guardians as there are blacksmiths in a city ?
No, he replied j the blacksmiths will be far more numer-
Will they not be the smallest of all the classes who receive
a name from the profession of some kind of knowledge ?
Much the smallest.
And by reason of this smallest part or class of a State, which
is the governing and presiding class, and of the knowledge
which resides in them, the whole State, being in the
order of nature, will be called wise ; and nature appears
to have ordained that this, which has the only knowledge
worthy to be called knowledge, should be the smallest of all
Most true, he said.
Thus, then, I said, the nature and place in the State of one
of the four virtues has somehow been discovered.
I am sure, he said, that the discovery is to my mind quite
Again, I said, there is no difficulty in seeing the nature of
courage, and in what part that quality resides which gives the
name of courageous to the State. \
How do you mean ?
Why, I said, every one who calls any State courageous or
cowardly, will be thinking of that part which fights and goes
to battle on 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
THE REPUBLIC 263
cowardly, but that, as I conceive, will not have the effect of
making the city either one or the other.
The city will be courageous in virtue of a portion of the city
in which there resides a never-failing quality preservative of the
opinion which the legislator inculcated about the right sort of
fear ; and this is what you term courage.
I should like to hear what you are saying once more, for I
do not think that I perfectly understand you.
I mean, I said, that courage is a kind of preservation.
What kind of preservation ?
The preservation, I said, of the opinion about the nature and
manner of dangers which the law implants through education;
and I mean by the word " never-failing," to intimate that 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
you an illustration of my meaning ?
If you will.
You know, I said, that the dyers, when they want to dye
wool for making the true sea- purple, begin by selecting their
white color first ; this they prepare and dress with no slight
circumstance, in order that the white ground may take the pur-
ple hue in full perfection. The dyeing then proceeds ; and
whatever is dyed in this manner becomes a fast color, and no
washing with lyes or without lyes can take away the bloom of
the color. I dare say that you know how these, or indeed
any colors, look when the ground has not been duly pre-
Yes, he said ; I know that they have a washed-out and ridic-
Then now, I said, you will understand what our object was in
selecting our soldiers, and educating them in music and gym-
nastic ; we were contriving influences which would pre-
pare them to take the dye of the laws in perfection, and
the color of their opinions about dangers and every other opin-
ion was to be indelibly fixed by their nurture and training,
and not to be washed away by any such potent lyes as pleas-
ure, — mightier agent far in washing the soul than any soda
or lye ; and sorrow, fear, and desire mightier solvents than
any others. And this sort of universal preserving power of
true opinion in conformity with law about real and false dan-
264 PLATO THE TEACHER
gers, I call and maintain to be courage, unless you can suggest
But I have no other to suggest, and I suppose that you mean
to exclude mere uninstructed courage, such as that of a wild
beast or of a slave, — this, in your judgment, is not courage in
conformity with law, and ought to have another name.
That is as you say.
Then I may infer that this is courage ?
Why, yes, said I, that you may infer, and if you add the
word "political," you will not be far wrong: hereafter we
may pursue that inquiry further, but at present we are seeking
not for courage but justice, and with a view to this there is
nothing more wanted.
You are right, he replied.
Two virtues remain to be discovered in the State, — first,
temperance, and then justice, which is the great object of our
Now, can we find justice without troubling ourselves about
I do not know how that can be accomplished, he said, nor
do I desire that justice should be brought to light, and tem-
perance lost sight of; and therefore I wish you would do me
the favor of considering temperance first.
Certainly, I replied, I cannot be wrong in granting you a
Then do as I ask, he said.
Yes, I replied, I will do as you ask, and next consider tem-
perance ; this, as far as I can see at present, has more of the
nature of symphony and harmony than the preceding.
How is that ? he asked.
Temperance, I replied, is, as I conceive, a sort of order and
control of certain pleasures and desires ; this is implied in the
saying of a man being his own master; and there are other
traces of the same notion.
No doubt, he said.
There is something ridiculous in the expression "master of
himself; " for the master is also the slave and the slave the
master ; and in all these modes of speaking the same
4 person is predicated.
THE REPUBLIC • 265
But the real meaning of the expression, I believe, is that the
human soul has a better principle, and has also a worse prin-
ciple ; and when the better principle controls the worse, then
a man is said to be master of himself; and this is certainly a
term of praise: but when, owing to evil education or associa-
tion, the better principle, which is less, is overcome by the
worse principle, which is greater, this is censured ; and he
who is in this case is called the slave of self and unprin-
Yes, he said, there is reason in that.
And now, I said, look at our newly-created State, and there
you will find one of these two conditions realized j for the
State, as you will acknowledge, may be justly called master of
self, if the words temperance and self-mastery truly express the
rule of the better over the worse.
Yes, he said, I have looked, and perceive the truth of what
Moreover, I said, the pleasures and desires and pains, which
are many and various, are found in children and women and
servants, and in the lower classes of the free citizens.
Certainly, he said.
Whereas the simple and moderate desires which follow rea-
son, and are under the guidance of mind and true opinion, are
confined to a few, being those who are the best born and the
Very true, he said.
And these also, I said, as you may perceive, have a place in
our State, but the meaner desires of the many are held down
by the virtuous desires and wisdom of the few.
That 1 perceive, he said.
Then if there be any city which may be described as master
of pleasures and desires, and master of self, ours may claim
Certainly, he replied.
And also that of temperate, and for the same reasons ?
Yes, he said.
And if there be any State in which rulers and subjects will
be agreed about the question who are to rule, that again will
be our State ?
No doubt at all of that.
And the citizens being thus agreed among themselves, in
266 PLATO THE TEACHER
which class will temperance be found, — in the rulers or in the
In both, as I should imagine, he replied.
Do you observe, I said, that we were pretty right in our an-
ticipation that temperance was a sort of harmony?
Why do you say that ?
Why, because temperance is unlike courage and wisdom, each
of which resides in a portion of the State only, which the one
makes wise and the other valiant ; but that is not the way
with temperance, which extends to the whole, and runs
through the notes of the scale, and produces a harmony of the
weaker and the stronger and the middle class, whether you
suppose them to be stronger or weaker in wisdom or strength
or numbers or wealth, or whatever else may be the measure of
them. Most truly, then, do we describe temperance as the
natural harmony of master and slaves, both in States and in-
dividuals, in which the subjects are as willing to obey as the
governors are to rule.
I entirely agree with you.
And so, I said, three of the virtues have been discovered in
our State, and this is the form in which they appear. There
remains the last element of virtue in a State, which must be
justice, if we only knew what that was.
That, he said, is obvious.
The time then has arrived, Glaucon, when, like huntsmen,
we should surround the cover, and look sharp that justice does
not slip away, and pass out of sight, and get lost ; for there can
be no doubt that we are in the right direction ; only try and
get a sight of her, and if you come within view first, let me
I wish that there were any chance of that, he said ; but I
believe that you will find in me a follower who has just eyes
enough to see what you show him j that is as much as I am
Offer up a prayer, I said, and follow.
I will follow, he said, but you must show me the way.
Here is no path, I said, and the wood is dark and perplex-
ing, still we must push on.
Let us push on then.
Halloo ! I said, I begin to perceive indications of a track, and
I believe that the quarry will not escape.
THE REPUBLIC 267
That is good news, he said.
Truly, I said, we are very stupid.
Why so ?
Why, my good sir, I said, when we first began, ages ago,
there lay justice rolling at our feet, and we, fools that we were,
failed to see her, like people who go about looking for what
they have in their hands : And that was the way with us ; we
looked away into the far distance, and I suspect this to have
been the reason why we missed her.
What do you mean?
I mean to say that we have already had her on our lips and
in our ears, and failed to recognize her.
I get impatient at the length of your exordium.
Well, then, say whether I am right or not ; you will re-
member the original principle of which we spoke at the foun-
dation of the State, that every man, as we often insisted,
should practice one thing only, that being the thing 4
to which his nature was most perfectly adapted ; now justice
is either this or a part of this.
Yes, that was often repeated by us.
Further, we affirmed that justice was doing one's own busi-
ness, and not being a busybody ; that was often said by us,
and many others have said the same.
Yes, that was said by us.
Then this doing one's own business in a certain way may be
assumed to be justice. Do you know why I say this ?
I do not, and should like to be told.
Because I think that this alone remains in the State when
the other virtues of temperance and courage and wisdom are
abstracted j and 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.
Still, I said, if a question should arise as to which of these
four qualities contributed most by their presence to the excel-
lence of the State, whether the agreement of rulers and sub-
jects, or the preservation in the soldiers of the opinion which
the law ordains about the true nature of dangers, or wisdom
and watchfulness in the rulers would claim the palm, or
whether this which I am about to mention, and which is found
268 PLATO THE TEACHER
in children and women, bond and free, artisan, ruler, subject,
is not the one which conduces most to the excellence of the
State, — this quality, I mean, of every one doing his own work,
and not being a busybody, — the question would not be easily
Certainly, he replied, that would be difficult to determine.
Then the power of each individual in the State to do his
own work appears to compete in the scale of political virtue
with wisdom, temperance, and courage?
Yes, he said.
And the virtue which enters into this competition is justice ?
Look at this in another light. Are not the rulers in a State
those to whom you would entrust the office of determining
And they will decide on the principle that individuals are
neither to take what is another's nor to be deprived of what is
their own ; that will be the principle at which they will aim ?
Yes; that will be their principle.
And that 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 ?
That is true.
Think, now, and say whether you agree with me. Suppose
a carpenter to be doing the business of a cobbler, or a cobbler
of a carpenter j and suppose them to exchange imple-
ments or prerogatives, or the same person to be doing
the work of both ; do you think that any great harm would
happen to the State?
Not at all, he said.
But when the cobbler leaves his last, and he or any other
whom nature designed to be a trader, and whose heart is lifted
up by wealth or strength or numbers, or any like advantage,
attempts to force his way into the class of warriors, or a war-
rior into that of legislators and guardians, for which he is un-
fitted, or when one man is trader, legislator, and warrior all at
once, then I think you will agree with me that this inter-
change of duties and implements and this meddling of one
with another is the ruin of the State.
THE REPUBLIC 269
Then, said I, as there are three distinct classes, any med-
dling of them with one another, or the change of one into an-
other, is the greatest harm to the State, and may be most justly
And the greatest degree of evil-doing to one's own city you
would characterize as injustice?
This then is injustice ; and let us once more repeat the
thesis in the opposite form. When the trader, the auxiliary,
and the guardian do their own business, that is justice, and
will make the city just.
I think that is true, he said.
Let us not, I said, be over-positive as yet ; but if, on trial,
this conception of justice be verified in the individual as well
as in the State, then there will be no longer any room for
doubt ; but, if not, there must be another inquiry. At pres-
ent, however, let us finish the old investigation, which we be-
gan, as you remember, under the impression that, if we could
first examine justice on the larger scale, there would be less
difficulty in recognizing her in the individual. That larger
example appeared to be the State, and we made the best that
we could, knowing well that in the good State justice would
be found to exist. Let us now apply what we found there to
the individual, and if they agree, well and good ; or, if there
be a difference in the individual, we will come back to the
State and have another trial of the theory. The friction of
the two when rubbed together may possibly strike a
light in which justice will shine forth, and the vision 4 5
which is then revealed we will fix in our souls.
That is the right way, he said ; 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 far
as they are called the same ?
Like, he replied.
The just man then, in being just, and in reference to the
mere principle of justice, will be like the just State?
And a State was thought by us to be just when the three
classes in the State did their own business ; and also thought
270 PLATO THE TEACHER
to be temperate and valiant and wise by reason of certain
other affections and qualities of these same classes ?
True, he said.
And so of the individual ; we shall be right in arguing that
he has these same principles in his own soul, and may fairly
receive the same appellations as possessing the affections which
correspond to them ?
Certainly, he said.
Once more then, O my friend, we have alighted upon an
easy question — whether the soul has these three principles or
An easy question ! Nay, rather, Socrates, the proverb holds
that hard is the good.
Very true, I said ; and I confess that the method which we
are employing, in my judgment, seems to be altogether inade-
quate to the accurate solution of this question ; for the true
method is another and a longer one. Still we may arrive at a
solution not below the level of the previous inquiry.
May we not be satisfied with that ? he said : under the cir-
cumstances, I am quite content.
I too, I replied, shall be extremely well satisfied.
Then faint not in pursuing the speculation, he said.
Can I be wrong, I said, in acknowledging that in the indi-
vidual there are the same principles and habits which there are
in the State ? for if they did not pass from one to the other,
whence did they come ? Take the quality of spirit or passion ;
there would be something ridiculous in thinking that this qual-
ity, which is characteristic of the Thracians, Scythians, 10 and
in general of the northern nations, when found in States, does
not originate in the individuals who compose them ; and the
same may be said of the love of knowledge, which is the special
characteristic of our part of the world, or the love of
430- money, which may, with equal truth, be attributed to
the Phoenicians and Egyptians. 11
Exactly, he said.
There is no difficulty in understanding this.
10 The names Thracia (thra'shi-a) and Scythia (Sy'thf-a) were applied to
various regions at different periods. Here the reference is probably to re-
gions on the west and north coasts of the Black Sea, whose inhabitants were
semi-civilized, fierce, and war-like.
11 The Phoenicians and Egyptians were the principal commercial peoples
of antiquity with whom the Greeks were acquainted.
THE REPUBLIC 271
But the difficulty begins as soon as we raise the question
whether these principles are three or one ; whether, that is to
say, we learn with one part of our nature, are angry with an-
other, and with a third part desire the satisfaction of our natural
appetites ; or whether the whole soul comes into play in each
sort of action — to determine that is the difficulty.
Yes, he said, that is the difficulty.
Then let us now try and determine whether they are the
same or different.
[The same thing cannot at the same time, with the same
part, act in contrary ways, about the same. If therefore we
find in ourselves a principle which impels us to eat and drink
and indulge in other passions, and another principle which at
the same time restrains us from these indulgences, these two
principles, the impelling and the restraining, must be distinct.
The principle which impels us we may call the irrational or
appetitive, and the principle which restrains we may call the
rational. Socrates continues :]
Then let these be marked out as the two principles which
there are existing in the soul.
And what shall we say of passion, or spirit ? Is that a third,
or akin to one of the preceding ?
I should be inclined to say — akin to desire.
Well, I said, there is a story which I remember to have
heard, and on which I rely. The story is that Leontius, the
son of Aglaion, 12 was coming up from the Piraeus, under the
north wall on the outside, and observed some dead bodies
lying on the ground by the executioner. He felt a longing
desire to see them, and also a disgust and abhorrence of them ;
for a time he turned away and averted his eyes, and then,
suddenly overcome by the impulse, forced them open,
and ran up, saying (to his eyes), Take your fill, ye wretches,
of the fair sight.
I have heard the story myself, he said.
Now this seems to imply that anger differs from the desires,
and is sometimes at war with them.
That is implied, he said.
M Leontius (le-6n'shf-us). Aglaion (ag-H'yon).
272 PLATO THE TEACHER
And are there not many other cases in which we observe
that, when a man's desires violently prevail over his reason, he
reviles himself, and is angry at the violence within him, and
that in this struggle, which is like the struggle of actions in a
State, his spirit is on the side of his reason. But that the
passionate or spirited element should side with the desires
when reason decides that she is not to be opposed, this sort
of thing, I believe, you will say that you never observed oc-
curring in yourself, nor, as I think, in any one else?
Certainly not, he said.
Suppose, I said, that a man thinks he has done a wrong to
another : the nobler he is the less able he is to get into a state
of righteous indignation ; his anger refuses to be excited at the
hunger or cold or other suffering, which he deems that the in-
jured person may justly inflict upon him ?
True, he said.
But when he thinks that he is the sufferer of the wrong, then
he boils 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 ; he
must do or die, and will not desist, until he hears the voice of
the shepherd, that is, reason, bidding his dog bark no more.
That is a very good illustration, 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 would wish you to consider.
What may that be ?
You remember that passion or spirit appeared at first sight
to be a sort of desire, but now we should say 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 spirit different from reason
also, or only a sort of reason ; in which case, instead of three
principles in the soul, there will be only two, 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 which is the auxiliary of reason when
not corrupted by education?
THE REPUBLIC 273
Yes, he said, there must be a third.
Yes, I replied, if passion, which has already been shown to
be different from desire, turn out also to be different from
But that is obvious, he said, and is proved in the case of
young children, who 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 a good many only late in life.
Excellent, I said, and the same thing is seen in brute animals,
which is a further proof of the truth of what you are saying.
And Homer, whose words we have already quoted, may be
again summoned as a witness, where he says, —
" He smote his breast, and thus rebuked his soul; "
for in those lines Homer has clearly supposed the power which
reasons about the better and worse to be different from the
unreasoning principle which is the subject of the rebuke.
That is true, he said.
And now, after much tossing in the argument, we have
reached land, and are fairly agreed that the principles which
exist in the State, like those in the individual, are three in
number, and the same with them.
And must we not infer that the individual is wise in the
same way, and in virtue of the same quality which makes the
State wise ?
And the same quality which constitutes bravery in the State
constitutes bravery in the individual, and the same is true of
all the other virtues ?
And the individual will be acknowledged by us to be just
in the same way that the State was just ?
That will also follow of course.
And the justice of the State consisted, as we very well re-
member, in each of the three classes doing the work of that
We are not very likely to forget that, he said.
And we must also remember that the individual whose sev-
eral principles do their own work will be just, and will do his
own work ?
274 PLATO THE TEACHER
Yes, he said, we must remember that.
And ought not the rational principle, which is wise, and has
the care of the whole soul, to rule, and the passionate or spir-
ited principle to be the subject and ally?
And, as you were saying, the harmonizing influence of
music and gymnastic will bring them into accord, nerving and
educating the reason with noble words and lessons, and