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glaucon/sochates/adeimantus the republic

376 c “That’s entirely certain,” he said. “Then he would be of this sort to begin with. But how, exactly,

will they be reared and educated by us? And does our considering this contribute anything to our goal of discerning that for the sake of which

d we are considering all these things—^in what way justice and injustice come into being in a city? We don’t want to scant the argument, but we don’t want an overlong one either.”

And Glaucon’s brother said, “I most certainly expect that this present consideration will contribute to that goal.”

“By Zevis,” I said, “then, my dear Adeimantus, it mustn’t be given up even if it turns out to be quite long.”

“No, it mustn’t.”

“Come, then, like men telling tales in a tale and at their leisure, let’s educate the men in speech.”

e “We must.” “What is the education? Isn’t it difficult to find a better one than

that discovered over a great expanse of time? It is, of course, gymnastic for bodies and music^^ for the soul.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Won’t we begin educating in music before gymnastic?” “Of course.” “You include speeches in music, don’t you?” I said. “I do.”

“Do speeches have a double form, the one true, the other false?” “Yes.”

377 a “Must they be edvicated in both, but first in the false?” “I don’t understand how you mean that,” he said. “Don’t you understand,” I said, “that first we tell tales to chil-

dren? And surely they are, as a whole, false, though there are true things in them too. We make use of tales with children before exer- cises.”

“That’s so.”

“That’s what I meant by saying music must be taken up before gymnastic.”

“That’s right,” he said. “Don’t you know that the beginning is the most important part of

h every work and that this is especially so with anything young and ten- der? For at that stage it’s most plastic, and each thing assimilates itself to

the model whose stamp anyone wishes to give to it.” “Quite so.”

“Then shall we so easily let the children hear just any tales fashioned by just anyone and take into their souls opinions for the most

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Book II 1 376c-378b socrates/adeimantus

part opposite to those we’ll suppose they must have when they are 377 b grown up?”

“In no event will we permit it.” “First, as it seems, we must supervise the makers of tales; and if

they make-*’^ a fine tale, it must be approved, but if it’s not, it must be c rejected. We’ll persuade nurses and mothers to tell the approved tales to their children and to shape their souls with tales more than their bodies with hands. Most of those they now tell must be thrown out.”

“Which sort?” he said. “In the greater tales we’ll also see the smaller ones,” I said. “For

both the greater and the smaller must be taken from the same model and have the same power. Don’t you suppose so?” d

“I do,” he said. “But I don’t grasp what you mean by the greater ones.”

“The ones Hesiod and Homer told us, and the other poets too. They surely composed false tales for human beings and used to tell them and still do tell them.”

“But what sort,” he said, “and what do you mean to blame in them?”

“What ought to be blamed first and foremost,” I said, “especially if the lie a man tells isn’t a fine one.”

“What’s that?”

“When a man in speech makes a bad representation of what gods e and heroes are like, just as a painter who paints something that doesn’t resemble the things whose likeness he wished to paint.”

“Yes, it’s right to blame such things,” he said. “But how do we mean this and what sort of thing is it?”

“First,” I said, ‘the man who told the biggest lie about the biggest things didn’t tell a fine lie—how Uranus did what Hesiod says he did, and how Cronos in his turn took revenge on him.^^ And Cronos’ deeds 378 a and his sufferings at the hands of his son,^^ not even if they were true would I suppose they should so easily be told to thoughtless young things; best would be to keep quiet, but if there were some necessity to tell, as few as possible ought to hear them as unspeakable secrets, after making a sacrifice, not of a pig but of some great offering that’s hard to come by, so that it will come to the ears of the smallest possible num- ber.”

“These speeches are indeed harsh, ” he said. “And they mustn’t be spoken in our city, Adeimantus,” I said. b

“Nor must it be said within the hearing of a young person that in doing the extremes of injustice, or that in punishing the unjust deeds of his father in every way, he would do nothing to be wondered at, but would

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378 b be doing only what the first and the greatest of the gods did.” “No, by Zeus,” he said. “To say this doesn’t seem fitting to me


“Above all,” I said, “it mustn’t be said that gods make war on c gods, and plot against them and have battles with them—for it isn’t

even true—^provided that those who are going to guard the city for us must consider it most shameful^”* to be easily angry with one another. They are far from needing to have tales told and embroideries woven^i about battles of giants and the many diverse disputes of gods and hei”oes with their families and kin. But if we are somehow going to per- suade them that no citizen ever was angry with another and that to be so is not holy, it’s just such things that must be told the children right

d away by old men and women; and as they get older, the poets must be compelled to make up speeches for them which are close to these. But Hera’s bindings by her son,’*^ and Hephaestus’ being cast out by his father when he was about to help out his mother who was being beaten,43 ^^^j ^w ^^g battles of the gods Homer^^ made, must not be accepted in the city, whether they are made with a hidden sense or without a hidden sense. A young thing can’t judge what is hidden sense and what is not; but what he takes into his opinions at that age has a

e tendency to become hard to eradicate and unchangeable. Perhaps it’s for this reason that we must do everything to insure that what they hear first, with respect to virtue, be the finest told tales for them to hear.”

“That’s reasonable,” he said. “But if someone should at this point ask us what they are and which tales we mean, what would we say?”

And I said, “Adeimantus, you and I aren’t poets right now but 379 a founders of a city. It’s appropriate for founders to know the models ac-

cording to which the poets must tell their tales. If what the poets pro- duce goes counter to these models, founders must not give way; however, they must not themselves make up tales.”

“That’s correct,” he said. “But, that is just it; what would the models for speech about the gods^^ be.”

“Doubtless something like this,” I said. “The god must surely al-

ways be described such as he is, whether one presents him in epics, lyrics, or tragedies.”

“Yes, he must be.” b “Then, is the god reallv good, and, hence, must he be said to be


“Of course.” “Well, but none of the good things is hannful,,is it?” “Not in my opinion.” “Does that which isn’t harmful do hann?” “In no way.”

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“Does that which does not harm do any evil?” 379 b “Not that, either.” “That which does no evil would not be the cause of any evil?” “How could it be?” “What about this? Is the good beneficial?” “Yes.”

“Then it’s the cause of doing well?” “Yes.”

“Then the good is not the cause of everything; rather it is the cause of the things that are in a good way, while it is not responsible for the bad things.”

“Yes,” he said, “that’s entirely so.” c “Then,” I said, “the god, since he’s good, wouldn’t be the cause of

everything, as the many say, but the cause of a few things for human beings and not responsible for most. For the things that are good for us are far fewer than those that are bad; and of the good things, no one else must be said to be the cause; of the bad things, some other causes must be sought and not the god.”

“What you say,” he said, “is in my opinion very true.” “Then,” I said, “we mustn’t accept Homer’s—or any other

poet’s—foolishly making this mistake about the gods and saying that d

Two jars stand on Zeus’s threshold Full of dooms—the one of good,

the other of wretched;

and the man to whom Zeus gives a mixture of both. At one time he happens on evil,

at another good;

but the man to whom he doesn’t give a mixture, but the second pure.

Evil misery, drives him over the divine earth;46

nor that Zeus is the dispenser to us e

Of good and evil alike.’*^

And, as to the violation of the oaths and truces that Pandarus com- mitted, if someone says Athena and Zeus were responsible for its hap- pening,’*8 we’ll not praise him; nor must the young be allowed to hear that Themis and Zeus were responsible for strife and contention among 380 a the gods,^^ nor again, as Aeschylus says, that

God plants the cause in mortals When he wants to destroy a house utterly.

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380 a And if someone produces a ‘Sorrows of Niobe,’^” the work where these iambics are, or a ‘Sorrows of the Pelopidae,’ or the ‘Trojan Sor-

rows,’ or anything else of the sort, either he mustn’t be allowed to say that they are the deeds of a god, or, if of a god, he must find a speech for them pretty much like the one we’re now seeking; and he must say

b the god’s works were just and good, and that these people profited by being punished. But the poet mustn’t be allowed to say that those who pay the penalty are wretched and that the one who did it was a god. If, however, he should say that the bad men were wretched because they needed punishment and that in paying the penalty they were benefited by the god, it must be allowed. As for the assertion that a god, who is good, is the cause of evil to anyone, great exertions must be made against anyone’s saying these things in his owti city, if its laws are going to be well observed, or anyone’s hearing them, whether he is younger or

c older, whether the tale is told in meter or without meter. For these are to be taken as sayings that, if said, are neither holy, nor advantageous for us, nor in harmony with one another.”

“I give my vote to you in support of this law,” he said, “and it pleases me.”^^

“Now, then,” I said, “this would be one of the laws and models concerning the gods, according to which those who produce speeches will have to do their speaking and those who produce poems will have to do their making: the god is not the cause of all things, but of the good.”

“And it’s very satisfactory,” he said. d “Now, what about this second one? Do you suppose the god is a

wizard, able treacherously to reveal himself at different times in dif-

ferent ideas, at one time actually himself changing and passing from his own form into many shapes, at another time deceiving us and making us think such things about him? Or is he simple and does he least of all things depart from his own idea?”

“On the spur of the moment, I can’t say,” he said. “What about this? Isn’t it necessary that, if something steps out of

e its own idea, it be changed either by itself or something else?” “Yes, it is necessary.”

“Are things that are in the best condition least altered and moved by something else—for example, a body by food, drink, and labor, and all plants by the sun’s heat, winds, and other affections of the sort;

381 a aren’t the healthiest and strongest least altered?” “Of course.” “And a soul that is most courageous and most prudent, wouldn’t

an externa] affection least trouble and alter it?” Yes.

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391 e ‘ “Of course.” “And, further, they are harmful to those who hear them. Everyone

will be sympathetic with himself when he is bad, persuaded that after all similar things are done and were done even by

The close relations of gods. Near to Zeus, whose altar to patriarchal Zeus Is on Ida’s peak in the ether


In them the blood of demons has not yet faded.^s

On that account such tales must cease, for fear that they sow a strong 3Q2 a proclivity for badness in our young.”

“Entirely so,” he said. “So,” I said, “what form of speeches still remains for which we

are to define the sort of thing that must and must not be said? It has been stated how gods must be spoken about, and demons and heroes, and Hades’ domain.”

“Most certainly.” “Wouldn’t it be human beings who remain?” “Plainly.”

“Well, my friend, it’s impossible for us to arrange that at present.” “Why?” “Because I suppose we’ll say that what both poets and prose

h writers^” say concerning the most important things about human beings is bad—that many happy men are unjust, and many wretched ones just, and that doing injustice is profitable if one gets away with it, but justice is someone else’s good and one’s own loss. We’ll forbid them to say such things and order them to sing and to tell tales about the op- posites of these things. Or don’t you suppose so?”

“I know it quite well,” he said. “Then, if you were to agree that what J say is correct, wouldn’t I

say you’ve agreed about what we’ve been looking for all along?” “Your supposition is correct,” he said,

c “Won’t we come to an agreement that such speeches must be made about human beings when we find out what sort of a thing justice is and how it by nature profits the man who possesses it, whether he seems to be just or not?”

“Very true,” he said. “So then let that be the end of what has to do with speeches. After

this, I suppose, style^^ must be considered, and then we’ll have made a

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Book X / 602d-604b glaucon/socrates

“We must.” 603 c “Let’s present it in this way. Imitation, we say, imitates human

beings performing forced or voluntary actions, and, as a result of the action, supposing themselves to have done well or badly, and in all of this experiencing pain or enjoyment. Was there anything else beyond this?”

“Nothing.” “Then, in all this, is a human being of one mind? Or, just as with

respect to the sight there was faction and he had contrary opinions in d himself at the same time about the same things, is there also faction in him when it comes to deeds and does he do battle with himself? But I am reminded that there’s no need for us to come to an agreement about this now. For in the previous arguments we came to sufficient agree- ment about all this, asserting that our soul teems with ten thousand such oppositions arising at the same time.”

“Rightly,” he said. “Yes, it was right,” I said. “But what we then left out, it is now

necessary to go through, in my opinion.” e “What was that?” he said. “A decent man,” I said, “who gets as his share some such chance

as losing a son or something else for which he cares particularly, as we were surely also saying then, will bear it more easily than other men.”


“Now let’s consider whether he won’t be grieved at all, or whether this is impossible, but that he will somehow be sensible in the face of pain.”

“The latter,” he said, “is closer to the truth.” “Now tell me this about him. Do you suppose he’ll fight the pain 604 a

and hold out against it more when he is seen by his peers, or when he is alone by himself in a deserted place?”

“Surely,” he said, “he will fight it far more when seen.” “But when left alone, I suppose, he’ll dare to utter many things of

which he would be ashamed if someone were to hear, and will do many things he would not choose to have anyone see him do.”

“That’s so,” he said. “Isn’t it argument and law that tell him to hold out, while the suf-

fering itself is what draws him to the pain?” h True.

“When a contradictory tendency arises in a human being about the same thing at the same time, we say that there are necessarily two things in him.”


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604 h “Isn’t the one ready to be persuaded in whatever direction the law leads?”

“How so?” “The law presumably says that it is finest to keep as quiet as possi-

ble in misfortunes and not be irritated, since the good and bad in such things aren’t plain, nor does taking it hard get one anywhere, nor are

c any of the human things worthy of great seriousness; and being in pain is an impediment to the coming of that thing the support of which we need as quickly as possible in these cases.”

“What do you mean?” he said. “Deliberation,” I said, “about what has happened. One must ac-

cept the fall of the dice and settle one’s affairs accordingly~in whatever way argument declares would be best. One must not behave like children who have stumbled and who hold on to the hurt place and spend their time in crying out; rather one must always habituate the

d soul to turn as quickly as possible to curing and setting aright what has fallen and is sick, doing away with lament by medicine.”

“That,” he said, “at all events, would be the most correct way for a man to face what chance brings.”

“And, we say, the best part is willing to follow this calculation—” “Plainly.”

“—whereas the part that leads to reminiscences of the suffering and to complaints and can’t get enough of them, won’t we say that it is irrational, idle, and a friend of cowardice?”

“Certainly we’ll say that.”

e “Now then, the irritable disposition affords much and varied imitation, while the prudent and quiet character, which is always nearly equal to itself, is neither easily imitated nor, when imitated, easily understood, especially by a festive assembly where all sorts of human beings are gathered in a theater. For the imitation is of a condi- tion that is surely alien to them.”

605 a “That’s entirely certain.”

“Then plainly the imitative poet isn’t naturally directed toward any such part of the soul, and his wisdom isn’t framed for satisfying it—if he’s going to get a good reputation among the many—but rather toward the irritable and various disposition, because it is easily imitated.”


“Therefore it would at last be just for us to seize him and set him beside the painter as his antistrophe. For he is like the painter in mak- ing things that are ordinary by the standard of truth; and he is also

b similar in keeping company with a part of the soul that is on the same

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ilevel and not with the best part. And thus we should at last be justified 605 b Ijn not admitting him into a city that is going to be under good laws, be- ^cause he awakens this part of the soul and nourishes it, and, by making lit strong, destroys the calculating part, just as in a city when someone, |by making wicked men mighty, turns the city over to them and cor- Irupts the superior ones. Similarly, we shall say the imitative poet pro- Induces a bad regime in the soul of each private man by making phan- ^toms that are very far removed from the truth and by gratifying the c soul’s foolish part, which doesn’t distinguish big from little, but believes the same things are at one time big and at another little.”

“Most certainly.” “However, we haven’t yet made the greatest accusation against

imitation. For the fact that it succeeds in maiming even the decent men, except for a certain rare few, is surely quite terrible.”

“Certainly, if it does indeed do that.” “Listen and consider. When even the best of us hear Homer or

any other of the tragic poets imitating one of the heroes in mourning and making quite an extended speech with lamentation, or, if you like, d singing and beating his breast, you know that we enjoy it and that we give ourselves over to following the imitation; suffering along with the hero in all seriousness, we praise as a good poet the man who most puts us in this state.”

“I know it, of course.” “But when personal sorrow comes to one of us, you are aware

that, on the contrary, we pride ourselves if we are able to keep quiet and bear up, taking this to be the part of a man and what we then e praised to be that of a woman.”

“I do recognize it,” he said. “Is that a fine way to praise?” I said. “We see a man whom we

would not condescend, but would rather blush, to resemble, and, instead of being disgusted, we enjoy it and praise it?”

“No, by Zeus,” he said, “that doesn’t seem reasonable.” “Yes, it is,” I said, “if you consider it in this way.” 606 a “In what way?” “If you are aware that what is then held down by force in our own

misfortunes and has hungered for tears and sufficient lament and satisfaction, since it is by nature such as to desire these things, is that which now gets satisfaction and enjoyment from the poets. What is by nature best in us, because it hasn’t been adequately educated by argu- ment of habit, relaxes its guard over this mournful part because it sees another’s sufferings, and it isn’t shameful for it, if some other man who b claims to be good laments out of season, to praise and pity him; rather

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606 b it believes that it gains the pleasure and wouldn’t permit itself to be deprived of it by despising the whole poem. I suppose that only a cer- tain few men are capable of calculating that the enjoyment of other people’s sufferings has a necessary effect on one’s own. For the pitying part, fed strong on these examples, is not easily held down in one’s own sufferings.”

c “Very true,” he said. “Doesn’t the same argument also apply to the laughing part? If

there are any jokes that you would be ashamed to make yourself, but that you enjoy very much hearing in comic imitation or in private, and you don’t hate them as bad, you do the same as with things that evoke pity. For that in you which, wanting to make jokes, you then held down by argument, afraid of the reputation of buffoonery, you now release, and, having made it lusty there, have unawares been carried away in your own things so that you become a comic poet.”

d “Quite so,” he said. “And as for sex, and spiritedness, too, and for all the desires,

pains, and pleasures in the soul that we say follow all our action, poetic imitation produces similar results in us. For it fosters and waters them when they ought to be dried up, and sets them up as rulers in us when they ought to be ruled so that we may become better and happier in- stead of worse and more wretched.”

“I can’t say otherwise,” he said. e “Then, Glaucon,” I said, “when you meet praisers of Homer who

say that this poet educated Greece, and that in the management and education of human affairs it is worthwhile to take him up for study and for living, by arranging one’s whole life according to this poet, you

607 a must love and embrace them as being men who are the best they can be, and agree that Homer is the most poetic and first of the tragic poets; but you must know that only so much of poetry as is hymns to gods or celebration of good men should be admitted into a city. And if you ad- mit the sweetened muse in lyrics or epics, pleasure and pain will jointly be kings in your city instead of law and that argument which in each

instance is best in the opinion of the community.” “Very true,” he said.

b “Well,” I said, “since we brought up the subject of poetry again, let it be our apology that it was then fitting for us to send it away from the city on account of its character. The argument determined us. Let us further say to it, lest it convict us for a certain harshness and

rusticity, that there is an old quarrel between philosophy and poetry. For that ‘yelping bitch shrieking at her master,’ and ‘great in the empty

c eloquence of fools,’ ‘the mob of overwise men holding sway,’ and ‘the refined thinkers who are really poor’^ and countless others are signs of

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this old opposition. All the same, let it be said that, if poetry directed 607 c to pleasure and imitation have any argument to give showing that they should be in a city with good laws, we should be delighted to receive them back from exile, since we are aware that we ourselves are channed by them. But it isn’t holy to betray what seems to be the truth. Aren’t you, too, my friend, channed by it, especially when you con- template it through the medium of Homer?” d

“Very much so.” “Isn’t it just for it to come back in this way—when it has made an

apology in lyrics or some other meter?” “Most certainly.” “And surely we would also give its protectors, those who aren’t

poets but lovers of poetry, occasion to speak an argument without meter on its behalf, showing that it’s not only pleasant but also benefi-

cial to regimes and human life. And we shall listen benevolently. For surely we shall gain if it should turn out to be not only pleasant but also e beneficial.”

“We would,” he said, “undeniably gain” “But if not, my dear comrade, just like the men who have once

fallen in love with someone, and don’t believe the love is beneficial, keep away from it even if they have to do violence to themselves; so we too—due to the inborn love of such poetry we owe to our rearing in these fine regimes—we’ll be glad if it turns out that it is best and truest. 608 a But as long as it’s not able to make its apology, when we listen to it, well chant this argument we are making to ourselves as a coun- tercharm, taking care against falling back again into this love, which is childish and belongs to the many. We are, at all events, aware that such poetry mustn’t be taken seriously as a serious thing laying hold of truth, but that the man who hears it must be careful, fearing for the regime in b himself, and must hold what we have said about poetry.”

“Entirely,” he said. “I join you in saying that.” “For the contest is great, my dear Glaucon,” I said, “greater than

it seems—this contest that concerns becoming good or bad—so we mustn’t be tempted by honor or money or any ruling office or, for that matter, poetry, into thinking that it’s worthwhile to neglect justice and the rest of virtue.”

“I join you in saying that,” he said, “on the basis of what we have gone through. And I suppose anyone else would too.”

“And, yet,” I said, “we haven’t gone through the greatest rewards c and prizes proposed for virtue.”

“You are speaking of an inconceivable greatness,” he said, “if there are others greater than those mentioned.”

“What that is great could come to pass in a short time?” I said.

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