HERE Adeimantus interposed a
question: How would you answer,
Socrates, said he, if a person
were to say that you are making
people miserable, and that they
are the cause of their own unhappiness;
the city in fact belongs to them,
but they are none the better
whereas other men acquire lands,
and build large and handsome
and have everything handsome
about them, offering sacrifices
to the gods on their own account,
and practising hospitality;
moreover, as you were saying
just now, they have gold and
and all that is usual among the
favourites of fortune; but our
citizens are no better than mercenaries
who are quartered in the city
and are always mounting guard?
Yes, I said; and you may add
that they are only fed, and not
in addition to their food, like
other men; and therefore they
if they would, take a journey
of pleasure; they have no money
on a mistress or any other luxurious
fancy, which, as the world goes,
is thought to be happiness; and
many other accusations of the
nature might be added.
But, said he, let us suppose
all this to be included in the
You mean to ask, I said, what
will be our answer?
If we proceed along the old
path, my belief, I said, is that
shall find the answer. And our
answer will be that, even as
they are, our guardians may very
likely be the happiest of men;
but that our aim in founding
the State was not the disproportionate
happiness of any one class, but
the greatest happiness of the
we thought that in a State which
is ordered with a view to
the good of the whole we should
be most likely to find Justice,
and in the ill-ordered State
injustice: and, having found
we might then decide which of
the two is the happier. At present,
I take it, we are fashioning
the happy State, not piecemeal,
or with a view of making a few
happy citizens, but as a whole;
and by-and-by we will proceed
to view the opposite kind of
Suppose that we were painting
a statue, and some one came up
and said, Why do you not put
the most beautiful colours on
beautiful parts of the body--the
eyes ought to be purple, but
have made them black--to him
we might fairly answer, Sir,
not surely have us beautify the
eyes to such a degree that they
are no longer eyes; consider
rather whether, by giving this
the other features their due
proportion, we make the whole
And so I say to you, do not compel
us to assign to the guardians
a sort of happiness which will
make them anything but guardians;
for we too can clothe our husbandmen
in royal apparel, and set
crowns of gold on their heads,
and bid them till the ground
as they like, and no more. Our
potters also might be allowed
on couches, and feast by the
fireside, passing round the winecup,
while their wheel is conveniently
at hand, and working at pottery
only as much as they like; in
this way we might make every
happy-and then, as you imagine,
the whole State would be happy.
But do not put this idea into
our heads; for, if we listen
the husbandman will be no longer
a husbandman, the potter will
to be a potter, and no one will
have the character of any distinct
class in the State. Now this
is not of much consequence where
the corruption of society, and
pretension to be what you are
is confined to cobblers; but
when the guardians of the laws
and of the government are only
seemingly and not real guardians,
then see how they turn the State
upside down; and on the other
they alone have the power of
giving order and happiness to
We mean our guardians to be true
saviours and not the destroyers
the State, whereas our opponent
is thinking of peasants at a
who are enjoying a life of revelry,
not of citizens who are doing
their duty to the State. But,
if so, we mean different things,
and he is speaking of something
which is not a State. And therefore
we must consider whether in appointing
our guardians we would look
to their greatest happiness individually,
or whether this principle
of happiness does not rather
reside in the State as a whole.
But the latter be the truth,
then the guardians and auxillaries,
and all others equally with them,
must be compelled or induced
to do their own work in the best
way. And thus the whole
State will grow up in a noble
order, and the several classes
will receive the proportion of
happiness which nature assigns
I think that you are quite right.
I wonder whether you will agree
with another remark which occurs
What may that be?
There seem to be two causes
of the deterioration of the arts.
What are they?
Wealth, I said, and poverty.
How do they act?
The process is as follows: When
a potter becomes rich, will he,
think you, any longer take the
same pains with his art?
He will grow more and more indolent
And the result will be that
he becomes a worse potter?
Yes; he greatly deteriorates.
But, on the other hand, if he
has no money, and cannot provide
himself tools or instruments,
he will not work equally well
nor will he teach his sons or
apprentices to work equally well.
Then, under the influence either
of poverty or of wealth,
workmen and their work are equally
liable to degenerate?
That is evident.
Here, then, is a discovery of
new evils, I said, against which
guardians will have to watch,
or they will creep into the city
Wealth, I said, and poverty;
the one is the parent of luxury
and the other of meanness and
viciousness, and both of discontent.
That is very true, he replied;
but still I should like to know,
Socrates, how our city will be
able to go to war, especially
an enemy who is rich and powerful,
if deprived of the sinews of
There would certainly be a difficulty,
I replied, in going to war
with one such enemy; but there
is no difficulty where there
are two of them.
How so? he asked.
In the first place, I said,
if we have to fight, our side
be trained warriors fighting
against an army of rich men.
That is true, he said.
And do you not suppose, Adeimantus,
single boxer who was perfect
in his art would
easily be a match for two stout
and well-to-do gentlemen who
were not boxers?
Hardly, if they came upon him
What, not, I said, if he were
able to run away and then turn
at the one who first came up?
And supposing he were to do this
several times under the heat
of a scorching sun, might he
being an expert, overturn more
than one stout personage?
Certainly, he said, there would
be nothing wonderful in that.
And yet rich men probably have
a greater superiority in the
and practice of boxing than they
have in military qualities.
Then we may assume that our
athletes will be able to fight
with two or three times their
I agree with you, for I think
And suppose that, before engaging,
our citizens send an embassy
to one of the two cities, telling
them what is the truth:
Silver and gold we neither have
nor are permitted to have, but
do you therefore come and help
us in war, of and take the spoils
of the other city: Who, on hearing
these words, would choose to
against lean wiry dogs, rather
th than, with the dogs on their
against fat and tender sheep?
That is not likely; and yet
there might be a danger to the
State if the wealth of many States
were to be gathered into one.
But how simple of you to use
the term State at all of any
but our own!
You ought to speak of other
States in the plural number;
not one of them is a city, but
many cities, as they say in the
For indeed any city, however
small, is in fact divided into
one the city of the poor, the
other of the rich; these are
with one another; and in either
there are many smaller divisions,
and you would be altogether beside
the mark if you treated them
all as a single State. But if
you deal with them as many,
and give the wealth or power
or persons of the one to the
you will always have a great
many friends and not many enemies.
And your State, while the wise
order which has now been prescribed
continues to prevail in her,
will be the greatest of States,
I do not mean to say in reputation
or appearance, but in deed
and truth, though she number
not more than a thousand defenders.
A single State which is her equal
you will hardly find, either
Hellenes or barbarians, though
many that appear to be as great
That is most true, he said.
And what, I said, will be the
best limit for our rulers to
when they are considering the
size of the State and the amount
of territory which they are to
include, and beyond which they
will not go?
What limit would you propose?
I would allow the State to increase
so far as is consistent
with unity; that, I think, is
the proper limit.
Very good, he said.
Here then, I said, is another
order which will have to be conveyed
to our guardians: Let our city
be accounted neither large nor
but one and self-sufficing.
And surely, said he, this is
not a very severe order which
impose upon them.
And the other, said I, of which
we were speaking before is lighter
-I mean the duty of degrading
the offspring of the guardians
when inferior, and of elevating
into the rank of guardians
the offspring of the lower classes,
when naturally superior.
The intention was, that, in the
case of the citizens generally,
each individual should be put
to the use for which nature which
nature intended him, one to one
work, and then every man would
do his own business, and be one
and not many; and so the whole
city would be one and not many.
Yes, he said; that is not so
The regulations which we are
prescribing, my good Adeimantus,
as might be supposed, a number
of great principles, but trifles
if care be taken, as the saying
is, of the one great thing,--
a thing, however, which I would
rather call, not great, but sufficient
for our purpose.
What may that be? he asked.
Education, I said, and nurture:
If our citizens are well educated,
and grow into sensible men, they
will easily see their way through
all these, as well as other matters
which I omit; such, for example,
as marriage, the possession of
women and the procreation of
which will all follow the general
principle that friends have all
in common, as the proverb says.
That will be the best way of
Also, I said, the State, if
once started well, moves with
force like a wheel. For good
nurture and education implant
good constitutions, and these
good constitutions taking root
in a good education improve more
and more, and this improvement
affects the breed in man as in
Very possibly, he said.
Then to sum up: This is the
point to which, above all, the
of our rulers should be directed,--that
music and gymnastic
be preserved in their original
form, and no innovation made.
They must do their utmost to
maintain them intact. And when
one says that mankind most regard
The newest song which the singers
they will be afraid that he
may be praising, not new songs,
but a new kind of song; and this
ought not to be praised,
or conceived to be the meaning
of the poet; for any musical
is full of danger to the whole
State, and ought to be prohibited.
So Damon tells me, and I can
quite believe him;-he says that
of music change, of the State
always change with them.
Yes, said Adeimantus; and you
may add my suffrage to Damon's
and your own.
Then, I said, our guardians
must lay the foundations of their
fortress in music?
Yes, he said; the lawlessness
of which you speak too easily
Yes, I replied, in the form
of amusement; and at first sight
Why, yes, he said, and there
is no harm; were it not that
little this spirit of licence,
finding a home, imperceptibly
into manners and customs; whence,
issuing with greater force,
it invades contracts between
man and man, and from contracts
on to laws and constitutions,
in utter recklessness, ending
Socrates, by an overthrow of
all rights, private as well as
Is that true? I said.
That is my belief, he replied.
Then, as I was saying, our youth
should be trained
from the first in a stricter
system, for if amusements
become lawless, and the youths
themselves become lawless,
they can never grow up into well-conducted
and virtuous citizens.
Very true, he said.
And when they have made a good
beginning in play, and by the
of music have gained the habit
of good order, then this habit
in a manner how unlike the lawless
play of the others! will accompany
them in all their actions and
be a principle of growth to them,
and if there be any fallen places
a principle in the State will
them up again.
Very true, he said.
Thus educated, they will invent
for themselves any lesser rules
which their predecessors have
What do you mean?
I mean such things as these:--when
the young are to be silent
before their elders; how they
are to show respect to them
by standing and making them sit;
what honour is due to parents;
what garments or shoes are to
be worn; the mode of dressing
deportment and manners in general.
You would agree with me?
But there is, I think, small
wisdom in legislating about such
I doubt if it is ever done; nor
are any precise written enactments
about them likely to be lasting.
It would seem, Adeimantus, that
the direction in which education
starts a man, will determine
his future life. Does not like
To be sure.
Until some one rare and grand
result is reached which may be
and may be the reverse of good?
That is not to be denied.
And for this reason, I said,
I shall not attempt to legislate
further about them.
Naturally enough, he replied.
Well, and about the business
of the agora, dealings and the
dealings between man and man,
or again about agreements with
commencement with artisans; about
insult and injury, of the commencement
of actions, and the appointment
of juries, what would you say?
may also arise questions about
any impositions and extractions
of market and harbour dues which
may be required, and in general
about the regulations of markets,
police, harbours, and the like.
But, oh heavens! shall we condescend
to legislate on any of these
I think, he said, that there
is no need to impose laws about
on good men; what regulations
are necessary they will find
enough for themselves.
Yes, I said, my friend, if God
will only preserve to them the
which we have given them.
And without divine help, said
Adeimantus, they will go on for
ever making and mending their
laws and their lives in the hope
of attaining perfection.
You would compare them, I said,
to those invalids who, having
self-restraint, will not leave
off their habits of intemperance?
Yes, I said; and what a delightful
life they lead! they are always
doctoring and increasing and
complicating their disorders,
and always fancying that they
will be cured by any nostrum
which anybody advises them to
Such cases are very common,
he said, with invalids of this
Yes, I replied; and the charming
thing is that they deem him
their worst enemy who tells them
the truth, which is simply that,
unless they give up eating and
drinking and wenching and idling,
neither drug nor cautery nor
spell nor amulet nor any other
Charming! he replied. I see
nothing charming in going into
with a man who tells you what
These gentlemen, I said, do
not seem to be in your good graces.
Nor would you praise the behaviour
of States which act like the
I was just now describing. For
are there not ill-ordered States
the citizens are forbidden under
pain of death to alter the constitution;
and yet he who most sweetly courts
those who live under this regime
and indulges them and fawns upon
them and is skilful in anticipating
and gratifying their humours
is held to be a great and good
do not these States resemble
the persons whom I was describing?
Yes, he said; the States are
as bad as the men; and I am very
from praising them.
But do you not admire, I said,
the coolness and dexterity
of these ready ministers of political
Yes, he said, I do; but not
of all of them, for there are
the applause of the multitude
has deluded into the belief that
are really statesmen, and these
are not much to be admired.
What do you mean? I said; you
should have more feeling for
When a man cannot measure, and
a great many others who cannot
declare that he is four cubits
high, can he help believing what
Nay, he said, certainly not
in that case.
Well, then, do not be angry
with them; for are they not as
a play, trying their hand at
paltry reforms such as I was
they are always fancying that
by legislation they will make
an end of frauds in contracts,
and the other rascalities which
was mentioning, not knowing that
they are in reality cutting off
the heads of a hydra?
Yes, he said; that is just what
they are doing.
I conceive, I said, that the
true legislator will not trouble
himself with this class of enactments
whether concerning laws or
the constitution either in an
ill-ordered or in a well-ordered
for in the former they are quite
useless, and in the latter
there will be no difficulty in
devising them; and many of them
will naturally flow out of our
What, then, he said, is still
remaining to us of the work of
Nothing to us, I replied; but
to Apollo, the God of Delphi,
there remains the ordering of
the greatest and noblest and
things of all.
Which are they? he said.
The institution of temples and
sacrifices, and the entire service
of gods, demigods, and heroes;
also the ordering of the repositories
of the dead, and the rites which
have to be observed by him who
propitiate the inhabitants of
the world below. These are matters
of which we are ignorant ourselves,
and as founders of a city we
be unwise in trusting them to
any interpreter but our ancestral
He is the god who sits in the
center, on the navel of the earth,
and he is the interpreter of
religion to all mankind.
You are right, and we will do
as you propose.
But where, amid all this, is
justice? son of Ariston, tell
Now that our city has been made
habitable, light a candle and
and get your brother and Polemarchus
and the rest of our friends to
and let us see where in it we
can discover justice and where
and in what they differ from
one another, and which of them
who would be happy should have
for his portion, whether seen
by gods and men.
SOCRATES - GLAUCON
Nonsense, said Glaucon: did
you not promise to search yourself,
saying that for you not to help
justice in her need would be
I do not deny that I said so,
and as you remind me, I will
as good as my word; but you must
We will, he replied.
Well, then, I hope to make the
discovery in this way: I mean
to begin with the assumption
that our State, if rightly ordered,
That is most certain.
And being perfect, is therefore
wise and valiant and temperate
That is likewise clear.
And whichever of these qualities
we find in the State, the one
which is not found will be the
If there were four things, and
we were searching for one of
wherever it might be, the one
sought for might be known to
from the first, and there would
be no further trouble; or we
might know the other three first,
and then the fourth would clearly
be the one left.
Very true, he said.
And is not a similar method
to be pursued about the virtues,
which are also four in number?
First among the virtues found
in the State, wisdom comes into
and in this I detect a certain
What is that?
The State which we have been
describing is said to be wise
good in counsel?
And good counsel is clearly
a kind of knowledge, for not
but by knowledge, do men counsel
And the kinds of knowledge in
a State are many and diverse?
There is the knowledge of the
carpenter; but is that the sort
of knowledge which gives a city
the title of wise and good in
Certainly not; that would only
give a city the reputation of
Then a city is not to be called
wise because possessing a knowledge
which counsels for the best about
Nor by reason of a knowledge
which advises about brazen pots,
nor as possessing any other similar
Not by reason of any of them,
Nor yet by reason of a knowledge
which cultivates the earth;
that would give the city the
name of agricultural?
Well, I said, and is there any
knowledge in our recently founded
State among any of the citizens
which advises, not about any
particular thing in the State,
but about the whole, and considers
how a State can best deal with
itself and with other States?
There certainly is.
And what is knowledge, and among
whom is it found? I asked.
It is the knowledge of the guardians,
he replied, and found among
those whom we were just now describing
as perfect guardians.
And what is the name which the
city derives from the possession
of this sort of knowledge?
The name of good in counsel
and truly wise.
And will there be in our city
more of these true guardians
or more smiths?
The smiths, he replied, will
be far more numerous.
Will not the guardians be the
smallest of all the classes who
a name from the profession of
some kind of knowledge?
Much the smallest.
And so by reason of the smallest
part or class, and of the knowledge
which resides in this presiding
and ruling part of itself,
the whole State, being thus constituted
according to nature, will be
and this, which has the only
knowledge worthy to be called
has been ordained by nature to
be of all classes the least.
Thus, then, I said, the nature
and place in the State of one
of the four virtues has somehow
or other been discovered.
And, in my humble opinion, very
Again, I said, there is no difficulty
in seeing the nature of courage;
and in what part that quality
resides which gives the name
courageous to the State.
How do you mean?
Why, I said, every one who calls
any State courageous or cowardly,
will be thinking of the part
which fights and goes out to
the State's behalf.
No one, he replied, would ever
think of any other.
The rest of the citizens may
be courageous or may be cowardly
their courage or cowardice will
not, as I conceive, have the
of making the city either the
one or the other.
The city will be courageous
in virtue of a portion of herself
which preserves under all circumstances
that opinion about the nature
of things to be feared and not
to be feared in which our legislator
educated them; and this is what
you term courage.
I should like to hear what you
are saying once more, for I do
think that I perfectly understand
I mean that courage is a kind
Salvation of what?
Of the opinion respecting things
to be feared, what they are
and of what nature, which the
law implants through education;
and I mean by the words `under
all circumstances' to intimate
in pleasure or in pain, or under
the influence of desire or fear,
a man preserves, and does not
lose this opinion. Shall I give
If you please.
You know, I said, that dyers,
when they want to dye wool for
the true sea-purple, begin by
selecting their white colour
this they prepare and dress with
much care and pains, in order
that the white ground may take
the purple hue in full perfection.
The dyeing then proceeds; and
whatever is dyed in this manner
a fast colour, and no washing
either with lyes or without them
take away the bloom. But, when
the ground has not been duly
you will have noticed how poor
is the look either of purple
or of any
Yes, he said; I know that they
have a washed-out and ridiculous
Then now, I said, you will understand
what our object was in
selecting our soldiers, and educating
them in music and gymnastic;
we were contriving influences
which would prepare them to take
of the laws in perfection, and
the colour of their opinion about
and of every other opinion was
to be indelibly fixed by their
and training, not to be washed
away by such potent lyes as pleasure--
mightier agent far in washing
the soul than any soda or lye;
or by sorrow, fear, and desire,
the mightiest of all other solvents.
And this sort of universal saving
power of true opinion in conformity
with law about real and false
dangers I call and maintain to
unless you disagree.
But I agree, he replied; for
I suppose that you mean to exclude
uninstructed courage, such as
that of a wild beast or of a
this, in your opinion, is not
the courage which the law ordains,
and ought to have another name.
Then I may infer courage to
be such as you describe?
Why, yes, said I, you may, and
if you add the words `of a citizen,'
you will not be far wrong;--hereafter,
if you like, we will carry
the examination further, but
at present we are we w seeking
for courage but justice; and
for the purpose of our enquiry
You are right, he replied.
Two virtues remain to be discovered
in the State-first temperance,
and then justice which is the
end of our search.
Now, can we find justice without
troubling ourselves about temperance?
I do not know how that can be
accomplished, he said, nor do
that justice should be brought
to light and temperance lost
and therefore I wish that you
would do me the favour of considering
Certainly, I replied, I should
not be justified in refusing
Then consider, he said.
Yes, I replied; I will; and
as far as I can at present see,
the virtue of temperance has
more of the nature of harmony
and symphony than the preceding.
How so? he asked.
Temperance, I replied, is the
ordering or controlling of certain
pleasures and desires; this is
curiously enough implied in the
of `a man being his own master'
and other traces of the same
may be found in language.
No doubt, he said.
There is something ridiculous
in the expression `master of
for the master is also the servant
and the servant the master;
and in all these modes of speaking
the same person is denoted.
The meaning is, I believe, that
in the human soul there is a
and also a worse principle; and
when the better has the worse
under control, then a man is
said to be master of himself;
and this is a term of praise:
but when, owing to evil education
or association, the better principle,
which is also the smaller,
is overwhelmed by the greater
mass of the worse--in this case
blamed and is called the slave
of self and unprincipled.
Yes, there is reason in that.
And now, I said, look at our
newly created State, and there
will find one of these two conditions
realised; for the State,
as you will acknowledge, may
be justly called master of itself,
if the words `temperance' and
`self-mastery' truly express
of the better part over the worse.
Yes, he said, I see that what
you say is true.
Let me further note that the
manifold and complex pleasures
and desires and pains are generally
found in children and women
and servants, and in the freemen
so called who are of the lowest
and more numerous class.
Certainly, he said.
Whereas the simple and moderate
desires which follow reason,
and are under the guidance of
mind and true opinion, are to
only in a few, and those the
best born and best educated.
Very true. These two, as you
may perceive, have a place in
and the meaner desires of the
are held down by the virtuous
and wisdom of the few.
That I perceive, he said.
Then if there be any city which
may be described as master of
own pleasures and desires, and
master of itself, ours may claim
such a designation?
Certainly, he replied.
It may also be called temperate,
and for the same reasons?
And if there be any State in
which rulers and subjects will
as to the question who are to
rule, that again will be our
And the citizens being thus
agreed among themselves, in which
will temperance be found--in
the rulers or in the subjects?
In both, as I should imagine,
Do you observe that we were
not far wrong in our guess that
was a sort of harmony?
Why, because temperance is unlike
courage and wisdom, each of
which resides in a part only,
the one making the State wise
the other valiant; not so temperance,
which extends to the whole,
and runs through all the notes
of the scale, and produces a
of the weaker and the stronger
and the middle class, whether
suppose them to be stronger or
weaker in wisdom or power or
or wealth, or anything else.
Most truly then may we deem temperance
to be the agreement of the naturally
superior and inferior,
as to the right to rule of either,
both in states and individuals.
I entirely agree with you.
And so, I said, we may consider
three out of the four virtues
to have been discovered in our
State. The last of those qualities
which make a state virtuous must
be justice, if we only knew what
The inference is obvious.
The time then has arrived, Glaucon,
when, like huntsmen, we should
surround the cover, and look
sharp that justice does not steal
and pass out of sight and escape
us; for beyond a doubt she is
in this country: watch therefore
and strive to catch a sight of
and if you see her first, let
Would that I could! but you
should regard me rather as a
who has just eyes enough to,
see what you show him--that is
as much as I am good for.
Offer up a prayer with me and
I will, but you must show me
Here is no path, I said, and
the wood is dark and perplexing;
still we must push on.
Let us push on.
Here I saw something: Halloo!
I said, I begin to perceive a
and I believe that the quarry
will not escape.
Good news, he said.
Truly, I said, we are stupid
Why, my good sir, at the beginning
of our enquiry, ages ago,
there was justice tumbling out
at our feet, and we never saw
nothing could be more ridiculous.
Like people who go about looking
for what they have in their hands--that
was the way with us--we looked
not at what we were seeking,
but at what was far off in the
and therefore, I suppose, we
What do you mean?
I mean to say that in reality
for a long time past we have
talking of justice, and have
failed to recognise her.
I grow impatient at the length
of your exordium.
Well then, tell me, I said,
whether I am right or not:
You remember the original principle
which we were always laying
down at the foundation of the
State, that one man should practise
one thing only, the thing to
which his nature was best adapted;--
now justice is this principle
or a part of it.
Yes, we often said that one
man should do one thing only.
Further, we affirmed that justice
was doing one's own business,
and not being a busybody; we
said so again and again, and
have said the same to us.
Yes, we said so.
Then to do one's own business
in a certain way may be assumed
to be justice. Can you tell me
whence I derive this inference?
I cannot, but I should like
to be told.
Because I think that this is
the only virtue which remains
in the State when the other virtues
of temperance and courage
and wisdom are abstracted; and,
that this is the ultimate cause
and condition of the existence
of all of them, and while remaining
in them is also their preservative;
and we were saying that if
the three were discovered by
us, justice would be the fourth
or remaining one.
That follows of necessity.
If we are asked to determine
which of these four qualities
by its presence contributes most
to the excellence of the State,
whether the agreement of rulers
and subjects, or the preservation
in the soldiers of the opinion
which the law ordains about the
nature of dangers, or wisdom
and watchfulness in the rulers,
this other which I am mentioning,
and which is found in children
and women, slave and freeman,
artisan, ruler, subject,--the
I mean, of every one doing his
own work, and not being a busybody,
would claim the palm--the question
is not so easily answered.
Certainly, he replied, there
would be a difficulty in saying
Then the power of each individual
in the State to do his own work
to compete with the other political
virtues, wisdom, temperance,
Yes, he said.
And the virtue which enters
into this competition is justice?
Let us look at the question
from another point of view:
Are not the rulers in a State
those to whom you would entrust
the office of determining suits
And are suits decided on any
other ground but that a man may
take what is another's, nor be
deprived of what is his own?
Yes; that is their principle.
Which is a just principle?
Then on this view also justice
will be admitted to be the having
and doing what is a man's own,
and belongs to him?
Think, now, and say whether
you agree with me or not. Suppose
to be doing the business of a
cobbler, or a cobbler of a carpenter;
and suppose them to exchange
their implements or their duties,
or the same person to be doing
the work of both, or whatever
be the change;
do you think that any great harm
would result to the State?
But when the cobbler or any
other man whom nature designed
to be a trader, having his heart
lifted up by wealth or strength
or the number of his followers,
or any like advantage,
attempts to force his way into
the class of warriors, or a warrior
into that of legislators and
guardians, for which he is unfitted,
and either to take the implements
or the duties of the other;
or when one man is trader, legislator,
and warrior all in one,
then I think you will agree with
me in saying that this interchange
and this meddling of one with
another is the ruin of the State.
Seeing then, I said, that there
are three distinct classes,
any meddling of one with another,
or the change of one into another,
is the greatest harm to the State,
and may be most justly termed
And the greatest degree of evil-doing
to one's own city would
be termed by you injustice?
This then is injustice; and
on the other hand when the trader,
the auxiliary, and the guardian
each do their own business,
that is justice, and will make
the city just.
I agree with you.
We will not, I said, be over-positive
as yet; but if, on trial,
this conception of justice be
verified in the individual as
as in the State, there will be
no longer any room for doubt;
if it be not verified, we must
have a fresh enquiry. First let
complete the old investigation,
which we began, as you remember,
under the impression that, if
we could previously examine justice
on the larger scale, there would
be less difficulty in discerning
her in the individual. That larger
example appeared to be the State,
and accordingly we constructed
as good a one as we could, knowing
that in the good State justice
would be found. Let the discovery
which we made be now applied
to the individual--if they agree,
we shall be satisfied; or, if
there be a difference in the
we will come back to the State
and have another trial of the
The friction of the two when
rubbed together may possibly
a light in which justice will
shine forth, and the vision which
then revealed we will fix in
That will be in regular course;
let us do as you say.
I proceeded to ask: When two
things, a greater and less,
are called by the same name,
are they like or unlike in so
as they are called the same?
Like, he replied.
The just man then, if we regard
the idea of justice only,
will be like the just State?
And a State was thought by us
to be just when the three classes
in the State severally did their
own business; and also thought
to be temperate and valiant and
wise by reason of certain other
affections and qualities of these
True, he said.
And so of the individual; we
may assume that he has the same
three principles in his own soul
which are found in the State;
and he may be rightly described
in the same terms, because he
affected in the same manner?
Certainly, he said.
Once more then, O my friend,
we have alighted upon an easy
whether the soul has these three
principles or not?
An easy question! Nay, rather,
Socrates, the proverb holds
that hard is the good.
Very true, I said; and I do
not think that the method which
employing is at all adequate
to the accurate solution of this
the true method is another and
a longer one. Still we may arrive
at a solution not below the level
of the previous enquiry.
May we not be satisfied with
that? he said;--under the circumstances,
I am quite content.
I too, I replied, shall be extremely
Then faint not in pursuing the
speculation, he said.
Must we not acknowledge, I said,
that in each of us there are
the same principles and habits
which there are in the State;
and that from the individual
they pass into the State?--how
they come there? Take the quality
of passion or spirit;--it would
be ridiculous to imagine that
this quality, when found in States,
is not derived from the individuals
who are supposed to possess it,
e.g. the Thracians, Scythians,
and in general the northern nations;
and the same may be said of the
love of knowledge, which is the
characteristic of our part of
the world, or of the love of
which may, with equal truth,
be attributed to the Phoenicians
Exactly so, he said.
There is no difficulty in understanding
But the question is not quite
so easy when we proceed to ask
whether these principles are
three or one; whether, that is
we learn with one part of our
nature, are angry with another,
and with a third part desire
the satisfaction of our natural
or whether the whole soul comes
into play in each sort of action--
to determine that is the difficulty.
Yes, he said; there lies the
Then let us now try and determine
whether they are the same or
How can we? he asked.
I replied as follows: The same
thing clearly cannot act or be
acted upon in the same part or
in relation to the same thing
at the same time, in contrary
ways; and therefore whenever
this contradiction occurs in
things apparently the same,
we know that they are really
not the same, but different.
For example, I said, can the
same thing be at rest and in
at the same time in the same
Still, I said, let us have a
more precise statement of terms,
lest we should hereafter fall
out by the way. Imagine the case
of a man who is standing and
also moving his hands and his
and suppose a person to say that
one and the same person is in
and at rest at the same moment-to
such a mode of speech we should
and should rather say that one
part of him is in motion while
is at rest.
And suppose the objector to
refine still further, and to
the nice distinction that not
only parts of tops, but whole
when they spin round with their
pegs fixed on the spot, are at
rest and in motion at the same
time (and he may say the same
of anything which revolves in
the same spot), his objection
not be admitted by us, because
in such cases things are not
and in motion in the same parts
of themselves; we should rather
that they have both an axis and
a circumference, and that the
stands still, for there is no
deviation from the perpendicular;
and that the circumference goes
round. But if, while revolving,
the axis inclines either to the
right or left, forwards or backwards,
then in no point of view can
they be at rest.
That is the correct mode of
describing them, he replied.
Then none of these objections
will confuse us, or incline us
that the same thing at the same
time, in the same part or in
to the same thing, can act or
be acted upon in contrary ways.
Certainly not, according to
my way of thinking.
Yet, I said, that we may not
be compelled to examine all such
and prove at length that they
are untrue, let us assume their
and go forward on the understanding
that hereafter, if this assumption
turn out to be untrue, all the
consequences which follow shall
Yes, he said, that will be the
Well, I said, would you not
allow that assent and dissent,
desire and aversion, attraction
and repulsion, are all of
them opposites, whether they
are regarded as active or passive
(for that makes no difference
in the fact of their opposition)?
Yes, he said, they are opposites.
Well, I said, and hunger and
thirst, and the desires in general,
and again willing and wishing,--all
these you would refer to the
already mentioned. You would
say--would you not?--that the
of him who desires is seeking
after the object of his desires;
or that he is drawing to himself
the thing which he wishes to
or again, when a person wants
anything to be given him, his
longing for the realisation of
his desires, intimates his wish
to have it
by a nod of assent, as if he
had been asked a question?
And what would you say of unwillingness
and dislike and the absence
of desire; should not these be
referred to the opposite class
of repulsion and rejection?
Admitting this to be true of
desire generally, let us suppose
a particular class of desires,
and out of these we will select
and thirst, as they are termed,
which are the most obvious of
Let us take that class, he said.
The object of one is food, and
of the other drink?
And here comes the point: is
not thirst the desire which the
of drink, and of drink only;
not of drink qualified by anything
for example, warm or cold, or
much or little, or, in a word,
drink of any particular sort:
but if the thirst be accompanied
then the desire is of cold drink;
or, if accompanied by cold,
then of warm drink; or, if the
thirst be excessive, then the
which is desired will be excessive;
or, if not great, the quantity
of drink will also be small:
but thirst pure and simple will
drink pure and simple, which
is the natural satisfaction of
as food is of hunger?
Yes, he said; the simple desire
is, as you say, in every case
of the simple object, and the
qualified desire of the qualified
But here a confusion may arise;
and I should wish to guard against
an opponent starting up and saying
that no man desires drink only,
but good drink, or food only,
but good food; for good is the
object of desire, and thirst
being a desire, will necessarily
thirst after good drink; and
the same is true of every other
Yes, he replied, the opponent
might have something to say.
Nevertheless I should still
maintain, that of relatives
some have a quality attached
to either term of the relation;
others are simple and have their
I do not know what you mean.
Well, you know of course that
the greater is relative to the
And the much greater to the
And the sometime greater to
the sometime less, and the greater
that is to be to the less that
is to be?
Certainly, he said.
And so of more and less, and
of other correlative terms, such
the double and the half, or again,
the heavier and the lighter,
the swifter and the slower; and
of hot and cold, and of any
other relatives;--is not this
true of all of them?
And does not the same principle
hold in the sciences? The object
of science is knowledge (assuming
that to be the true definition),
but the object of a particular
science is a particular kind
I mean, for example, that the
science of house-building is
of knowledge which is defined
and distinguished from other
and is therefore termed architecture.
Because it has a particular
quality which no other has?
And it has this particular quality
because it has an object
of a particular kind; and this
is true of the other arts and
Now, then, if I have made myself
clear, you will understand my
original meaning in what I said
about relatives. My meaning was,
that if one term of a relation
is taken alone, the other is
taken alone; if one term is qualified,
the other is also qualified.
I do not mean to say that relatives
may not be disparate, or that
the science of health is healthy,
or of disease necessarily diseased,
or that the sciences of good
and evil are therefore good and
but only that, when the term
science is no longer used absolutely,
but has a qualified object which
in this case is the nature of
and disease, it becomes defined,
and is hence called not merely
but the science of medicine.
I quite understand, and I think
as you do.
Would you not say that thirst
is one of these essentially relative
having clearly a relation--
Yes, thirst is relative to drink.
And a certain kind of thirst
is relative to a certain kind
but thirst taken alone is neither
of much nor little, nor of good
nor of any particular kind of
drink, but of drink only?
Then the soul of the thirsty
one, in so far as he is thirsty,
desires only drink; for this
he yearns and tries to obtain
That is plain.
And if you suppose something
which pulls a thirsty soul away
from drink, that must be different
from the thirsty principle
which draws him like a beast
to drink; for, as we were saying,
the same thing cannot at the
same time with the same part
act in contrary ways about the
No more than you can say that
the hands of the archer push
the bow at the same time, but
what you say is that one hand
and the other pulls.
Exactly so, he replied.
And might a man be thirsty,
and yet unwilling to drink?
Yes, he said, it constantly
And in such a case what is one
to say? Would you not say that
was something in the soul bidding
a man to drink, and something
else forbidding him, which is
other and stronger than the principle
which bids him?
I should say so.
And the forbidding principle
is derived from reason, and that
which bids and attracts proceeds
from passion and disease?
Then we may fairly assume that
they are two, and that they differ
from one another; the one with
which man reasons, we may call
the rational principle of the
soul, the other, with which he
and hungers and thirsts and feels
the flutterings of any other
may be termed the irrational
or appetitive, the ally of sundry
pleasures and satisfactions?
Yes, he said, we may fairly
assume them to be different.
Then let us finally determine
that there are two principles
in the soul. And what of passion,
or spirit? Is it a third,
or akin to one of the preceding?
I should be inclined to say--akin
Well, I said, there is a story
which I remember to have heard,
which I put faith. The story
is, that Leontius, the son of
coming up one day from the Piraeus,
under the north wall on the outside,
observed some dead bodies lying
on the ground at the place of
He felt a desire to see them,
and also a dread and abhorrence
for a time he struggled and covered
his eyes, but at length
the desire got the better of
him; and forcing them open, he
up to the dead bodies, saying,
Look, ye wretches, take your
of the fair sight.
I have heard the story myself,
The moral of the tale is, that
anger at times goes to war with
as though they were two distinct
Yes; that is the meaning, he
And are there not many other
cases in which we observe that
man's desires violently prevail
over his reason, he reviles himself,
and is angry at the violence
within him, and that in this
which is like the struggle of
factions in a State, his spirit
is on the side of his reason;--but
for the passionate or spirited
element to take part with the
desires when reason that she
be opposed, is a sort of thing
which thing which I believe that
never observed occurring in yourself,
nor, as I should imagine,
in any one else?
Suppose that a man thinks he
has done a wrong to another,
he is the less able is he to
feel indignant at any suffering,
such as hunger, or cold, or any
other pain which the injured
may inflict upon him--these he
deems to be just, and, as I say,
his anger refuses to be excited
True, he said.
But when he thinks that he is
the sufferer of the wrong, then
and chafes, and is on the side
of what he believes to be justice;
and because he suffers hunger
or cold or other pain he is only
the more determined to persevere
and conquer. His noble spirit
will not be quelled until he
either slays or is slain; or
hears the voice of the shepherd,
that is, reason, bidding his
bark no more.
The illustration is perfect,
he replied; and in our State,
as we were saying, the auxiliaries
were to be dogs, and to hear
the voice of the rulers, who
are their shepherds.
I perceive, I said, that you
quite understand me; there is,
however, a further point which
I wish you to consider.
You remember that passion or
spirit appeared at first sight
to be a kind of desire, but now
we should say quite the contrary;
for in the conflict of the soul
spirit is arrayed on the side
of the rational principle.
But a further question arises:
Is passion different from
reason also, or only a kind of
reason; in which latter case,
instead of three principles in
the soul, there will only be
the rational and the concupiscent;
or rather, as the State was composed
of three classes, traders, auxiliaries,
counsellors, so may there
not be in the individual soul
a third element which is passion
or spirit, and when not corrupted
by bad education is the natural
auxiliary of reason
Yes, he said, there must be
Yes, I replied, if passion,
which has already been shown
different from desire, turn out
also to be different from reason.
But that is easily proved:--We
may observe even in young children
that they are full of spirit
almost as soon as they are born,
whereas some of them never seem
to attain to the use of reason,
and most of them late enough.
Excellent, I said, and you may
see passion equally in brute
which is a further proof of the
truth of what you are saying.
And we may once more appeal to
the words of Homer, which have
already quoted by us,
He smote his breast, and thus
rebuked his soul,
for in this verse Homer has
clearly supposed the power which
about the better and worse to
be different from the unreasoning
anger which is rebuked by it.
Very true, he said.
And so, after much tossing,
we have reached land, and are
agreed that the same principles
which exist in the State exist
also in the individual, and that
they are three in number.
Must we not then infer that
the individual is wise in the
and in virtue of the same quality
which makes the State wise?
Also that the same quality which
constitutes courage in the State
constitutes courage in the individual,
and that both the State
and the individual bear the same
relation to all the other virtues?
And the individual will be acknowledged
by us to be just in the same
way in which the State is just?
That follows, of course.
We cannot but remember that
the justice of the State consisted
in each of the three classes
doing the work of its own class?
We are not very likely to have
forgotten, he said.
We must recollect that the individual
in whom the several qualities
of his nature do their own work
will be just, and will do his
Yes, he said, we must remember
And ought not the rational principle,
which is wise, and has
the care of the whole soul, to
rule, and the passionate or spirited
principle to be the subject and
And, as we were saying, the
united influence of music and
will bring them into accord,
nerving and sustaining the reason
with noble words and lessons,
and moderating and soothing
and civilizing the wildness of
passion by harmony and rhythm?
Quite true, he said.
And these two, thus nurtured
and educated, and having learned
to know their own functions,
will rule over the concupiscent,
which in each of us is the largest
part of the soul and by nature
most insatiable of gain; over
this they will keep guard, lest,
waxing great and strong with
the fulness of bodily pleasures,
as they are termed, the concupiscent
soul, no longer confined
to her own sphere, should attempt
to enslave and rule those who
not her natural-born subjects,
and overturn the whole life of
Very true, he said.
Both together will they not
be the best defenders of the
and the whole body against attacks
from without; the one counselling,
and the other fighting under
his leader, and courageously
his commands and counsels?
And he is to be deemed courageous
whose spirit retains in pleasure
and in pain the commands of reason
about what he ought or ought
not to fear?
Right, he replied.
And him we call wise who has
in him that little part which
and which proclaims these commands;
that part too being supposed
to have a knowledge of what is
for the interest of each of the
parts and of the whole?
And would you not say that he
is temperate who has these same
in friendly harmony, in whom
the one ruling principle of reason,
and the two subject ones of spirit
and desire are equally agreed
that reason ought to rule, and
do not rebel?
Certainly, he said, that is
the true account of temperance
in the State or individual.
And surely, I said, we have
explained again and again how
by virtue of what quality a man
will be just.
That is very certain.
And is justice dimmer in the
individual, and is her form different,
or is she the same which we found
her to be in the State?
There is no difference in my
opinion, he said.
Because, if any doubt is still
lingering in our minds, a few
commonplace instances will satisfy
us of the truth of what I am
What sort of instances do you
If the case is put to us, must
we not admit that the just State,
or the man who is trained in
the principles of such a State,
will be less
likely than the unjust to make
away with a deposit of gold or
Would any one deny this?
No one, he replied.
Will the just man or citizen
ever be guilty of sacrilege or
or treachery either to his friends
or to his country?
Neither will he ever break faith
where there have been oaths
No one will be less likely to
commit adultery, or to dishonour
his father and mother, or to
fall in his religious duties?
And the reason is that each
part of him is doing its own
whether in ruling or being ruled?
Are you satisfied then that
the quality which makes such
and such states is justice, or
do you hope to discover some
Not I, indeed.
Then our dream has been realised;
and the suspicion which we
entertained at the beginning
of our work of construction,
divine power must have conducted
us to a primary form of justice,
has now been verified?
And the division of labour which
required the carpenter and the
and the rest of the citizens
to be doing each his own business,
and not another's, was a shadow
of justice, and for that reason
it was of use?
But in reality justice was such
as we were describing,
being concerned however, not
with the outward man, but with
which is the true self and concernment
of man: for the just man
does not permit the several elements
within him to interfere
with one another, or any of them
to do the work of others,--he
in order his own inner life,
and is his own master and his
and at peace with himself; and
when he has bound together the
principles within him, which
may be compared to the higher,
and middle notes of the scale,
and the intermediate intervals--
when he has bound all these together,
and is no longer many, but has
become one entirely temperate
and perfectly adjusted nature,
proceeds to act, if he has to
act, whether in a matter of property,
or in the treatment of the body,
or in some affair of politics
or private business; always thinking
and calling that which preserves
and co-operates with this harmonious
condition, just and good action,
and the knowledge which presides
over it, wisdom, and that which
at any time impairs this condition,
he will call unjust action,
and the opinion which presides
over it ignorance.
You have said the exact truth,
Very good; and if we were to
affirm that we had discovered
man and the just State, and the
nature of justice in each of
we should not be telling a falsehood?
Most certainly not.
May we say so, then?
Let us say so.
And now, I said, injustice has
to be considered.
Must not injustice be a strife
which arises among the three
a meddlesomeness, and interference,
and rising up of a part
of the soul against the whole,
an assertion of unlawful authority,
which is made by a rebellious
subject against a true prince,
of whom he is the natural vassal,--what
is all this confusion and
delusion but injustice, and intemperance
and cowardice and ignorance,
and every form of vice?
And if the nature of justice
and injustice be known, then
of acting unjustly and being
unjust, or, again, of acting
will also be perfectly clear?
What do you mean? he said.
Why, I said, they are like disease
and health; being in the soul
just what disease and health
are in the body.
How so? he said.
Why, I said, that which is healthy
causes health, and that which
is unhealthy causes disease.
And just actions cause justice,
and unjust actions cause injustice?
That is certain.
And the creation of health is
the institution of a natural
and government of one by another
in the parts of the body;
and the creation of disease is
the production of a state of
at variance with this natural
And is not the creation of justice
the institution of a natural
order and government of one by
another in the parts of the soul,
and the creation of injustice
the production of a state of
at variance with the natural
Exactly so, he said.
Then virtue is the health and
beauty and well-being of the
and vice the disease and weakness
and deformity of the same?
And do not good practices lead
to virtue, and evil practices
Still our old question of the
comparative advantage of justice
and injustice has not been answered:
Which is the more profitable,
to be just and act justly and
practise virtue, whether seen
or unseen of gods and men, or
to be unjust and act unjustly,
if only unpunished and unreformed?
In my judgment, Socrates, the
question has now become ridiculous.
We know that, when the bodily
constitution is gone, life is
longer endurable, though pampered
with all kinds of meats and drinks,
and having all wealth and all
power; and shall we be told that
the very essence of the vital
principle is undermined and corrupted,
life is still worth having to
a man, if only he be allowed
whatever he likes with the single
exception that he is not to
acquire justice and virtue, or
to escape from injustice and
assuming them both to be such
as we have described?
Yes, I said, the question is,
as you say, ridiculous. Still,
are near the spot at which we
may see the truth in the clearest
manner with our own eyes, let
us not faint by the way.
Certainly not, he replied.
Come up hither, I said, and
behold the various forms of vice,
those of them, I mean, which
are worth looking at.
I am following you, he replied:
I said, The argument seems to
have reached a height from which,
as from some tower of speculation,
a man may look down and see
that virtue is one, but that
the forms of vice are innumerable;
there being four special ones
which are deserving of note.
What do you mean? he said.
I mean, I replied, that there
appear to be as many forms of
as there are distinct forms of
There are five of the State,
and five of the soul, I said.
What are they?
The first, I said, is that which
we have been describing,
and which may be said to have
two names, monarchy and aristocracy,
accordingly as rule is exercised
by one distinguished man or by
True, he replied.
But I regard the two names as
describing one form only;
for whether the government is
in the hands of one or many,
if the governors have been trained
in the manner which we have supposed,
the fundamental laws of the State
will be maintained.
That is true, he replied.