Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 Next page
any creature to be absolutely fearless and indomitable?
Then now we have a clear notion of the bodily qualities which are
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
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 opposite
And where do you find them?
Many animals, I replied, furnish examples of them; our friend the
dog is a very good one: you know that well-bred dogs are perfectly
gentle to their familiars and acquaintances, and the reverse to
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 qualities?
Would not he who is fitted to be a guardian, besides the spirited
nature, need to have the qualities of a philosopher?
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
acquaintance, 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 dog
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 State
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 omit what is to the point or to draw out the
argument to an inconvenient length.
SOCRATES - ADEIMANTUS
Adeimantus thought that the enquiry would be of great service to us.
Then, I said, my dear friend, the task must not be given up, even if
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 for 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 not?
And literature may be either true or false?
And the young should be trained in both kinds, and we begin with the
I do not understand your meaning, he said.
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 learn
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 and the desired
impression is more readily taken.
And shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales
which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their
minds ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we
should wish them to have when they are grown up?
Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the
writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction
which is good, and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and
nurses to tell their children the authorised ones only. Let them
fashion the mind with such tales, even more fondly than they mould the
body with their hands; but most of those which are now in use must
Of what tales are you speaking? he said.
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 would
term the greater.
Those, I said, which are narrated by Homer and Hesiod, and the
rest of the poets, who have ever been the great story-tellers of
But which stories do you mean, he said; and what fault do you find
A fault which is most serious, I said; the fault of telling a lie,
and, what is more, a bad lie.
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 original.
Yes, he said, that sort of thing is certainly very blamable; but
what are the stories which you mean?
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 some huge and
unprocurable victim; and then the number of the hearers will be very
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 even if he
chastises his father when does wrong, in whatever manner, he will only
be following the example of the first and greatest among the gods.
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 we shall 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 children; and when they grow up, the poets
also should be told to compose for them in a similar spirit. But the
narrative of Hephaestus binding Here his mother, or how on another
occasion Zeus sent him flying for taking her part when she was being
beaten, and all the battles of the gods in Homer --these tales must
not be admitted into our State, whether they are supposed to have an
allegorical meaning or not. For a young person cannot judge what is
allegorical and what is literal; anything that he receives into his
mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and
therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first
hear should be models of virtuous thoughts.
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 tales, and the
limits which must be observed by them, but to make the tales is not
Very true, he said; but what are these forms of theology which you
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 tragic,
in which the representation is given.
And is he not truly good? and must he not be represented as such?
And no good thing is hurtful?
And that which is not hurtful hurts not?