SOCRATES - GLAUCON
WITH these words I was thinking
that I had made an end of the
but the end, in truth, proved
to be only a beginning. For Glaucon,
who is always the most pugnacious
of men, was dissatisfied
at Thrasymachus' retirement;
he wanted to have the battle
So he said to me: Socrates, do
you wish really to persuade us,
or only to seem to have persuaded
us, that to be just is always
than to be unjust?
I should wish really to persuade
you, I replied, if I could.
Then you certainly have not
succeeded. Let me ask you now:--How
you arrange goods--are there
not some which we welcome for
own sakes, and independently
of their consequences, as, for
harmless pleasures and enjoyments,
which delight us at the time,
although nothing follows from
I agree in thinking that there
is such a class, I replied.
Is there not also a second class
of goods, such as knowledge,
sight, health, which are desirable
not only in themselves,
but also for their results?
Certainly, I said.
And would you not recognize
a third class, such as gymnastic,
and the care of the sick, and
the physician's art; also the
of money-making--these do us
good but we regard them as disagreeable;
and no one would choose them
for their own sakes, but only
for the sake
of some reward or result which
flows from them?
There is, I said, this third
class also. But why do you ask?
Because I want to know in which
of the three classes you would
In the highest class, I replied,--among
those goods which he
who would be happy desires both
for their own sake and for the
of their results.
Then the many are of another
mind; they think that justice
is to be reckoned in the troublesome
class, among goods which
are to be pursued for the sake
of rewards and of reputation,
but in themselves are disagreeable
and rather to be avoided.
I know, I said, that this is
their manner of thinking, and
this was the thesis which Thrasymachus
was maintaining just now,
when he censured justice and
praised injustice. But I am too
to be convinced by him.
I wish, he said, that you would
hear me as well as him, and then
see whether you and I agree.
For Thrasymachus seems to me,
like a snake,
to have been charmed by your
voice sooner than he ought to
but to my mind the nature of
justice and injustice have not
made clear. Setting aside their
rewards and results, I want to
what they are in themselves,
and how they inwardly work in
If you, please, then, I will
revive the argument of Thrasymachus.
And first I will speak of the
nature and origin of justice
to the common view of them. Secondly,
I will show that all men
who practise justice do so against
their will, of necessity,
but not as a good. And thirdly,
I will argue that there is reason
in this view, for the life of
the unjust is after all better
than the life of the just--if
what they say is true, Socrates,
since I myself am not of their
opinion. But still I acknowledge
that I am perplexed when I hear
the voices of Thrasymachus
and myriads of others dinning
in my ears; and, on the other
I have never yet heard the superiority
of justice to injustice
maintained by any one in a satisfactory
way. I want to hear justice
praised in respect of itself;
then I shall be satisfied, and
are the person from whom I think
that I am most likely to hear
and therefore I will praise the
unjust life to the utmost of
and my manner of speaking will
indicate the manner in which
desire to hear you too praising
justice and censuring injustice.
Will you say whether you approve
of my proposal?
Indeed I do; nor can I imagine
any theme about which a man of
would oftener wish to converse.
I am delighted, he replied,
to hear you say so, and shall
by speaking, as I proposed, of
the nature and origin of justice.
They say that to do injustice
is, by nature, good; to suffer
injustice, evil; but that the
evil is greater than the good.
And so when men have both done
and suffered injustice and have
experience of both, not being
able to avoid the one and obtain
the other, they think that they
had better agree among themselves
to have neither; hence there
arise laws and mutual covenants;
and that which is ordained by
law is termed by them lawful
This they affirm to be the origin
and nature of justice;--it is
or compromise, between the best
of all, which is to do injustice
and not be punished, and the
worst of all, which is to suffer
without the power of retaliation;
and justice, being at a middle
between the two, is tolerated
not as a good, but as the lesser
and honoured by reason of the
inability of men to do injustice.
For no man who is worthy to be
called a man would ever submit
an agreement if he were able
to resist; he would be mad if
Such is the received account,
Socrates, of the nature and origin
Now that those who practise
justice do so involuntarily and
they have not the power to be
unjust will best appear if we
imagine something of this kind:
having given both to the just
and the unjust power to do what
they will, let us watch and see
whither desire will lead them;
then we shall discover in the
act the just and unjust man to
be proceeding along the same
following their interest, which
all natures deem to be their
and are only diverted into the
path of justice by the force
The liberty which we are supposing
may be most completely
given to them in the form of
such a power as is said to have
been possessed by Gyges the ancestor
of Croesus the Lydian.
According to the tradition, Gyges
was a shepherd in the service
of the king of Lydia; there was
a great storm, and an earthquake
an opening in the earth at the
place where he was feeding his
Amazed at the sight, he descended
into the opening, where,
among other marvels, he beheld
a hollow brazen horse, having
at which he stooping and looking
in saw a dead body of stature,
as appeared to him, more than
human, and having nothing on
gold ring; this he took from
the finger of the dead and reascended.
Now the shepherds met together,
according to custom, that they
might send their monthly report
about the flocks to the king;
into their assembly he came having
the ring on his finger, and as
was sitting among them he chanced
to turn the collet of the ring
his hand, when instantly he became
invisible to the rest of the
and they began to speak of him
as if he were no longer present.
He was astonished at this, and
again touching the ring he turned
the collet outwards and reappeared;
he made several trials of the
and always with the same result-when
he turned the collet inwards
became invisible, when outwards
he reappeared. Whereupon he contrived
to be chosen one of the messengers
who were sent to the court;
where as soon as he arrived he
seduced the queen, and with her
conspired against the king and
slew him, and took the kingdom.
Suppose now that there were two
such magic rings, and the just
on one of them and the unjust
the other;,no man can be imagined
to be of such an iron nature
that he would stand fast in justice.
No man would keep his hands off
what was not his own when he
safely take what he liked out
of the market, or go into houses
and lie with any one at his pleasure,
or kill or release from prison
whom he would, and in all respects
be like a God among men.
Then the actions of the just
would be as the actions of the
they would both come at last
to the same point. And this we
truly affirm to be a great proof
that a man is just, not willingly
or because he thinks that justice
is any good to him individually,
but of necessity, for wherever
any one thinks that he can safely
be unjust, there he is unjust.
For all men believe in their
that injustice is far more profitable
to the individual than justice,
and he who argues as I have been
supposing, will say that they
If you could imagine any one
obtaining this power of becoming
and never doing any wrong or
touching what was another's,
be thought by the lookers-on
to be a most wretched idiot,
would praise him to one another's
faces, and keep up appearances
with one another from a fear
that they too might suffer injustice.
Enough of this.
Now, if we are to form a real
judgment of the life of the just
we must isolate them; there is
no other way; and how is the
to be effected? I answer: Let
the unjust man be entirely unjust,
and the just man entirely just;
nothing is to be taken away from
either of them, and both are
to be perfectly furnished for
of their respective lives. First,
let the unjust be like other
distinguished masters of craft;
like the skilful pilot or physician,
who knows intuitively his own
powers and keeps within their
and who, if he fails at any point,
is able to recover himself.
So let the unjust make his unjust
attempts in the right way,
and lie hidden if he means to
be great in his injustice (he
found out is nobody): for the
highest reach of injustice is:
to be deemed just when you are
not. Therefore I say that in
the perfectly unjust man we must
assume the most perfect injustice;
there is to be no deduction,
but we must allow him, while
doing the most
unjust acts, to have acquired
the greatest reputation for justice.
If he have taken a false step
he must be able to recover himself;
he must be one who can speak
with effect, if any of his deeds
come to light, and who can force
his way where force is required
his courage and strength, and
command of money and friends.
And at his side let us place
the just man in his nobleness
and simplicity, wishing, as Aeschylus
says, to be and not to seem good.
There must be no seeming, for
if he seem to be just he will
honoured and rewarded, and then
we shall not know whether he
for the sake of justice or for
the sake of honours and rewards;
therefore, let him be clothed
in justice only, and have no
and he must be imagined in a
state of life the opposite of
Let him be the best of men, and
let him be thought the worst;
then he will have been put to
the proof; and we shall see whether
he will be affected by the fear
of infamy and its consequences.
And let him continue thus to
the hour of death; being just
seeming to be unjust. When both
have reached the uttermost extreme,
the one of justice and the other
of injustice, let judgment be
which of them is the happier
of the two.
SOCRATES - GLAUCON
Heavens! my dear Glaucon, I
said, how energetically you polish
them up for the decision, first
one and then the other, as if
were two statues.
I do my best, he said. And now
that we know what they are
like there is no difficulty in
tracing out the sort of life
which awaits either of them.
This I will proceed to describe;
but as you may think the description
a little too coarse, I ask you
to suppose, Socrates, that the
words which follow are not mine.--
Let me put them into the mouths
of the eulogists of injustice:
They will tell you that the just
man who is thought unjust will
be scourged, racked, bound--will
have his eyes burnt out; and,
after suffering every kind of
evil, he will be impaled: Then
will understand that he ought
to seem only, and not to be,
the words of Aeschylus may be
more truly spoken of the unjust
than of the just. For the unjust
is pursuing a reality; he does
not live with a view to appearances--he
wants to be really unjust
and not to seem only:--
His mind has a soil deep and
Out of which spring his prudent counsels.
In the first place, he is thought
just, and therefore bears rule
in the city; he can marry whom
he will, and give in marriage
to whom he will; also he can
trade and deal where he likes,
and always to his own advantage,
because he has no misgivings
about injustice and at every
contest, whether in public or
he gets the better of his antagonists,
and gains at their expense,
and is rich, and out of his gains
he can benefit his friends,
and harm his enemies; moreover,
he can offer sacrifices, and
gifts to the gods abundantly
and magnificently, and can honour
or any man whom he wants to honour
in a far better style than the
and therefore he is likely to
be dearer than they are to the
And thus, Socrates, gods and
men are said to unite in making
of the unjust better than the
life of the just.
I was going to say something
in answer to Glaucon, when Adeimantus,
his brother, interposed: Socrates,
he said, you do not suppose
that there is nothing more to
Why, what else is there? I answered.
The strongest point of all has
not been even mentioned, he replied.
Well, then, according to the
proverb, `Let brother help brother'--
if he fails in any part do you
assist him; although I must confess
that Glaucon has already said
quite enough to lay me in the
and take from me the power of
Nonsense, he replied. But let
me add something more: There
another side to Glaucon's argument
about the praise and censure
of justice and injustice, which
is equally required in order
out what I believe to be his
meaning. Parents and tutors are
telling their sons and their
wards that they are to be just;
but why? not for the sake of
justice, but for the sake of
and reputation; in the hope of
obtaining for him who is reputed
just some of those offices, marriages,
and the like which Glaucon
has enumerated among the advantages
accruing to the unjust from
the reputation of justice. More,
however, is made of appearances
by this class of persons than
by the others; for they throw
in the good opinion of the gods,
and will tell you of a shower
of benefits which the heavens,
as they say, rain upon the pious;
and this accords with the testimony
of the noble Hesiod and Homer,
the first of whom says, that
the gods make the oaks of the
To hear acorns at their summit,
and bees I the middle;
And the sheep the bowed down bowed the with the their fleeces.
and many other blessings of
a like kind are provided for
And Homer has a very similar
strain; for he speaks of one
As the fame of some blameless
king who, like a god,
Maintains justice to whom the black earth brings forth
Wheat and barley, whose trees are bowed with fruit,
And his sheep never fail to bear, and the sea gives him fish.
Still grander are the gifts
of heaven which Musaeus and his
vouchsafe to the just; they take
them down into the world below,
where they have the saints lying
on couches at a feast,
everlastingly drunk, crowned
with garlands; their idea seems
that an immortality of drunkenness
is the highest meed of virtue.
Some extend their rewards yet
further; the posterity, as they
of the faithful and just shall
survive to the third and fourth
This is the style in which they
praise justice. But about the
there is another strain; they
bury them in a slough in Hades,
them carry water in a sieve;
also while they are yet living
them to infamy, and inflict upon
them the punishments which Glaucon
described as the portion of the
just who are reputed to be unjust;
nothing else does their invention
supply. Such is their manner
praising the one and censuring
Once more, Socrates, I will
ask you to consider another way
about justice and injustice,
which is not confined to the
but is found in prose writers.
The universal voice of mankind
is always declaring that justice
and virtue are honourable,
but grievous and toilsome; and
that the pleasures of vice and
are easy of attainment, and are
only censured by law and opinion.
They say also that honesty is
for the most part less profitable
than dishonesty; and they are
quite ready to call wicked men
and to honour them both in public
and private when they are rich
or in any other way influential,
while they despise and overlook
those who may be weak and poor,
even though acknowledging
them to be better than the others.
But most extraordinary
of all is their mode of speaking
about virtue and the gods:
they say that the gods apportion
calamity and misery to many good
and good and happiness to the
wicked. And mendicant prophets
to rich men's doors and persuade
them that they have a power committed
to them by the gods of making
an atonement for a man's own
ancestor's sins by sacrifices
or charms, with rejoicings and
and they promise to harm an enemy,
whether just or unjust,
at a small cost; with magic arts
and incantations binding heaven,
as they say, to execute their
will. And the poets are the authorities
to whom they appeal, now smoothing
the path of vice with the words
Vice may be had in abundance
without trouble; the way is smooth
and her dwelling-place is near. But before virtue the gods have
and a tedious and uphill road:
then citing Homer as a witness
that the gods may be influenced
by men; for he also says:
The gods, too, may he turned
from their purpose; and men pray
them and avert their wrath by sacrifices and soothing entreaties,
and by libations and the odour of fat, when they have sinned and
And they produce a host of books
written by Musaeus and Orpheus,
who were children of the Moon
and the Muses--that is what they
according to which they perform
their ritual, and persuade not
only individuals, but whole cities,
that expiations and atonements
sin may be made by sacrifices
and amusements which fill a vacant
and are equally at the service
of the living and the dead; the
sort they call mysteries, and
they redeem us from the pains
but if we neglect them no one
knows what awaits us.
He proceeded: And now when the
young hear all this said about
virtue and vice, and the way
in which gods and men regard
how are their minds likely to
be affected, my dear Socrates,--
those of them, I mean, who are
quickwitted, and, like bees on
light on every flower, and from
all that they hear are prone
conclusions as to what manner
of persons they should be and
what way they should walk if
they would make the best of life?
Probably the youth will say to
himself in the words of Pindar--
Can I by justice or by crooked
ways of deceit ascend a loftier
tower which may he a fortress to me all my days?
For what men say is that, if
I am really just and am not also
just profit there is none, but
the pain and loss on the other
are unmistakable. But if, though
unjust, I acquire the reputation
of justice, a heavenly life is
promised to me. Since then,
as philosophers prove, appearance
tyrannizes over truth and is
of happiness, to appearance I
must devote myself. I will describe
around me a picture and shadow
of virtue to be the vestibule
exterior of my house; behind
I will trail the subtle and crafty
as Archilochus, greatest of sages,
recommends. But I hear some one
exclaiming that the concealment
of wickedness is often difficult;
to which I answer, Nothing great
is easy. Nevertheless, the argument
indicates this, if we would be
happy, to be the path along which
should proceed. With a view to
concealment we will establish
secret brotherhoods and political
clubs. And there are professors
of rhetoric who teach the art
of persuading courts and assemblies;
and so, partly by persuasion
and partly by force, I shall
unlawful gains and not be punished.
Still I hear a voice saying
that the gods cannot be deceived,
neither can they be compelled.
But what if there are no gods?
or, suppose them to have no care
of human things--why in either
case should we mind about concealment?
And even if there are gods, and
they do care about us, yet we
of them only from tradition and
the genealogies of the poets;
and these are the very persons
who say that they may be influenced
and turned by `sacrifices and
soothing entreaties and by offerings.'
Let us be consistent then, and
believe both or neither.
If the poets speak truly, why
then we had better be unjust,
and offer of the fruits of injustice;
for if we are just,
although we may escape the vengeance
of heaven, we shall lose
the gains of injustice; but,
if we are unjust, we shall keep
the gains, and by our sinning
and praying, and praying and
the gods will be propitiated,
and we shall not be punished.
`But there is a world below in
which either we or our posterity
will suffer for our unjust deeds.'
Yes, my friend, will be
the reflection, but there are
mysteries and atoning deities,
and these have great power. That
is what mighty cities declare;
and the children of the gods,
who were their poets and prophets,
On what principle, then, shall
we any longer choose justice
rather than the worst injustice?
when, if we only unite
the latter with a deceitful regard
to appearances, we shall fare
to our mind both with gods and
men, in life and after death,
as the most numerous and the
highest authorities tell us.
Knowing all this, Socrates, how
can a man who has any superiority
of mind or person or rank or
wealth, be willing to honour
or indeed to refrain from laughing
when he hears justice praised?
And even if there should be some
one who is able to disprove
the truth of my words, and who
is satisfied that justice is
still he is not angry with the
unjust, but is very ready
to forgive them, because he also
knows that men are not just of
their own free will; unless,
peradventure, there be some one
the divinity within him may have
inspired with a hatred of injustice,
or who has attained knowledge
of the truth--but no other man.
He only blames injustice who,
owing to cowardice or age or
has not the power of being unjust.
And this is proved by the fact
that when he obtains the power,
he immediately becomes unjust
as he can be.
The cause of all this, Socrates,
was indicated by us at the beginning
of the argument, when my brother
and I told you how astonished
were to find that of all the
professing panegyrists of justice--
beginning with the ancient heroes
of whom any memorial has
been preserved to us, and ending
with the men of our own time--
no one has ever blamed injustice
or praised justice except with
view to the glories, honours,
and benefits which flow from
No one has ever adequately described
either in verse or prose
the true essential nature of
either of them abiding in the
and invisible to any human or
divine eye; or shown that of
all the things of a man's soul
which he has within him,
justice is the greatest good,
and injustice the greatest evil.
Had this been the universal strain,
had you sought to persuade us
of this from our youth upwards,
we should not have been on the
to keep one another from doing
wrong, but every one would have
his own watchman, because afraid,
if he did wrong, of harbouring
in himself the greatest of evils.
I dare say that Thrasymachus
and others would seriously hold
the language which I have been
merely repeating, and words even
stronger than these about justice
and injustice, grossly, as I
conceive, perverting their true
But I speak in this vehement
manner, as I must frankly confess
because I want to hear from you
the opposite side; and I would
to show not only the superiority
which justice has over injustice,
but what effect they have on
the possessor of them which makes
the one to be a good and the
other an evil to him. And please,
as Glaucon requested of you,
to exclude reputations; for unless
take away from each of them his
true reputation and add on the
we shall say that you do not
praise justice, but the appearance
we shall think that you are only
exhorting us to keep injustice
and that you really agree with
Thrasymachus in thinking that
is another's good and the interest
of the stronger, and that injustice
is a man's own profit and interest,
though injurious to the weaker.
Now as you have admitted that
justice is one of that highest
of goods which are desired indeed
for their results, but in a far
degree for their own sakes--like
sight or hearing or knowledge
or any other real and natural
and not merely conventional good--
I would ask you in your praise
of justice to regard one point
I mean the essential good and
evil which justice and injustice
the possessors of them. Let others
praise justice and censure injustice,
magnifying the rewards and honours
of the one and abusing the other;
that is a manner of arguing which,
coming from them, I am ready
but from you who have spent your
whole life in the consideration
of this question, unless I hear
the contrary from your own lips,
I expect something better. And
therefore, I say, not only prove
to us that justice is better
than injustice, but show what
either of them do to the possessor
of them, which makes the one
to be a good and the other an
evil, whether seen or unseen
SOCRATES - ADEIMANTUS
I had always admired the genius
of Glaucon and Adeimantus,
but on hearing these words I
was quite delighted, and said:
Sons of an illustrious father,
that was not a bad beginning
the Elegiac verses which the
admirer of Glaucon made in honour
after you had distinguished yourselves
at the battle of Megara:--
`Sons of Ariston,' he sang,
`divine offspring of an
The epithet is very appropriate,
for there is something truly
divine in being able to argue
as you have done for the superiority
of injustice, and remaining unconvinced
by your own arguments.
And I do believe that you are
not convinced--this I infer from
general character, for had I
judged only from your speeches
have mistrusted you. But now,
the greater my confidence in
the greater is my difficulty
in knowing what to say. For I
am in a strait
between two; on the one hand
I feel that I am unequal to the
and my inability is brought home
to me by the fact that you were
satisfied with the answer which
I made to Thrasymachus, proving,
as I thought, the superiority
which justice has over injustice.
And yet I cannot refuse to help,
while breath and speech remain
I am afraid that there would
be an impiety in being present
justice is evil spoken of and
not lifting up a hand in her
And therefore I had best give
such help as I can.
Glaucon and the rest entreated
me by all means not to let the
but to proceed in the investigation.
They wanted to arrive
at the truth, first, about the
nature of justice and injustice,
and secondly, about their relative
advantages. I told them, what
really thought, that the enquiry
would be of a serious nature,
and would require very good eyes.
Seeing then, I said, that we
are no great wits, I think that
we had better adopt a method
which I may illustrate thus;
suppose that a short-sighted
had been asked by some one to
read small letters from a distance;
and it occurred to some one else
that they might be found in another
place which was larger and in
which the letters were larger--
if they were the same and he
could read the larger letters
and then proceed to the lesser--this
would have been thought a rare
of good fortune.
Very true, said Adeimantus;
but how does the illustration
to our enquiry?
I will tell you, I replied;
justice, which is the subject
our enquiry, is, as you know,
sometimes spoken of as the virtue
of an individual, and sometimes
as the virtue of a State.
True, he replied.
And is not a State larger than
Then in the larger the quantity
of justice is likely to be larger
and more easily discernible.
I propose therefore that we enquire
into the nature of justice and
injustice, first as they appear
in the State, and secondly in
the individual, proceeding from
the greater to the lesser and
That, he said, is an excellent
And if we imagine the State
in process of creation, we shall
the justice and injustice of
the State in process of creation
I dare say.
When the State is completed
there may be a hope that the
of our search will be more easily
Yes, far more easily.
But ought we to attempt to construct
one? I said; for to do so,
as I am inclined to think, will
be a very serious task.
I have reflected, said Adeimantus,
and am anxious that you
A State, I said, arises, as
I conceive, out of the needs
no one is self-sufficing, but
all of us have many wants. Can
other origin of a State be imagined?
There can I be no other.
Then, as we have many wants,
and many persons are needed to
one takes a helper for one purpose
and another for another;
and when these partners and helpers
are gathered together in one
habitation the body of inhabitants
is termed a State.
True, he said.
And they exchange with one another,
and one gives, and another receives,
under the idea that the exchange
will be for their good.
Then, I said, let us begin and
create in idea a State; and yet
the true creator is necessity,
who is the mother of our invention.
Of course, he replied.
Now the first and greatest of
necessities is food, which is
the condition of life and existence.
The second is a dwelling, and
the third clothing and the like.
And now let us see how our city
will be able to supply this great
We may suppose that one man is
a husbandman, another a builder,
some one else a weaver--shall
we add to them a shoemaker, or
some other purveyor to our bodily
The barest notion of a State
must include four or five men.
And how will they proceed? Will
each bring the result of his
into a common stock?--the individual
husbandman, for example,
producing for four, and labouring
four times as long and as much
as he need in the provision of
food with which he supplies others
as well as himself; or will he
have nothing to do with others
and not be at the trouble of
producing for them, but provide
for himself alone a fourth of
the food in a fourth of the time,
and in the remaining three-fourths
of his time be employed in making
a house or a coat or a pair of
shoes, having no partnership
but supplying himself all his
Adeimantus thought that he should
aim at producing food only
and not at producing everything.
Probably, I replied, that would
be the better way; and when I
you say this, I am myself reminded
that we are not all alike;
there are diversities of natures
among us which are adapted to
And will you have a work better
done when the workman has
many occupations, or when he
has only one?
When he has only one.
Further, there can be no doubt
that a work is spoilt when not
at the right time?
For business is not disposed
to wait until the doer of the
is at leisure; but the doer must
follow up what he is doing,
and make the business his first
And if so, we must infer that
all things are produced more
plentifully and easily and of
a better quality when one man
one thing which is natural to
him and does it at the right
and leaves other things.
Then more than four citizens
will be required; for the husbandman
will not make his own plough
or mattock, or other implements
of agriculture, if they are to
be good for anything.
Neither will the builder make
his tools--and he too needs many;
and in like manner the weaver
Then carpenters, and smiths,
and many other artisans, will
sharers in our little State,
which is already beginning to
Yet even if we add neatherds,
shepherds, and other herdsmen,
in order that our husbandmen
may have oxen to plough with,
and builders as well as husbandmen
may have draught cattle,
and curriers and weavers fleeces
and hides,--still our State will
not be very large.
That is true; yet neither will
it be a very small State which
contains all these.
Then, again, there is the situation
of the city--to find a place
where nothing need be imported
is well-nigh impossible.
Then there must be another class
of citizens who will bring
the required supply from another
But if the trader goes empty-handed,
having nothing which they
require who would supply his
need, he will come back empty-handed.
That is certain.
And therefore what they produce
at home must be not only
enough for themselves, but such
both in quantity and quality
as to accommodate those from
whom their wants are supplied.
Then more husbandmen and more
artisans will be required?
Not to mention the importers
and exporters, who are called
Then we shall want merchants?
And if merchandise is to be
carried over the sea, skilful
will also be needed, and in considerable
Yes, in considerable numbers.
Then, again, within the city,
how will they exchange their
To secure such an exchange was,
as you will remember, one of
principal objects when we formed
them into a society and constituted
Clearly they will buy and sell.
Then they will need a market-place,
and a money-token for purposes
Suppose now that a husbandman,
or an artisan, brings some production
to market, and he comes at a
time when there is no one to
with him,--is he to leave his
calling and sit idle in the market-place?
Not at all; he will find people
there who, seeing the want,
undertake the office of salesmen.
In well-ordered States they are
commonly those who are the weakest
in bodily strength, and therefore
of little use for any other purpose;
their duty is to be in the market,
and to give money in exchange
for goods to those who desire
and to take money from those
who desire to buy.
This want, then, creates a class
of retail-traders in our State.
Is not `retailer' the term which
is applied to those who sit in
the market-place engaged in buying
and selling, while those who
from one city to another are
Yes, he said.
And there is another class of
servants, who are intellectually
on the level of companionship;
still they have plenty of bodily
strength for labour, which accordingly
they sell, and are called,
if I do not mistake, hirelings,
hire being the name which is
to the price of their labour.
Then hirelings will help to
make up our population?
And now, Adeimantus, is our
State matured and perfected?
I think so.
Where, then, is justice, and
where is injustice, and in what
of the State did they spring
Probably in the dealings of
these citizens with one another.
cannot imagine that they are
more likely to be found anywhere
I dare say that you are right
in your suggestion, I said;
we had better think the matter
out, and not shrink from the
Let us then consider, first
of all, what will be their way
now that we have thus established
them. Will they not produce corn,
and wine, and clothes, and shoes,
and build houses for themselves?
And when they are housed, they
will work, in summer, commonly,
stripped and barefoot, but in
winter substantially clothed
and shod. They will feed on barley-meal
and flour of wheat,
baking and kneading them, making
noble cakes and loaves;
these they will serve up on a
mat of reeds or on clean leaves,
themselves reclining the while
upon beds strewn with yew or
And they and their children will
feast, drinking of the wine
which they have made, wearing
garlands on their heads, and
the praises of the gods, in happy
converse with one another.
And they will take care that
their families do not exceed
having an eye to poverty or war.
SOCRATES - GLAUCON
But, said Glaucon, interposing,
you have not given them a relish
to their meal.
True, I replied, I had forgotten;
of course they must have a relish-salt,
and olives, and cheese, and they
will boil roots and herbs such
as country people prepare; for
a dessert we shall give them
and peas, and beans; and they
will roast myrtle-berries and
at the fire, drinking in moderation.
And with such a diet they
may be expected to live in peace
and health to a good old age,
and bequeath a similar life to
their children after them.
Yes, Socrates, he said, and
if you were providing for a city
how else would you feed the beasts?
But what would you have, Glaucon?
Why, he said, you should give
them the ordinary conveniences
People who are to be comfortable
are accustomed to lie on sofas,
and dine off tables, and they
should have sauces and sweets
Yes, I said, now I understand:
the question which you would
consider is, not only how a State,
but how a luxurious State is
and possibly there is no harm
in this, for in such a State
shall be more likely to see how
justice and injustice originate.
In my opinion the true and healthy
constitution of the State is
the one which I have described.
But if you wish also to see a
at fever heat, I have no objection.
For I suspect that many will
be satisfied with the simpler
way of way They will be for adding
and tables, and other furniture;
also dainties, and perfumes,
and incense, and courtesans,
and cakes, all these not of one
but in every variety; we must
go beyond the necessaries of
was at first speaking, such as
houses, and clothes, and shoes:
the arts of the painter and the
embroiderer will have to be set
in motion, and gold and ivory
and all sorts of materials must
True, he said.
Then we must enlarge our borders;
for the original healthy
State is no longer sufficient.
Now will the city have to fill
and swell with a multitude of
callings which are not required
by any natural want; such as
the whole tribe of hunters and
of whom one large class have
to do with forms and colours;
another will be the votaries
of music--poets and their attendant
of rhapsodists, players, dancers,
contractors; also makers of divers
kinds of articles, including
women's dresses. And we shall
more servants. Will not tutors
be also in request, and nurses
and dry, tirewomen and barbers,
as well as confectioners and
and swineherds, too, who were
not needed and therefore had
in the former edition of our
State, but are needed now? They
not be forgotten: and there will
be animals of many other kinds,
if people eat them.
And living in this way we shall
have much greater need of physicians
And the country which was enough
to support the original inhabitants
will be too small now, and not
Then a slice of our neighbours'
land will be wanted by us for
and tillage, and they will want
a slice of ours, if, like ourselves,
they exceed the limit of necessity,
and give themselves up
to the unlimited accumulation
That, Socrates, will be inevitable.
And so we shall go to war, Glaucon.
Shall we not?
Most certainly, he replied.
Then without determining as
yet whether war does good or
thus much we may affirm, that
now we have discovered war to
from causes which are also the
causes of almost all the evils
private as well as public.
And our State must once more
enlarge; and this time the will
nothing short of a whole army,
which will have to go out and
with the invaders for all that
we have, as well as for the things
and persons whom we were describing
Why? he said; are they not capable
of defending themselves?
No, I said; not if we were right
in the principle which was
acknowledged by all of us when
we were framing the State:
the principle, as you will remember,
was that one man cannot
practise many arts with success.
Very true, he said.
But is not war an art?
And an art requiring as much
attention as shoemaking?
And the shoemaker was not allowed
by us to be husbandman, or a
a builder--in order that we might
have our shoes well made;
but to him and to every other
worker was assigned one work
for which he was by nature fitted,
and at that he was to continue
working all his life long and
at no other; he was not to let
opportunities slip, and then
he would become a good workman.
Now nothing can be more important
than that the work of a soldier
should be well done. But is war
an art so easily acquired that
a man may be a warrior who is
also a husbandman, or shoemaker,
or other artisan; although no
one in the world would be a good
or draught player who merely
took up the game as a recreation,
and had not from his earliest
years devoted himself to this
No tools will make a man a skilled
workman, or master of defence,
nor be of any use to him who
has not learned how to handle
and has never bestowed any attention
upon them. How then will he
who takes up a shield or other
implement of war become a good
fighter all in a day, whether
with heavy-armed or any other
Yes, he said, the tools which
would teach men their own use
be beyond price.
And the higher the duties of
the guardian, I said, the more
and skill, and art, and application
will be needed by him?
No doubt, he replied.
Will he not also require natural
aptitude for his calling?
Then it will be our duty to
select, if we can, natures which
fitted for the task of guarding
And the selection will be no
easy matter, I said; but we must
be brave and do our best.
Is not the noble youth very
like a well-bred dog in respect
of guarding and watching?
What do you mean?
I mean that both of them ought
to be quick to see, and swift
to overtake the enemy when they
see him; and strong too if,
when they have caught him, they
have to fight with him.
All these qualities, he replied,
will certainly be required by
Well, and your guardian must
be brave if he is to fight well?
And is he likely to be brave
who has no spirit, whether horse
or dog or any other animal? Have
you never observed how invincible
and unconquerable is spirit and
how the presence of it makes
the soul of any creature to be
absolutely fearless and indomitable?
Then now we have a clear notion
of the bodily qualities which
required in the guardian.
And also of the mental ones;
his soul is to be full of spirit?
But are not these spirited natures
apt to be savage with one another,
and with everybody else?
A difficulty by no means easy
to overcome, he replied.
Whereas, I said, they ought
to be dangerous to their enemies,
and gentle to their friends;
if not, they will destroy themselves
without waiting for their enemies
to destroy them.
True, he said.
What is to be done then? I said;
how shall we find a gentle nature
which has also a great spirit,
for the one is the contradiction
of the other?
He will not be a good guardian
who is wanting in either of these
two qualities; and yet the combination
of them appears to be impossible;
and hence we must infer that
to be a good guardian is impossible.
I am afraid that what you say
is true, he replied.
Here feeling perplexed I began
to think over what had preceded.
My friend, I said, no wonder
that we are in a perplexity;
for we have
lost sight of the image which
we had before us.
What do you mean? he said.
I mean to say that there do
exist natures gifted with those
And where do you find them?
Many animals, I replied, furnish
examples of them; our friend
is a very good one: you know
that well-bred dogs are perfectly
to their familiars and acquaintances,
and the reverse to strangers.
Yes, I know.
Then there is nothing impossible
or out of the order of nature
in our finding a guardian who
has a similar combination of
Would not he who is fitted to
be a guardian, besides the spirited
need to have the qualities of
I do not apprehend your meaning.
The trait of which I am speaking,
I replied, may be also seen
in the dog, and is remarkable
in the animal.
Why, a dog, whenever he sees
a stranger, is angry; when an
he welcomes him, although the
one has never done him any harm,
nor the other any good. Did this
never strike you as curious?
The matter never struck me before;
but I quite recognise the truth
of your remark.
And surely this instinct of
the dog is very charming;--your
is a true philosopher.
Why, because he distinguishes
the face of a friend and of
an enemy only by the criterion
of knowing and not knowing.
And must not an animal be a lover
of learning who determines
what he likes and dislikes by
the test of knowledge and ignorance?
And is not the love of learning
the love of wisdom, which is
They are the same, he replied.
And may we not say confidently
of man also, that he who is likely
to be gentle to his friends and
acquaintances, must by nature
be a lover of wisdom and knowledge?
That we may safely affirm.
Then he who is to be a really
good and noble guardian of the
will require to unite in himself
philosophy and spirit and swiftness
Then we have found the desired
natures; and now that we
have found them, how are they
to be reared and educated?
Is not this enquiry which may
be expected to throw light
on the greater enquiry which
is our final end--How do justice
and injustice grow up in States?
for we do not want either to
what is to the point or to draw
out the argument to an inconvenient
SOCRATES - ADEIMANTUS
Adeimantus thought that the
enquiry would be of great service
Then, I said, my dear friend,
the task must not be given up,
even if somewhat long.
Come then, and let us pass a
leisure hour in story-telling,
and our story shall be the education
of our heroes.
By all means.
And what shall be their education?
Can we find a better than
the traditional sort?--and this
has two divisions, gymnastic
the body, and music for the soul.
Shall we begin education with
music, and go on to gymnastic
By all means.
And when you speak of music,
do you include literature or
And literature may be either
true or false?
And the young should be trained
in both kinds, and we begin
with the false?
I do not understand your meaning,
You know, I said, that we begin
by telling children stories which,
though not wholly destitute of
truth, are in the main fictitious;
and these stories are told them
when they are not of an age to
That was my meaning when I said
that we must teach music before
Quite right, he said.
You know also that the beginning
is the most important part
of any work, especially in the
case of a young and tender thing;
for that is the time at which
the character is being formed
the desired impression is more
And shall we just carelessly
allow children to hear any casual
which may be devised by casual
persons, and to receive into
minds ideas for the most part
the very opposite of those which
should wish them to have when
they are grown up?
Then the first thing will be
to establish a censorship of
of fiction, and let the censors
receive any tale of fiction which
is good, and reject the bad;
and we will desire mothers and
to tell their children the authorised
ones only. Let them fashion
the mind with such tales, even
more fondly than they mould the
with their hands; but most of
those which are now in use must
Of what tales are you speaking?
You may find a model of the
lesser in the greater, I said;
for they are necessarily of the
same type, and there is the same
spirit in both of them.
Very likely, he replied; but
I do not as yet know what you
term the greater.
Those, I said, which are narrated
by Homer and Hesiod, and the
of the poets, who have ever been
the great story-tellers of mankind.
But which stories do you mean,
he said; and what fault do you
A fault which is most serious,
I said; the fault of telling
a lie, and, what is more, a bad
But when is this fault committed?
Whenever an erroneous representation
is made of the nature of gods
and heroes,--as when a painter
paints a portrait not having
the shadow of a likeness to the
Yes, he said, that sort of thing
is certainly very blamable;
but what are the stories which
First of all, I said, there
was that greatest of all lies,
in high places,
which the poet told about Uranus,
and which was a bad lie too,--
I mean what Hesiod says that
Uranus did, and how Cronus retaliated
on him. The doings of Cronus,
and the sufferings which in turn
his son inflicted upon him, even
if they were true, ought certainly
not to be lightly told to young
and thoughtless persons; if possible,
they had better be buried in
silence. But if there is an absolute
necessity for their mention,
a chosen few might hear them
in a mystery,
and they should sacrifice not
a common [Eleusinian] pig, but
huge and unprocurable victim;
and then the number of the hearers
will be very few indeed.
Why, yes, said he, those stories
are extremely objectionable.
Yes, Adeimantus, they are stories
not to be repeated in our State;
the young man should not be told
that in committing the worst
of crimes he is far from doing
anything outrageous; and that
if he chastises his father when
does wrong, in whatever manner,
he will only be following the
example of the first and greatest
I entirely agree with you, he
said; in my opinion those stories
are quite unfit to be repeated.
Neither, if we mean our future
guardians to regard the habit
of quarrelling among themselves
as of all things the basest,
should any word be said to them
of the wars in heaven,
and of the plots and fightings
of the gods against one another,
for they are not true. No, we
shall never mention the battles
of the giants, or let them be
embroidered on garments; and
be silent about the innumerable
other quarrels of gods and heroes
with their friends and relatives.
If they would only believe us
we would tell them that quarrelling
is unholy, and that never
up to this time has there been
any, quarrel between citizens;
this is what old men and old
women should begin by telling
and when they grow up, the poets
also should be told to compose
for them in a similar spirit.
But the narrative of Hephaestus
Here his mother, or how on another
occasion Zeus sent him flying
for taking her part when she
was being beaten, and all the
of the gods in Homer--these tales
must not be admitted into our
whether they are supposed to
have an allegorical meaning or
For a young person cannot judge
what is allegorical and what
anything that he receives into
his mind at that age is likely
become indelible and unalterable;
and therefore it is most important
that the tales which the young
first hear should be models of
There you are right, he replied;
but if any one asks where are
such models to be found and of
what tales are you speaking--
how shall we answer him?
I said to him, You and I, Adeimantus,
at this moment are not poets,
but founders of a State: now
the founders of a State ought
to know the general forms in
which poets should cast their
and the limits which must be
observed by them, but to make
is not their business.
Very true, he said; but what
are these forms of theology which
Something of this kind, I replied:--God
is always to be represented
as he truly is, whatever be the
sort of poetry, epic, lyric or
in which the representation is
And is he not truly good? and
must he not be represented as
And no good thing is hurtful?
And that which is not hurtful
And that which hurts not does
And can that which does no evil
be a cause of evil?
And the good is advantageous?
And therefore the cause of well-being?
It follows therefore that the
good is not the cause of all
but of the good only?
Then God, if he be good, is
not the author of all things,
as the many assert, but he is
the cause of a few things only,
and not of most things that occur
to men. For few are the goods
of human life, and many are the
evils, and the good is to be
to God alone; of the evils the
causes are to be sought elsewhere,
and not in him.
That appears to me to be most
true, he said.
Then we must not listen to Homer
or to any other poet who is guilty
of the folly of saying that two
Lie at the threshold of Zeus,
full of lots, one of good,
the other of evil lots,
and that he to whom Zeus gives
a mixture of the two
Sometimes meets with evil fortune,
at other times with good;
but that he to whom is given
the cup of unmingled ill,
Him wild hunger drives o'er
the beauteous earth.
Zeus, who is the dispenser
of good and evil to us.
And if any one asserts that
the violation of oaths and treaties,
which was really the work of
Pandarus, was brought about by
and Zeus, or that the strife
and contention of the gods was
instigated by Themis and Zeus,
he shall not have our approval;
neither will we allow our young
men to hear the words of Aeschylus,
God plants guilt among men
when he desires utterly to
destroy a house.
And if a poet writes of the
sufferings of Niobe--the subject
of the tragedy in which these
iambic verses occur--or of the
of Pelops, or of the Trojan war
or on any similar theme, either
must not permit him to say that
these are the works of God,
or if they are of God, he must
devise some explanation of them
as we are seeking; he must say
that God did what was just and
and they were the better for
being punished; but that those
punished are miserable, and that
God is the author of their misery--
the poet is not to be permitted
to say; though he may say that
the wicked are miserable because
they require to be punished,
and are benefited by receiving
punishment from God; but that
good is the author of evil to
any one is to be strenuously
and not to be said or sung or
heard in verse or prose by any
one whether old or young in any
Such a fiction is suicidal, ruinous,
I agree with you, he replied,
and am ready to give my assent
to the law.
Let this then be one of our
rules and principles concerning
to which our poets and reciters
will be expected to conform--
that God is not the author of
all things, but of good only.
That will do, he said.
And what do you think of a second
principle? Shall I ask you whether
is a magician, and of a nature
to appear insidiously now in
and now in another--sometimes
himself changing and passing
into many forms,
sometimes deceiving us with the
semblance of such transformations;
or is he one and the same immutably
fixed in his own proper image?
I cannot answer you, he said,
without more thought.
Well, I said; but if we suppose
a change in anything, that change
must be effected either by the
thing itself, or by some other
And things which are at their
best are also least liable to
altered or discomposed; for example,
when healthiest and strongest,
the human frame is least liable
to be affected by meats and drinks,
and the plant which is in the
fullest vigour also suffers least
winds or the heat of the sun
or any similar causes.
And will not the bravest and
wisest soul be least confused
or deranged by any external influence?
And the same principle, as I
should suppose, applies to all
houses, garments; when good and
they are least altered by time
Then everything which is good,
whether made by art or nature,
is least liable to suffer change
But surely God and the things
of God are in every way perfect?
Of course they are.
Then he can hardly be compelled
by external influence to take
But may he not change and transform
Clearly, he said, that must
be the case if he is changed
And will he then change himself
for the better and fairer,
or for the worse and more unsightly?
If he change at all he can only
change for the worse, for we
suppose him to be deficient either
in virtue or beauty.
Very true, Adeimantus; but then,
would any one, whether God or
desire to make himself worse?
Then it is impossible that God
should ever be willing to change;
being, as is supposed, the fairest
and best that is conceivable,
every god remains absolutely
and for ever in his own form.
That necessarily follows, he
said, in my judgment.
Then, I said, my dear friend,
let none of the poets tell us
The gods, taking the disguise
of strangers from other lands,
walk up and down cities in all sorts of forms;
and let no one slander Proteus
and Thetis, neither let any one,
either in tragedy or in any other
kind of poetry, introduce Here
disguised in the likeness of
a priestess asking an alms
For the life-giving daughters
of Inachus the river of Argos;
--let us have no more lies of
that sort. Neither must we have
under the influence of the poets
scaring their children with a
version of these myths--telling
how certain gods, as they say,
by night in the likeness of so
many strangers and in divers
but let them take heed lest they
make cowards of their children,
and at the same time speak blasphemy
against the gods.
Heaven forbid, he said.
But although the gods are themselves
unchangeable, still by witchcraft
and deception they may make us
think that they appear in various
Perhaps, he replied.
Well, but can you imagine that
God will be willing to lie,
whether in word or deed, or to
put forth a phantom of himself?
I cannot say, he replied.
Do you not know, I said, that
the true lie, if such an expression
may be allowed, is hated of gods
What do you mean? he said.
I mean that no one is willingly
deceived in that which is the
and highest part of himself,
or about the truest and highest
there, above all, he is most
afraid of a lie having possession
Still, he said, I do not comprehend
The reason is, I replied, that
you attribute some profound meaning
to my words; but I am only saying
that deception, or being deceived
or uninformed about the highest
realities in the highest part
of themselves, which is the soul,
and in that part of them to have
and to hold the lie, is what
mankind least like;--that, I
is what they utterly detest.
There is nothing more hateful
And, as I was just now remarking,
this ignorance in the soul of
who is deceived may be called
the true lie; for the lie in
is only a kind of imitation and
shadowy image of a previous affection
of the soul, not pure unadulterated
falsehood. Am I not right?
The true lie is hated not only
by the gods, but also by men?
Whereas the lie in words is
in certain cases useful and not
in dealing with enemies--that
would be an instance; or again,
when those whom we call our friends
in a fit of madness or illusion
are going to do some harm, then
it is useful and is a sort of
or preventive; also in the tales
of mythology, of which we were
now speaking--because we do not
know the truth about ancient
we make falsehood as much like
truth as we can, and so turn
Very true, he said.
But can any of these reasons
apply to God? Can we suppose
is ignorant of antiquity, and
therefore has recourse to invention?
That would be ridiculous, he
Then the lying poet has no place
in our idea of God?
I should say not.
Or perhaps he may tell a lie
because he is afraid of enemies?
That is inconceivable.
But he may have friends who
are senseless or mad?
But no mad or senseless person
can be a friend of God.
Then no motive can be imagined
why God should lie?
Then the superhuman and divine
is absolutely incapable of falsehood?
Then is God perfectly simple
and true both in word and deed;
he changes not; he deceives not,
either by sign or word, by dream
or waking vision.
Your thoughts, he said, are
the reflection of my own.
You agree with me then, I said,
that this is the second type
or form in which we should write
and speak about divine things.
The gods are not magicians who
transform themselves, neither
deceive mankind in any way.
I grant that.
Then, although we are admirers
of Homer, we do not admire the
dream which Zeus sends to Agamemnon;
neither will we praise the verses
of Aeschylus in which Thetis
says that Apollo at her nuptials
Was celebrating in song her
fair progeny whose days were
to he long, and to know no sickness. And when he had
spoken of my lot as in all things blessed of heaven he
raised a note of triumph and cheered my soul. And I
thought that the word of Phoebus being divine and full
of prophecy, would not fail. And now he himself who
uttered the strain, he who was present at the banquet,
and who said this--he it is who has slain my son.
These are the kind of sentiments
about the gods which will arouse
our anger; and he who utters
them shall be refused a chorus;
neither shall we allow teachers
to make use of them in the instruction
of the young, meaning, as we
do, that our guardians, as far
can be, should be true worshippers
of the gods and like them.
I entirely agree, be said, in
these principles, and promise
them my laws.