor not to tell the captain what is happening about the ship 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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?'
  • While other gods and men were asleep, Zeus devised plans but forgot them all in a moment of lust.
    • He was so completely overcome at the sight of Here that he would not even go into the hut.
    • He 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.

They should see and hear deeds of endurance done or told by famous men.

  • 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.'
  • Phoenix is the tutor of Achilles.
    • Phoenix did not give Achilles good counsel when he told him to take the gifts of the Greeks and assist them.
    • He should have told Achilles that he should not lay aside his anger without a gift.
    • We cannot believe:
      • that Achilles himself was such a lover of money as to take Agamemnon's gifts, or
      • that when he had received payment he restored Hector's dead body, but that without payment he was unwilling to do so.
  • I love Homer so I hardly like to say that in attributing these feelings to Achilles, that he is guilty of downright impiety.
  • I can believe little of:
    • the narrative of his insolence to Apollo, where he says:
      • You have wronged me, O most abominable of deities.
      • I would get revenge with you if only I had the power.'
    • 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.
  • Achilles was:
    • 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,
  • I cannot believe that he was guilty, any more than I can allow our citizens to believe that Achilles was so disordered in his wits as to be have been the slave of two inconsistent passions:
    • meanness, not untainted by avarice, and
    • 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
    • the tale 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.
  • 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.
  • These sentiments are neither pious nor true, for we have already proved that evil cannot come from the gods.
  • They will have a bad effect on those who hear them.
    • Everybody will begin to excuse his own vices when convinced that similar wickednesses are always being perpetrated by 'The kindred of the gods, the relatives of Zeus' who have 'the blood of deities in their veins.'
  • Let us put an end to such tales, lest they engender laxity of morals among the young.
  • 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 cannot answer this question at present because poets and story-tellers are guilty of making the gravest misstatements.
    • 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, and
    • command them to say the opposite.
  • 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, which includes both matter and manner.
  • 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 both.
  • In the first lines of the Iliad, the poet says that Chryses prayed Agamemnon to release his daughter.
    • Agamemnon flew into a passion with him.
    • Chryses failed of his object and invoked the anger of the God against the Achaeans.
    • The poet is speaking in his own person in the lines, 'And he prayed all the Greeks, but especially the two sons of Atreus, the chiefs of the people.'

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;'
  • 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 he 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.
  • Then he told him to go away and not to provoke him, if he intended to get home unscathed.
  • The old man went away in fear and silence.
  • 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,'.
  • 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.

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.
  • I implied that we must understand the mimetic art, whether the poets are to be allowed by us to imitate.
    • If so, whether in whole or in part?
    • If in part, then in what parts?
    • Or should all imitation be prohibited?
    • Should tragedy and comedy shall be admitted into our State?
    • Should our guardians be imitators?
    • Has this question been decided by the rule already laid down that one man can only do one thing well, and not many?
    • If he attempt many, he will 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.
  • When two species of imitation are nearly allied, the same persons cannot succeed in both.
    • For example, the writers of tragedy and comedy.
    • You called them imitations just now.

Yes, I did.

  • 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.
  • 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 we adhere to our original notion and bear in mind that our guardians are to dedicate themselves wholly to maintain freedom in the State, making this their craft, and engaging in no work which does not bear on this end, they should not 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
    • 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.
  • They must not represent:
    • slaves, male or female, performing the offices of slaves,
    • 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.
  • They should not 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,
    • smiths or other artificers, or oarsmen, or boatswains, or the like.

How can they when they are not allowed to apply their minds to the callings of any of these?

They cannot imitate the neighing of horses, the bellowing of bulls, the murmur of rivers and roll of the ocean, thunder.

No, if madness be forbidden, neither may they copy the behaviour of madmen.

You mean that there is one sort of narrative style which may be employed by a truly good man, and that another sort will be used by a man of an opposite character and education.

  • Suppose, that a just and good man comes on some saying or action of another good man.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 only prefer to admit the pure imitator of virtue.

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.

  • It is unsuitable that human nature should make men only have one role in our State, instead of twofold or manifold
  • This is why in our State, and in our State only, we shall find:
    • a shoemaker to be a pilot also,
    • a husbandman to be a dicast also,
    • a soldier to be 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.
      • 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.

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.
  • The Ionian, and the Lydian are the soft or drinking harmonies and are called 'relaxed.'
    • They do not have any military use.
  • The Dorian and the Phrygian are the only ones 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.
      • At such crisis he meets the blows of fortune with firm step and a determination to endure.
  • I want 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
    • when he is expressing his willingness to yield to persuasion or entreaty or admonition.
      • This represents his prudent conduct not carried away by his success, but acting moderately and wisely under the circumstances, and acquiescing in the event.
  • These two harmonies, the Dorian and Phrygian, 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.
  • If only these are to be used in our songs and melodies, we shall want more notes or a panharmonic scale.
  • We shall maintain the artificers of lyres with three corners and complex scales, or the makers of any other many-stringed curiously-harmonised instruments.
  • But what about the 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.
    • The preferring of Apollo and his instruments to Marsyas and his instruments is not at all strange.

Purging the State

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.
  • Rhythms will naturally follow after harmonies.
  • They should be subject to the same rules, for we should not 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 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.
  • But I am unable to say of what sort of lives they imitate.
  • Then we must ask Damon.
  • 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.
  • He arranged them in a way which I do not 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.
  • In some cases, he appeared to praise or censure the movement of the foot quite as much as the rhythm, or a combination of the two.
  • We should ask these 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 speaks 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 rhythms 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:
    • weaving
    • embroidery
    • architecture
    • every kind of manufacture
  • In all of the following, there is grace or the absence of grace:
    • nature
    • animal
    • vegetable
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

  • We do not slight them as unimportant whether they occupy a space large or small, but everywhere eager to make them out.
  • We do not think 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.
  • 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 is also the loveliest.
  • 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 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. None whatever. Yes, the greatest. No, nor a madder. Quite true, he said. Certainly not. No, it must never come near them.   Yes, a guardian should require another guardian to take care of him is ridiculous. How so? I think not.   Yes, that is still more disgraceful. Yes, they do certainly give very strange and newfangled names to diseases. That was surely an extraordinary drink to be given to a person in his condition.

| A rare reward of his skill!

Yes, 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.

He has an occupation.

  • 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 generally has nothing to do.
  • Phocylides says that as soon as a man has a livelihood he should practise virtue.

No, I think that he had better begin somewhat sooner.

Is the practice of virtue obligatory on the rich man, or can he live without it?

  • 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, 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, and equally incompatible with the management of a house, an army, or an office of state.

  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.

  • 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?
  • Are not the best judges in like manner those who are acquainted with all sorts of moral natures?

Yes, I too would have good judges and good physicians.

  • But do you know whom I think good?
  • I will, if I can. Let me however note that in the same question you join two things which are not the same.
  • 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.
  • But with the judge it is otherwise; since he governs mind by mind.
  • He should not 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.
  • 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.
  • Therefore, 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, that is the ideal of a judge.

Yes, 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.
  • 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.

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.
  • Thus our youth, having been educated only in that simple music which, as we said, inspires temperance, will be reluctant to go to law.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 that the teachers of both have in view chiefly the improvement of the soul.

  • 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, 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, 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.

  • 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.
  • The guardians should have both these qualities and both should be in harmony.
  • The harmonious soul is both temperate and courageous.
  • The inharmonious is cowardly and boorish.
  • 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?
  • 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.

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.

  • 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.
  • Such a presiding genius will be always required in our State if the government is to last.
  • 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.
  • Who are to be rulers and who subjects?
  • There can be no doubt that the elder must rule the younger.
  • The best of these must rule.
  • The best husbandmen are those most devoted to husbandry.
  • We should have the best of guardians for our city, those who have the characters of guardians.
  • They should be wise and efficient and have a special care of the State.
  • A man will be most likely to care about that which he loves?
  • 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?
  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

This is not this involuntary deprivation caused either by theft, or force, or enchantment.

  • 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? | Yes. | 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? | Yes. | 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.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?

Nothing new, 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.

  • 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 at my hesitation when you have heard.

  • 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Their houses must be such as will shield them against the cold of winter and the heat of summer.
  • Yes, but they must be the houses of soldiers, and not of shop-keepers.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Would not a really good education furnish the best safeguard?

But they are well-educated already.

I cannot be so confident.

  • I think that they should be, and that true education, whatever that may be, will civilize and humanize them in their relations to one another, and to those under their protection.
  • Their education, habitations, and all that belongs to them, should neither impair their virtue as guardians, nor tempt them to prey on the other citizens.
  • What will be their way of life?
  • 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.
  • They will go to mess and live together like soldiers in a camp.
  • We will tell them that they have gold and silver from God and that the diviner metal is within them.
    • They have therefore no need of the dross which is current among men.
    • They should not 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.
    • 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.
  • 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
    • They will hate and be hated, plot and be 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.
  • These shall be the regulations appointed by us for guardians on their houses and all other matters.