[Socrates] Such is the good and true city or state, and the
true man is of the same pattern; and if this is right every
other is wrong;
and the evil is one which affects not only the ordering of the
also the regulation of the individual soul, and is exhibited
in four forms.
What are they? he said.
[Socrates] I was proceeding to tell the order in which the
forms appeared to me to succeed one another, when Polemarchus,
sitting a little way off, just beyond Adeimantus, began to
whisper to him:
stretching forth his hand, he took hold of the upper part of
his coat by
the shoulder, and drew him toward him, leaning forward himself
so as to be
quite close and saying something in his ear, of which I only
words, "Shall we let him off, or what shall we do?"
Certainly not, said Adeimantus, raising his voice.
[Socrates] Who is it, I said, whom you are refusing to let
You, he said.
[Socrates] I repeated, Why am I especially not to be let
Why, he said, we think that you are lazy, and mean to cheat
us out of a
whole chapter which is a very important part of the story; and
that we shall not notice your airy way of proceeding; as if it
self-evident to everybody, that in the matter of women and
"friends have all things in common."
Glaucon laughed and said: Well, then, Socrates, in case you
your argument do us any serious injury you shall be acquitted
the homicide, and shall not be held to be a deceiver; take
courage then and
[Socrates] Well, I said, the law says that when a man is
acquitted he is
free from guilt, and what holds at law may hold in argument.
Then why should you mind?
[Socrates] Well, I replied, I suppose that I must retrace
my steps and
say what I perhaps ought to have said before in the proper
place. The part
of the men has been played out, and now properly enough comes
the turn of
the women. Of them I will proceed to speak, and the more
readily since I am
invited by you.
For men born and educated like our citizens, the only way,
opinion, of arriving at a right conclusion about the
possession and use of
women and children is to follow the path on which we
when we said that the men were to be the guardians and
watch-dogs of the
[Socrates] Let us further suppose the birth and education
of our women
to be subject to similar or nearly similar regulations; then
we shall see
whether the result accords with our design.
What do you mean?
[Socrates] What I mean may be put into the form of a
question, I said:
Are dogs divided into he's and she's, or do they both share
hunting and in keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs?
or do we
intrust to the males the entire and exclusive care of the
flocks, while we
leave the females at home, under the idea that the bearing and
of their puppies are labour enough for them?
No, he said, they share alike; the only difference between
them is that
the males are stronger and the females weaker.
[Socrates] But can you use different animals for the same
unless they are bred and fed in the same way?
[Socrates] The education which was assigned to the men was
[Socrates] Then women must be taught music and gymnastics
and also the
art of war, which they must practise like the men?
That is the inference, I suppose.
[Socrates] I should rather expect, I said, that several of
proposals, if they are carried out, being unusual, may appear
No doubt of it.
[Socrates] Yes, and the most ridiculous thing of all will
be the sight
of women naked in the palaestra, exercising with the men,
they are no longer young; they certainly will not be a vision
any more than the enthusiastic old men who, in spite of
ugliness, continue to frequent the gymnasia.
Yes, indeed, he said: according to present notions the
proposal would be
[Socrates] But then, I said, as we have determined to speak
we must not fear the jests of the wits which will be directed
sort of innovation; how they will talk of women's attainments,
music and gymnastics, and above all about their wearing armour
Very true, he replied.
[Socrates] Yet, having begun, we must go forward to the
rough places of
the law; at the same time begging of these gentlemen for once
in their life
to be serious. Not long ago, as we shall remind them, the
Hellenes were of
the opinion, which is still generally received among the
the sight of a naked man was ridiculous and improper; and when
Cretans, and then the Lacedaemonians, introduced the custom,
the wits of
that day might equally have ridiculed the innovation.
[Glaucon] No doubt.
But when experience showed that to let all things be
uncovered was far
better than to cover them up, and the ludicrous effect to the
had vanished before the better principle which reason
asserted, then the
man was perceived to be a fool who directs the shafts of his
any other sight but that of folly and vice, or seriously
inclines to weigh
the beautiful by any other standard but that of the good.
[Glaucon] Very true, he replied.
[Socrates] First, then, whether the question is to be put
in jest or in
earnest, let us come to an understanding about the nature of
woman: Is she
capable of sharing either wholly or partially in the actions
of men, or not
at all? And is the art of war one of those arts in which she
can or cannot
share? That will be the best way of commencing the inquiry,
probably lead to the fairest conclusion.
That will be much the best way.
[Socrates] Shall we take the other side first and begin by
against ourselves? in this manner the adversary's position
will not be
[Socrates] Then let us put a speech into the mouths of our
They will say: "Socrates and Glaucon, no adversary need
convict you, for
you yourselves, at the first foundation of the State, admitted
principle that everybody was to do the one work suited to his
And certainly, if I am not mistaken, such an admission was
made by us. "And
do not the natures of
men and women differ very much indeed?"
And we shall
reply, Of course they do. Then we shall be asked, "Whether the
assigned to men and to women should not be different, and such
agreeable to their different natures?" Certainly they should.
"But if so,
have you not fallen into a serious inconsistency in saying
that men and
women, whose natures are so entirely different, ought to
perform the same
actions?" What defence will you make for us, my good sir,
who offers these objections?
Lee's translation: "Well," he will continue, "isn't there a very
great natural difference between men and women?" And when we admit that
too, he will ask us whether we ought not to give them different roles to
match these natural differences. When we say yes, he will ask, "Then aren't
you making a mistake and contradicting yourselves, when you go on top say
that men and women should follow the same occupations, in spite of the
great natural difference between them?" What about that? Are you clever
enough to answer him?
That is not an easy question to answer when asked suddenly;
and I shall
and I do beg of you to draw out the case on our side.
[Socrates] These are the objections, Glaucon, and there are
of a like kind, which I foresaw long ago; they made me afraid
to take in hand any law about the possession and nurture of
By Zeus, he said, the problem to be solved is anything but
[Socrates] Why, yes, I said, but the fact is that when a
man is out of
his depth, whether he has fallen into a little swimming-bath
mid-ocean, he has to swim all the same.
[Socrates] And must not we swim and try to reach the shore
- we will
that Arion's dolphin or some other miraculous help may save
[Socrates] Well, then, let us see if any way of escape can
be found. We
acknowledged - did we not? - that different natures ought to
pursuits, and that
men's and women's natures are different.
And now what
are we saying? - that different natures ought to have the same
is the inconsistency which is charged upon us.
[Socrates] Verily, Glaucon, I said, glorious is the power of
art of contradiction!
[Glaucon] Why do you say so?
[Socrates] Because I think that many a man falls into the
against his will. When he thinks that he is reasoning he is
disputing, just because he cannot define and divide, and so
know that of
which he is speaking; and he will pursue a merely verbal
opposition in the
spirit of contention and not of fair discussion.
[Glaucon] Yes, he replied, such is very often the case; but
that to do
with us and our argument?
[Socrates] A great deal; for there is certainly a danger of
unintentionally into a verbal opposition.
[Glaucon] In what way?
[Socrates] Why we valiantly and pugnaciously insist upon
truth, that different natures ought to have different
pursuits, but we
never considered at all what was the meaning of sameness or
nature, or why we distinguished them when we assigned
different pursuits to
different natures and the same to the same natures.
[Glaucon] Why, no, he said, that was never considered by
[Socrates] I said: Suppose that by way of illustration we
were to ask
the question whether there is not an opposition in nature
between bald men
and hairy men; and if this is admitted by us, then, if bald
cobblers, we should forbid the hairy men to be cobblers, and
[Glaucon] That would be a jest, he said.
[Socrates] Yes, I said, a jest; and why? because we never
meant when we
constructed the State, that the opposition of natures should
every difference, but only to those differences which affected
in which the individual is engaged; we should have argued, for
that a physician and one who is in mind a physician may be
said to have the
[Socrates] And if, I said, the
male and female sex appear
to differ in
their fitness for any art or pursuit, we should say that such
art ought to be assigned to one or the other of them; but if
consists only in women bearing and men begetting children,
this does not
amount to a proof that a woman differs from a man in respect
of the sort of
education she should receive; and we shall therefore continue
that our guardians and their wives ought to have the same
[Glaucon] Very true, he said.
[Socrates] Next, we shall ask our opponent how, in
reference to any of
the pursuits or arts of civic life, the nature of a woman
differs from that
of a man?
[Socrates] And perhaps he, like yourself, will reply that
to give a
sufficient answer on the instant is not easy; but after a
there is no difficulty.
[Socrates] Suppose then that we invite him to accompany us
argument, and then we may hope to show him that there is
in the constitution of
women which would affect them in the
of the State.
By all means.
[Socrates] Let us say to him: Come now, and we will ask you
When you spoke of a nature gifted or not gifted in any
respect, did you
mean to say that one man will acquire a thing easily, another
difficulty; a little learning will lead the one to discover a
whereas the other, after much study and application, no sooner
he forgets; or again, did you mean, that the one has a body
which is a good
servant to his mind, while the body of the other is a
hinderance to him?
- would not these be the sort of differences which
distinguish the man
gifted by nature from the one who is ungifted?
No one will deny that.
[Socrates] And can you mention any pursuit of mankind in
which the male
sex has not all these gifts and qualities in a higher degree
female? Need I waste time in speaking of the art of weaving,
management of pancakes and preserves, in which womankind does
to be great, and in which for her to be beaten by a man is of
the most absurd?
You are quite right, he replied, in maintaining the general
inferiority of the
female sex: although many women are in many
superior to many men, yet on the whole what you say is true.
And if so, my friend, I said, there is no special faculty
administration in a State which a woman has because she is a
which a man has by virtue of his sex, but the gifts of nature
diffused in both; all the pursuits of men are the pursuits of
but in all of them a woman is inferior to a man.
[Socrates] Then are we to impose all our enactments on men
and none of
them on women?
That will never do.
[Socrates] One woman has a gift of healing, another not;
one is a
musician, and another has no music in her nature?
[Socrates] And one woman has a turn for gymnastic and military
exercises, and another is unwarlike and hates gymnastics?
[Socrates] And one woman is a philosopher, and another is
an enemy of
philosophy; one has spirit, and another is without spirit?
That is also true.
[Socrates] Then one woman will have the temper of a
another not. Was not the selection of the male guardians
differences of this sort?
[Socrates] Men and women alike possess the qualities which
guardian; they differ only in their comparative strength or
Men and women, therefore, also have the same nature with respect to
guarding a city, except insofar as one is weaker and the other stronger
[Socrates] And those women who have such qualities are to
be selected as
the companions and colleagues of men who have similar
qualities and whom
they resemble in capacity and in character?
[Socrates] And ought not the same natures to have the same
[Socrates] Then, as we were saying before, there is nothing
assigning music and gymnastics to the wives of the guardians -
we come round again.
[Socrates] The law which we then enacted was agreeable to
therefore not an impossibility or mere aspiration; and the
practice, which prevails at present, is in reality a violation
That appears to be true.
[Socrates] We had to consider, first, whether our proposals
possible, and secondly whether they were the most beneficial?
[Socrates] And the possibility has been acknowledged?
[Socrates] The very great benefit has next to be
[Socrates] You will admit that the same education which
makes a man a
good guardian will make a woman a good guardian; for their
is the same?
[Socrates] I should like to ask you a question.
What is it?
[Socrates] Would you say that all men are equal in
excellence, or is one
man better than another?
[Socrates] And in the commonwealth which we were founding
conceive the guardians who have been brought up on our model
system to be
more perfect men, or the cobblers whose education has been
What a ridiculous question!
[Socrates] You have answered me, I replied: Well, and may
we not further
say that our guardians are the best of our citizens?
[Socrates] And will not their wives be the best women?
Yes, by far the best.
[Socrates] And can there be anything better for the
interests of the
State than that the men and women of a State should be as good
There can be nothing better.
[Socrates] And this is what the arts of music and gymnastics,
when present in such a manner as we have described, will
[Socrates] Then we have made an enactment not only possible
but in the
highest degree beneficial to the State?
[Socrates] Then let the wives of our guardians strip, for
will be their robe, and let them share in the toils of war and
of their country; only in the distribution of labours the
lighter are to be
assigned to the women, who are the weaker natures, but in
their duties are to be the same. And as for the man who laughs
women exercising their bodies from the best of motives, in his
is plucking "A fruit of unripe wisdom," and he himself is
ignorant of what
he is laughing at, or what he is about; for that is, and ever
will be, the
best of sayings, "that the useful is the noble, and the
hurtful is the
[Socrates] Here, then, is one difficulty in our law about
we may say that we have now escaped; the wave has not
swallowed us up alive
for enacting that the guardians of either sex should have all
pursuits in common; to the utility and also to the possibility
arrangement the consistency of the argument with itself bears
Yes, that was a mighty wave which you have escaped.
[Socrates] Yes, I said, but a greater is coming; you will
not think much
of this when you see the next.
Go on; let me see.
[Socrates] The law, I said, which is the sequel of this and
of all that
has preceded, is to the following effect, "that the wives of
are to be common, and their children are to be common, and no
parent is to
know his own child, nor any child his parent."
Yes, he said, that is a much greater wave than the other;
possibility as well as the utility of such a law are far more
[Socrates] I do not think, I said, that there can be any
the very great utility of having wives and children in common;
possibility is quite another matter, and will be very much
I think that a good many doubts may be raised about both.
[Socrates] You imply that the two questions must be
combined, I replied.
Now I meant that you should admit the utility; and in this
way, as I
thought, I should escape from one of them, and then there
would remain only
But that little attempt is detected, and therefore you will
give a defence of both.
[Socrates] Well, I said, I submit to my fate. Yet grant me
favour: let me feast my mind with the dream as day-dreamers
are in the
habit of feasting themselves when they are walking alone; for
have discovered any means of effecting their wishes - that is
never troubles them - they would rather not tire themselves by
possibilities; but assuming that what they desire is already
them, they proceed with their plan, and delight in detailing
what they mean
to do when their wish has come true - that is a way which they
have of not
doing much good to a capacity which was never good for much.
Now I myself
am beginning to lose heart, and I should like, with your
pass over the question of possibility at present. Assuming
possibility of the proposal, I shall now proceed to inquire
how the rulers
will carry out these arrangements, and I shall demonstrate
that our plan,
if executed, will be of the greatest benefit to the State and
guardians. First of all, then, if you have no objection, I
with your help to consider the advantages of the measure; and
question of possibility.
I have no objection; proceed.
[Socrates] First, I think that if our rulers and their
to be worthy of the name which they bear, there must be
willingness to obey
in the one and the power of command in the other; the
must obey the laws, and they must also imitate the spirit of
them in any
details which are intrusted to their care.
That is right, he said.
[Socrates] You, I said, who are their legislator, having
men, will now select the women and give them to them; they
must be as far
as possible of like natures with them; and they must live in
and meet at common meals. None of them will have anything
specially his or
her own; they will be together, and will be brought up
together, and will
associate at gymnastic exercises. And so they will be drawn by
of their natures to have intercourse with each other -
necessity is not too
strong a word, I think?
Yes, he said; necessity, not geometrical, but another sort
which lovers know, and which is far more convincing and
constraining to the
mass of mankind.
[Socrates] True, I said; and this, Glaucon, like all the
proceed after an orderly fashion; in a city of the blessed,
is an unholy thing which the rulers will forbid.
Yes, he said, and it ought not to be permitted.
[Socrates] Then clearly the next thing will be to make
in the highest degree, and what is most beneficial will be
[Socrates] And how can marriages be made most beneficial?
that is a
question which I put to you, because I see in your house dogs
and of the nobler sort of birds not a few. Now, I beseech you,
do tell me,
have you ever attended to their pairing and breeding?
In what particulars?
[Socrates] Why, in the first place, although they are all
of a good
sort, are not some better than others?
[Socrates] And do you breed from them all indifferently, or
do you take
care to breed from the best only?
From the best.
[Socrates] And do you take the oldest or the youngest, or
only those of
I choose only those of ripe age.
[Socrates] And if care was not taken in the breeding, your
birds would greatly deteriorate?
[Socrates] And the same of horses and of animals in
[Socrates] Good heavens! my dear friend, I said, what
will our rulers need if the same principle holds of the human
Certainly, the same principle holds; but why does this
[Socrates] Because, I said, our rulers will often have to
the body corporate with medicines. Now you know that when
patients do not
require medicines, but have only to be put under a regimen,
sort of practitioner is deemed to be good enough; but when
medicine has to
be given, then the doctor should be more of a man.
That is quite true, he said; but to what are you alluding?
[Socrates] I mean, I replied, that our rulers will find a
dose of falsehood and deceit necessary for the good of their
were saying that the use of all these things regarded as
medicines might be
And we were very right.
And this lawful use of them seems likely to be often needed
regulations of marriages and births.
Why, I said, the principle has been already laid down that
the best of
either sex should be united with the best as often, and the
the inferior as seldom, as possible; and that they should rear
offspring of the one sort of union, but not of the other, if
the flock is
to be maintained in first-rate condition. Now these goings on
must be a
secret which the rulers only know, or there will be a further
danger of our
herd, as the guardians may be termed, breaking out into
Had we better not appoint certain festivals at which we
together the brides and bridegrooms, and sacrifices will be
suitable hymeneal songs composed by our poets: the number of
weddings is a
matter which must be left to the discretion of the rulers,
whose aim will
be to preserve the aver age of population? There are many
which they will have to consider, such as the effects of wars
and any similar agencies, in order as far as this is possible
the State from becoming either too large or too small.
Certainly, he replied.
We shall have to invent some ingenious kind of lots which
worthy may draw on each occasion of our bringing them
together, and then
they will accuse their own ill-luck and not the rulers.
To be sure, he said.
And I think that our braver and better youth, besides their
honours and rewards, might have greater facilities of
women given them; their bravery will be a reason, and such
fathers ought to
have as many sons as possible.
And the proper officers, whether male or female or both,
for offices are
to be held by women as well as by men - Yes -
[Socrates] The proper officers will take the offspring of the good
parents to the
pen or fold, and there they will deposit them with certain
nurses who dwell
in a separate quarter; but the offspring of the inferior, or
of the better
when they chance to be deformed, will be put away in some
unknown place, as they should be.
Yes, he said, that must be done if the breed of the
guardians is to be
They will provide for their nurture, and will bring the
mothers to the
fold when they are full of milk, taking the great est possible
care that no
mother recognizes her own child; and other wet-nurses may be
more are required. Care will also be taken that the process of
shall not be protracted too long; and the mothers will have no
at night or other trouble, but will hand over all this sort of
thing to the
nurses and attendants.
You suppose the wives of our guardians to have a fine easy
time of it
when they are having children.
Why, said I, and so they ought. Let us, however, proceed
scheme. We were saying that the parents should be in the prime
And what is the prime of life? May it not be defined as a
about twenty years in a woman's life, and thirty years in a
Which years do you mean to include?
A woman, I said, at twenty years of age may begin to bear
the State, and continue to bear them until forty; a man may
five-and-twenty, when he has passed the point at which the
pulse of life
beats quickest, and continue to beget children until he be
Certainly, he said, both in men and women those years are
the prime of
physical as well as of intellectual vigour. Anyone above or
prescribed ages who takes part in the public hymeneals shall
be said to
have done an unholy and unrighteous thing; the child of which
he is the
father, if it steals into life, will have been conceived under
very unlike the sacrifices and prayers, which at each hymeneal
and priests and the whole city will offer, that the new
generation may be
better and more useful than their good and useful parents,
child will be the offspring of darkness and strange lust.
Very true, he replied.
And the same law will apply to any one of those within the
age who forms a connection with any woman in the prime of life
sanction of the rulers; for we shall say that he is raising up
a bastard to
the State, uncertified and unconsecrated.
Very true, he replied.
This applies, however, only to those who are within the
after that we will allow them to range at will, except that a
man may not
marry his daughter or his daughter's daughter, or his mother
mother's mother; and women, on the other hand, are prohibited
their sons or fathers, or son's son or father's father, and so
on in either
direction. And we grant all this, accompanying the permission
orders to prevent any embryo which may come into being from
light; and if any force a way to the birth, the parents must
that the offspring of such a union cannot be maintained, and
That also, he said, is a reasonable proposition. But how
will they know
who are fathers and daughters, and so on?
They will never know. The way will be this: dating from the
day of the
hymeneal, the bridegroom who was then married will call all
children who are born in the seventh and the tenth month
sons, and the female children his daughters, and they will
call him father,
and he will call their children his grandchildren, and they
will call the
elder generation grandfathers and grandmothers. All who were
the time when their fathers and mothers came together will be
brothers and sisters, and these, as I was saying, will be
intermarry. This, however, is not to be understood as an
prohibition of the marriage of brothers and sisters; if the
them, and they receive the sanction of the Pythian oracle, the
Such is the scheme, Glaucon, according to which the guardians
State are to have their wives and families in common. And now
have the argument show that this community is consistent with
the rest of
our polity, and also that nothing can be better - would you
[Glaucon] Yes, certainly.
[Socrates] Shall we try to find a common basis by asking of
what ought to
be the chief aim of the legislator in making laws and in the
of a State - what is the greatest good, and what is the
greatest evil, and
then consider whether our previous description has the stamp
of the good or
of the evil?
[Glaucon] By all means.
[Socrates] Can there be any greater evil than discord and
where unity ought to reign? or any greater good than the bond
[Glaucon] There cannot.
[Socrates] And there is unity where there is community of
pains - where
all the citizens are glad or grieved on the same occasions of
[Glaucon] No doubt.
[Socrates] Yes; and where there is no common but only
private feeling a
disorganised - when you have one-half of the world triumphing
and the other
plunged in grief at the same events happening to the city or
[Socrates] Such differences commonly originate in a
the use of
the terms "mine" and "not mine," "his" and "not his."
[Glaucon] Exactly so.
[Socrates] And is not that the best-ordered State in which
persons apply the terms "mine" and "not mine" in the same way
to the same
[Glaucon] Quite true.
[Socrates] Or that again which most nearly approaches to
individual - as in the body, when but a finger of one of us is
whole frame, drawn toward the soul as a centre and forming one
under the ruling power therein, feels the hurt and sympathizes
with the part affected, and we say that the man has a pain in
and the same expression is used about any other part of the
body, which has
a sensation of pain at suffering or of pleasure at the
[Glaucon] Very true, he replied; and I agree with you that
in the best
State there is the nearest approach to this common feeling
[Socrates] Then when any one of the citizens experiences
any good or
whole State will make his case their own, and will either
rejoice or sorrow
[Glaucon] Yes, he said, that is what will happen in a
[Socrates] It will now be time, I said, for us to return to
whether this or some other form is most in accordance with
[Glaucon] Very good.
[Socrates] Our State, like every other, has rulers and
[Socrates] All of whom will call one another citizens?
[Glaucon] Of course.
[Socrates] But is there not another name which people give
rulers in other
[Glaucon] Generally they call them masters, but in
call them rulers.
[Socrates] And in our State what other name besides that of
give the rulers?
[Glaucon] They are called saviours and helpers, he replied.
[Socrates] And what do the rulers call the people?
[Glaucon] Their maintainers and foster-fathers.
[Socrates] And what do they call them in other States?
[Socrates] And what do the rulers call one another in other
[Socrates] And what in ours?
[Socrates] Did you ever know an example in any other State
of a ruler
speak of one of his colleagues as his friend and of another as
[Glaucon] Yes, very often.
[Socrates] And the friend he regards and describes as one
in whom he has
interest, and the other as a stranger in whom he has no
[Socrates] But would any of your guardians think or speak
of any other
[Glaucon] Certainly he would not; for everyone whom they
meet will be
them either as a brother or sister, or father or mother, or
daughter, or as the child or parent of those who are thus
[Socrates] Capital, I said; but let me ask you once more:
Shall they be
a family in
name only; or shall they in all their actions be true to the
example, in the use of the word "father," would the care of a
implied and the filial reverence and duty and obedience to him
law commands; and is the violator of these duties to be
regarded as an
impious and unrighteous person who is not likely to receive
either at the hands of God or of man? Are these to be or not
to be the
strains which the children will hear repeated in their ears by
citizens about those who are intimated to them to be their
parents and the
rest of their kinsfolk?
[Glaucon] These, he said, and none other; for what can be
ridiculous than for
them to utter the names of family ties with the lips only and
not to act in
the spirit of them?
[Socrates] Then in our city the language of harmony and
concord will be
heard than in any other. As I was describing before, when
anyone is well or
ill, the universal word will be "with me it is well" or "it is
[Glaucon] Most true.
[Socrates] And agreeably to this mode of thinking and
speaking, were we
that they will have their pleasures and pains in common?
[Glaucon] Yes, and so they will.
[Socrates] And they will have a common interest in the same
alike call "my own," and having this common interest they will
common feeling of pleasure and pain?
[Glaucon] Yes, far more so than in other States.
[Socrates] And the reason of this, over and above the
constitution of the
State, will be that the guardians will have a community of
[Glaucon] That will be the chief reason.
[Socrates] And this unity of feeling we admitted to be the
good, as was
implied in our comparison of a well-ordered State to the
relation of the
body and the members, when affected by pleasure or pain?
[Glaucon] That we acknowledged, and very rightly.
[Socrates] Then the community of wives and children among
the source of the greatest good to the State?
[Socrates] And this agrees with the other principle which
affirming - that
the guardians were not to have houses or lands or any other
pay was to be their food, which they were to receive from the
citizens, and they were to have no private expenses; for we
to preserve their true character of guardians.
[Glaucon] Right, he replied.
[Socrates] Both the community of property and the community
as I am
saying, tend to make them more truly guardians; they will not
tear the city
in pieces by differing about "mine" and "not mine;" each man
acquisition which he has made into a separate house of his
own, where he
has a separate wife and children and private pleasures and
pains; but all
will be affected as far as may be by the same pleasures and
they are all of one opinion about what is near and dear to
therefore they all tend toward a common end.
[Glaucon] Certainly, he replied.
[Socrates] And as they have nothing but their persons which
own, suits and complaints will have no existence among them;
they will be
delivered from all those quarrels of which money or children
are the occasion.
[Glaucon] Of course they will.
[Socrates] Neither will trials for assault or insult ever
be likely to
them. For that equals should defend themselves against equals
maintain to be honourable and right; we shall make the
protection of the
person a matter of necessity.
[Glaucon] That is good, he said.
[Socrates] Yes; and there is a further good in the law;
viz., that if a
man has a
quarrel with another he will satisfy his resentment then and
there, and not
proceed to more dangerous lengths.
[Socrates] To the elder shall be assigned the duty of
[Socrates] Nor can there be a doubt that the younger will
not strike or
other violence to an elder, unless the magistrates command
him; nor will he
slight him in any way. For there are two guardians, shame and
to prevent him: shame, which makes men refrain from laying
hands on those
who are to them in the relation of parents; fear, that the
injured one will
be succoured by the others who are his brothers, sons,
[Glaucon] That is true, he replied.
[Socrates] Then in every way the laws will help the
citizens to keep the
[Glaucon] Yes, there will be no want of peace.
[Socrates] And as the guardians will never quarrel among
there will be
no danger of the rest of the city being divided either against
against one another.
[Glaucon] None whatever.
[Socrates] I hardly like even to mention the little
meannesses of which
be rid, for they are beneath notice: such, for example, as the
the rich by the poor, and all the pains and pangs which men
bringing up a family, and in finding money to buy necessaries
household, borrowing and then repudiating, getting how they
can, and giving
the money into the hands of women and slaves to keep - the
many evils of
many kinds which people suffer in this way are mean enough and
enough, and not worth speaking of.
[Glaucon] Yes, he said, a man has no need of eyes in order
[Socrates] And from all these evils they will be delivered,
life will be
blessed as the life of Olympic victors and yet more blessed.
[Glaucon] How so?
[Socrates] The Olympic victor, I said, is deemed happy in
part only of
the blessedness which is secured to our citizens, who have won
glorious victory and have a more complete maintenance at the
For the victory which they have won is the salvation of the
and the crown with which they and their children are crowned
fullness of all that life needs; they receive rewards from the
their country while living, and after death have an honourable
Do you remember, I said, how in the course of the previous
someone who shall be nameless accused us of making our
unhappy - they had nothing and might have possessed all things
- to whom we
replied that, if an occasion offered, we might perhaps
this question, but that, as at present divided, we would make
truly guardians, and that we were fashioning the State with a
view to the
greatest happiness, not of any particular class, but of the
[Glaucon] Yes, I remember.
[Socrates] And what do you say, now that the life of our
made out to
be far better and nobler than that of Olympic victors - is the
shoemakers, or any other artisans, or of husbandmen, to be
[Glaucon] Certainly not.
[Socrates] At the same time I ought here to repeat what I
if any of our guardians shall try to be happy in such a manner
that he will
cease to be a guardian, and is not content with this safe and
life, which, in our judgment, is of all lives the best, but,
some youthful conceit of happiness which gets up into his head
to appropriate the whole State to himself, then he will have
to learn how
wisely Hesiod spoke, when he said, "half is more than the
[Glaucon] If he were to consult me, I should say to him:
Stay where you
you have the offer of such a life.
[Socrates] You agree then, I said, that men and women are
to have a
common way of
life such as we have described - common education, common
are to watch over the citizens in common whether abiding in
the city or
going out to war; they are to keep watch together, and to hunt
like dogs; and always and in all things, as far as they are
able, women are
to share with the men? And in so doing they will do what is
best, and will
not violate, but preserve, the natural relation of the sexes.
[Glaucon] I agree with you, he replied.
[Socrates] The inquiry, I said, has yet to be made, whether
be found possible - as among other animals, so also among men
- and if
possible, in what way possible?
[Glaucon] You have anticipated the question which I was
[Socrates] There is no difficulty, I said, in seeing how
war will be
carried on by
[Socrates] Why, of course they will go on expeditions
together; and will
them any of their children who are strong enough, that, after
the manner of
the artisan's child, they may look on at the work which they
will have to
do when they are grown up; and besides looking on they will
have to help
and be of use in war, and to wait upon their fathers and
mothers. Did you
never observe in the arts how the potters' boys look on and
before they touch the wheel?
[Glaucon] Yes, I have.
[Socrates] And shall potters be more careful in educating
giving them the opportunity of seeing and practising their
duties than our
guardians will be?
[Glaucon] The idea is ridiculous, he said.
[Socrates] There is also the effect on the parents, with
whom, as with
animals, the presence of their young ones will be the greatest
[Glaucon] That is quite true, Socrates; and yet if they are
often happen in war, how great the danger is! the children
will be lost as
well as their parents, and the State will never recover.
[Socrates] True, I said; but would you never allow them to
run any risk?
[Glaucon] I am far from saying that.
[Socrates] Well, but if they are ever to run a risk should
they not do
so on some
occasion when, if they escape disaster, they will be the
better for it?
[Socrates] Whether the future soldiers do or do not see war
in the days
youth is a very important matter, for the sake of which some
fairly be incurred.
[Glaucon] Yes, very important.
[Socrates] This then must be our first step - to make our
spectators of war;
but we must also contrive that they shall be se cured against
all will be well.
[Socrates] Their parents may be supposed not to be blind to
the risks of
to know, as far as human foresight can, what expeditions are
safe and what
[Glaucon] That may be assumed.
[Socrates] And they will take them on the safe expeditions
the dangerous ones?
[Socrates] And they will place them under the command of
will be their leaders and teachers?
[Glaucon] Very properly.
[Socrates] Still, the dangers of war cannot be always
foreseen; there is
deal of chance about them?
[Socrates] Then against such chances the children must be
wings, in order that in the hour of need they may fly away and
[Glaucon] What do you mean? he said.
[Socrates] I mean that we must mount them on horses in
when they have learnt to ride, take them on horse back to see
horses must not be spirited and warlike, but the most
tractable and yet the
swiftest that can be had. In this way they will get an
excellent view of
what is hereafter to be their own business; and if there is
have only to follow their elder leaders and escape.
[Glaucon] I believe that you are right, he said.
[Socrates] Next, as to war; what are to be the relations of
soldiers to one
another and to their enemies? I should be inclined to propose
soldier who leaves his rank or throws away his arms, or is
guilty of any
other act of cowardice, should be degraded into the rank of a
artisan. What do you think?
[Glaucon] By all means, I should say.
[Socrates] And he who allows himself to be taken prisoner
may as well be
present of to his enemies; he is their lawful prey, and let
them do what
they like with him.
[Socrates] But the hero who has distinguished himself, what
done to him?
In the first place, he shall receive honour in the army from
comrades; every one of them in succession shall crown him.
What do you say?
[Glaucon] I approve.
[Socrates] And what do you say to his receiving the right
[Glaucon] To that too, I agree.
[Socrates] But you will hardly agree to my next proposal.
[Glaucon] What is your proposal?
[Socrates] That he should kiss and be kissed by them.
[Glaucon] Most certainly, and I should be disposed to go
say: Let no one whom he has a mind to kiss refuse to be kissed
by him while
the expedition lasts. So that if there be a lover in the army,
love be youth or maiden, he may be more eager to win the prize
[Socrates] Capital, I said. That the brave man is to have
has been already determined: and he is to have first choices
matters more than others, in order that he may have as many
[Socrates] Again, there is another manner in which,
according to Homer,
youths should be honoured; for he tells how Ajax, after he had
distinguished himself in battle, was re warded with long
seems to be a compliment appropriate to a hero in the flower
of his age,
being not only a tribute of honour but also a very
[Glaucon] Most true, he said.
[Socrates] Then in this, I said, Homer shall be our
teacher; and we too,
at sacrifices and on the like occasions, will honour the brave
the measure of their valour, whether men or women, with hymns
other distinctions which we were mentioning; also with
"seats of precedence, and meats and full cups;"
and in honouring them, we shall be at the same time training
[Glaucon] That, he replied, is excellent.
[Socrates] Yes, I said; and when a man dies gloriously in
war shall we
not say, in
the first place, that he is of the golden race?
[Glaucon] To be sure.
[Socrates] Nay, have we not the authority of Hesiod for
when they are dead
"They are holy angels upon the earth, authors of good,
the guardians of speech-gifted men"?
[Glaucon] Yes; and we accept his authority.
[Socrates] We must learn of the god how we are to order the
heroic personages, and what is to be their special
distinction; and we must
do as he bids?
[Glaucon] By all means.
[Socrates] And in ages to come we will reverence them and
sepulchres as at the graves of heroes. And not only they but
any who are
deemed pre-eminently good, whether they die from age or in any
shall be admitted to the same honours.
[Glaucon] That is very right, he said.
[Socrates] Next, how shall our soldiers treat their
enemies? What about
[Glaucon] In what respect do you mean?
[Socrates] First of all, in regard to slavery? Do you think
should enslave Hellenic States, or allow others to en slave
them, if they
can help? Should not their custom be to spare them,
considering the danger
which there is that the whole race may one day fall under the
yoke of the
[Glaucon] To spare them is infinitely better.
[Socrates] Then no Hellene should be owned by them as a
slave; that is a
they will observe and advise the other Hellenes to observe.
[Glaucon] Certainly, he said; they will in this way be
barbarians and will keep their hands off one another.
[Socrates] Next as to the slain; ought the conquerors, I
said, to take
their armour? Does not the practice of despoiling an enemy
afford an excuse
for not facing the battle? Cowards skulk about the dead,
they are fulfilling a duty, and many an army before now has
been lost from
this love of plunder.
[Glaucon] Very true.
[Socrates] And is there not illiberality and avarice in
corpse, and also
a degree of meanness and womanishness in making an enemy of
the dead body
when the real enemy has flown away and left only his fighting
him - is not this rather like a dog who cannot get at his
quarrelling with the stones which strike him instead?
[Glaucon] Very like a dog, he said.
[Socrates] Then we must abstain from spoiling the dead or
[Glaucon] Yes, he replied, we most certainly must.
[Socrates] Neither shall we offer up arms at the temples of
least of all
the arms of Hellenes, if we care to maintain good feeling with
Hellenes; and, indeed, we have reason to fear that the
offering of spoils
taken from kinsmen may be a pollution unless commanded by the
[Glaucon] Very true.
[Socrates] Again, as to the devastation of Hellenic
territory or the
houses, what is to be the practice?
[Glaucon] May I have the pleasure, he said, of hearing your
[Socrates] Both should be forbidden, in my judgment; I
would take the
produce and no more. Shall I tell you why?
[Glaucon] Pray do.
[Socrates] Why, you see, there is a difference in the names
and I imagine that there is also a difference in their
natures; the one is
expressive of what is internal and domestic, the other of what
and foreign; and the first of the two is termed discord, and
[Glaucon] That is a very proper distinction, he replied.
[Socrates] And may I not observe with equal propriety that
race is all
united together by ties of blood and friendship, and alien and
[Glaucon] Very good, he said.
[Socrates] And therefore when Hellenes fight with
Hellenes, they will be described by us as being at war when
they fight, and
by nature enemies, and this kind of antagonism should be
called war; but
when Hellenes fight with one another we shall say that Hellas
is then in a
state of disorder and discord, they being by nature friends;
enmity is to be called discord.
[Glaucon] I agree.
[Socrates] Consider then, I said, when that which we have
discord occurs, and a city is divided, if both parties destroy
and burn the houses of one another, how wicked does the strife
true lover of his country would bring himself to tear in
pieces his own
nurse and mother: There might be reason in the conqueror
conquered of their harvest, but still they would have the idea
of peace in
their hearts, and would not mean to go on fighting forever.
[Glaucon] Yes, he said, that is a better temper than the
[Socrates] And will not the city, which you are founding,
be an Hellenic
[Glaucon] It ought to be, he replied.
[Socrates] Then will not the citizens be good and
[Glaucon] Yes, very civilized.
[Socrates] And will they not be lovers of Hellas, and think
of Hellas as
land, and share in the common temples?
[Glaucon] Most certainly.
[Socrates] And any difference which arises among them will be
them as discord only - a quarrel among friends, which is not
to be called a
[Glaucon] Certainly not.
[Socrates] Then they will quarrel as those who intend some
day to be
[Socrates] They will use friendly correction, but will not
opponents; they will be correctors, not enemies?
[Glaucon] Just so.
[Socrates] And as they are Hellenes themselves they will
will they burn houses, nor ever suppose that the whole
population of a
city - men, women, and children - are equally their enemies,
for they know
the guilt of war is always confined to a few persons and that
the many are
their friends. And for all these reasons they will be
unwilling to waste
their lands and raze their houses; their enmity to them will
until the many innocent sufferers have compelled the guilty
few to give
[Glaucon] I agree, he said, that our citizens should thus
enemies; and with barbarians as the Hellenes now deal with one
[Socrates] Then let us enact this law also for our
guardians: that they
to devastate the lands of Hellenes nor to burn their houses.
[Glaucon] Agreed; and we may agree also in thinking that
these, like all
our previous enactments, are very good.
But still I must say, Socrates, that if you are allowed to go
on in this
way you will entirely forget the other question which at the
of this discussion you thrust aside: Is such an order of
and how, if at all? For I am quite ready to acknowledge that
the plan which
you propose, if only feasible, would do all sorts of good to
the State. I
will add, what you have omitted, that your citizens will be
the bravest of
warriors, and will never leave their ranks, for they will all
another, and each will call the other father, brother, son;
and if you
suppose the women to join their armies, whether in the same
rank or in the
rear, either as a terror to the enemy, or as auxiliaries in
case of need, I
know that they will then be absolutely invincible; and there
domestic advantages which might also be mentioned and which I
acknowledge: but, as I admit all these advantages and as many
more as you
please, if only this State of yours were to come into
existence, we need
say no more about them; assuming then the existence of the
State, let us
now turn to the question of possibility and ways and means -
the rest may
If I loiter for a moment, you instantly make a raid upon me, I
have no mercy; I have hardly escaped the first and second
waves, and you
seem not to be aware that you are now bringing upon me the
third, which is
the greatest and heaviest. When you have seen and heard the
third wave, I
think you will be more considerate and will acknowledge that
some fear and
hesitation were natural respecting a proposal so extraordinary
which I have now to state and investigate.
[Glaucon] The more appeals of this sort which you make, he
determined are we that you shall tell us how such a State is
speak out and at once.
[Socrates] Let me begin by reminding you that we found our
way hither in
after justice and injustice.
[Glaucon] True, he replied; but what of that?
[Socrates] I was only going to ask whether, if we have
we are to
require that the just man should in nothing fail of absolute
may we be satisfied with an approximation, and the attainment
in him of a
higher degree of justice than is to be found in other men?
[Glaucon] The approximation will be enough.
[Socrates] We were inquiring into the nature of absolute
character of the perfectly just, and into injustice and the
unjust, that we might have an ideal. We were to look at these
in order that
we might judge of our own happiness and unhappiness according
standard which they exhibited and the degree in which we
but not with any view of showing that they could exist in
[Glaucon] True, he said.
[Socrates] Would a painter be any the worse because, after
consummate art an ideal of a perfectly beautiful man, he was
unable to show
that any such man could ever have existed?
[Glaucon] He would be none the worse.
[Socrates] Well, and were we not creating an ideal of a
[Glaucon] To be sure.
[Socrates] And is our theory a worse theory because we are
possibility of a city being ordered in the manner described?
[Glaucon] Surely not, he replied.
[Socrates] That is the truth, I said. But if, at your
request, I am to
try and show
how and under what conditions the possibility is highest, I
must ask you,
having this in view, to repeat your former admissions.
[Glaucon] What admissions?
[Socrates] I want to know whether ideals are ever fully
Does not the word express more than the fact, and must not the
whatever a man may think, always, in the nature of things,
fall short of
the truth? What do you say?
[Glaucon] I agree.
[Socrates] Then you must not insist on my proving that the
will in every respect coincide with the ideal: if we are only
discover how a city may be governed nearly as we proposed,
you will admit
that we have discovered the possibility which you demand; and
contented. I am sure that I should be contented - will not
[Glaucon] Yes, I will.
[Socrates] Let me next endeavour to show what is that fault
which is the cause of their present maladministration, and
what is the
least change which will enable a State to pass into the truer
form; and let
the change, if possible, be of one thing only, or, if not, of
two; at any
rate, let the changes be as few and slight as possible.
[Glaucon] Certainly, he replied.
[Socrates] I think, I said, that there might be a reform of
the State if
only one change were made, which is not a slight or easy
though still a
[Glaucon] What is it? he said.
[Socrates] Now then, I said, I go to meet that which I
liken to the
greatest of the waves; yet shall the word be spoken, even
though the wave
break and drown me in laughter and dishonour; and do you mark
"Until philosophers are kings, or the kings
and princes of this world have the spirit and power of
political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner
pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to
cities will never have rest from their evils - no, nor the
human race, as I
believe - and then only will this our State have a possibility
of life and
behold the light of day."
Such was the thought, my dear Glaucon, which I
would fain have uttered if it had not seemed too extravagant;
for to be
convinced that in no other State can there be happiness
private or public
is indeed a hard thing.
[Glaucon] Socrates, what do you mean? I would have you
consider that the
which you have uttered is one at which numerous persons, and
respectable persons too, in a figure pulling off their coats
all in a
moment, and seizing any weapon that comes to hand, will run at
and main, before you know where you are, intending to do
heaven knows what;
and if you don't prepare an answer, and put yourself in
motion, you will be
"pared by their fine wits," and no mistake.
[Socrates] You got me into the scrape, I said.
[Glaucon] And I was quite right; however, I will do all I
can to get you
it; but I can only give you good-will and good advice, and,
perhaps, I may
be able to fit answers to your questions better than another -
that is all.
And now, having such an auxiliary, you must do your best to
unbelievers that you are right.
[Socrates] I ought to try, I said, since you offer me such
And I think that, if there is to be a chance of our escaping,
explain to them whom we mean when we say that philosophers are
to rule in
the State; then we shall be able to defend ourselves: There
discovered to be some natures who ought to study philosophy
and to be
leaders in the State; and others who are not born to be
are meant to be followers rather than leaders.
[Glaucon] Then now for a definition, he said.
[Socrates] Follow me, I said, and I hope that I may in some
way or other
be able to
give you a satisfactory explanation.
[Socrates] I dare say that you remember, and therefore I
need not re
mind you, that
a lover, if he is worthy of the name, ought to show his love,
not to some
one part of that which he loves, but to the whole.
[Glaucon] I really do not understand, and therefore beg of
you to assist
[Socrates] Another person, I said, might fairly reply as
you do; but a
man of pleasure like yourself ought to know that all who are
in the flower
of youth do somehow or other raise a pang or emotion in a
and are thought by him to be worthy of his affectionate
regards. Is not
this a way which you have with the fair: one has a snub nose,
praise his charming face; the hook-nose of another has, you
say, a royal
look; while he who is neither snub nor hooked has the grace of
the dark visage is manly, the fair are children of the gods;
and as to the
sweet "honey-pale," as they are called, what is the very name
invention of a lover who talks in diminutives, and is not
paleness if appearing on the cheek of youth? In a word, there
is no excuse
which you will not make, and nothing which you will not say,
in order not
to lose a single flower that blooms in the spring-time of
[Glaucon] If you make me an authority in matters of love,
for the sake
argument, I assent.
[Socrates] And what do you say of lovers of wine? Do you
not see them
same? They are glad of any pretext of drinking any wine.
[Glaucon] Very good.
[Socrates] And the same is true of ambitious men; if they
they are willing to command a file; and if they cannot be
really great and important persons, they are glad to be
honoured by lesser
and meaner people - but honour of some kind they must have.
[Socrates] Once more let me ask: Does he who desires any class
whole class or a part only?
[Glaucon] The whole.
[Socrates] And may we not say of the philosopher that he is
a lover, not
of a part
of wisdom only, but of the whole?
[Glaucon] Yes, of the whole.
[Socrates] And he who dislikes learning, especially in
youth, when he
has no power of judging what is good and what is not, such a
maintain not to be a philosopher or a lover of knowledge, just
as he who
refuses his food is not
hungry, and may be said to have a bad appetite and not a good
[Glaucon] Very true, he said.
[Socrates] Whereas he who has a taste for every sort of
curious to learn and is never satisfied, may be justly termed
philosopher? Am I not right?
Glaucon said: If curiosity makes a philosopher, you will
find many a
strange being will have a title to the name. All the lovers of
a delight in learning, and must therefore be included. Musical
too, are a folk strangely out of place among philosophers, for
they are the
last persons in the world who would come to anything like a
discussion, if they could help, while they run about at the
festivals as if they had let out their ears to hear every
the performance is in town or country - that makes no
difference - they are
there. Now are we to maintain that all these and any who have
tastes, as well as the professors of quite minor arts, are
[Socrates] Certainly not, I replied; they are only an
[Glaucon] He said: Who then are the true philosophers?
[Socrates] Those, I said, who are lovers of the vision of
[Glaucon] That is also good, he said; but I should like to
know what you
[Socrates] To another, I replied, I might have a difficulty
explaining; but I am
sure that you will admit a proposition which I am about to
[Glaucon] What is the proposition?
[Socrates] That since beauty is the opposite of ugliness,
they are two?
[Socrates] And inasmuch as they are two, each of them is
[Glaucon] True again.
[Socrates] And of just and unjust, good and evil, and of
same remark holds: taken singly, each of them is one; but from
combinations of them with actions and things and with one
another, they are
seen in all sorts of lights and appear many? Very true.
[Socrates] And this is the distinction which I draw between
art-loving, practical class and those of whom I am speaking,
and who are
alone worthy of the name of philosophers.
[Glaucon] How do you distinguish them? he said.
[Socrates] The lovers of sounds and sights, I replied, are,
conceive, fond of
fine tones and colours and forms and all the artificial
products that are
made out of them, but their minds are incapable of seeing or
[Glaucon] True, he replied.
[Socrates] Few are they who are able to attain to the sight
[Glaucon] Very true.
[Socrates] And he who, having a sense of beautiful things
has no sense
beauty, or who, if another lead him to a knowledge of that
beauty is unable
to follow - of such a one I ask, Is he awake or in a dream
not the dreamer, sleeping or waking, one who likens dissimilar
puts the copy in the place of the real object?
[Glaucon] I should certainly say that such a one was
[Socrates] But take the case of the other, who recognizes
beauty and is able to distinguish the idea from the objects
participate in the idea, neither putting the objects in the
place of the
idea nor the idea in the place of the objects - is he a
dreamer, or is he
[Glaucon] He is wide awake.
[Socrates] And may we not say that the mind of the one who
knowledge, and that the mind of the other, who opines only,
[Socrates] But suppose that the latter should quarrel with
statement, can we administer any soothing cordial or advice to
revealing to him that there is sad disorder in his wits?
[Glaucon] We must certainly offer him some good advice, he
[Socrates] Come, then, and let us think of something to say
Shall we begin
by assuring him that he is welcome to any knowledge which he
may have, and
that we are rejoiced at his having it? But we should like to
ask him a
question: Does he who has knowledge know something or nothing?
answer for him).
[Glaucon] I answer that he knows something.
[Socrates] Something that is or is not?
[Glaucon] Something that is; for how can that which is not
[Socrates] And are we assured, after looking at the matter
view, that absolute being is or may be absolutely known, but
utterly non-existent is utterly unknown?
[Glaucon] Nothing can be more certain.
[Socrates] Good. But if there be anything which is of such
a nature as
to be and not to be, that will have a place intermediate
between pure being
and the absolute negation of being?
[Glaucon] Yes, between them.
[Socrates] And, as knowledge corresponded to being and
not-being, for that intermediate between being and not-being
there has to
be discovered a corresponding intermediate between ignorance
if there be such?
[Socrates] Do we admit the existence of opinion?
[Socrates] As being the same with knowledge, or another
[Glaucon] Another faculty.
[Socrates] Then opinion and knowledge have to do with
different kinds of
corresponding to this difference of faculties?
[Socrates] And knowledge is relative to being and knows
before I proceed
further I will make a division.
[Glaucon] What division?
[Socrates] I will begin by placing faculties in a class by
powers in us, and in all other things, by which we do as we
do. Sight and
hearing, for example, I should call faculties. Have I clearly
class which I mean?
[Glaucon] Yes, I quite understand.
[Socrates] Then let me tell you my view about them. I do
not see them,
therefore the distinctions of figure, colour, and the like,
which enable me
to discern the differences of some things, do not apply to
speaking of a faculty I think only of its sphere and its
result; and that
which has the same sphere and the same result I call the same
that which has another sphere and another result I call
that be your way of speaking?
[Socrates] And will you be so very good as to answer one
say that knowledge is a faculty, or in what class would you
[Glaucon] Certainly knowledge is a faculty, and the
mightiest of all
[Socrates] And is opinion also a faculty?
[Glaucon] Certainly, he said; for opinion is that with
which we are able
[Socrates] And yet you were acknowledging a little while
knowledge is not
the same as opinion?
[Glaucon] Why, yes, he said: how can any reasonable being
is infallible with that which errs?
[Socrates] An excellent answer, proving, I said, that we
conscious of a
distinction between them.
[Socrates] Then knowledge and opinion having distinct
powers have also
spheres or subject-matters?
[Glaucon] That is certain.
[Socrates] Being is the sphere or subject-matter of
knowledge is to
know the nature of being?
[Socrates] And opinion is to have an opinion?
[Socrates] And do we know what we opine? or is the
same as the subject-matter of knowledge?
[Glaucon] Nay, he replied, that has been already disproven;
faculty implies difference in the sphere or subject-matter,
and if, as we
were saying, opinion and knowledge are distinct faculties,
then the sphere
of knowledge and of opinion cannot be the same.
[Socrates] Then if being is the subject-matter of
else must be
the subject-matter of opinion?
[Glaucon] Yes, something else.
[Socrates] Well, then, is not-being the subject-matter of
opinion? or, rather, how can there be an opinion at all about
Reflect: when a man has an opinion, has he not an opinion
Can he have an opinion which is an opinion about nothing?
[Socrates] He who has an opinion has an opinion about some
[Socrates] And not-being is not one thing, but, properly
[Socrates] Of not-being, ignorance was assumed to be the
correlative; of being, knowledge?
[Glaucon] True, he said.
[Socrates] Then opinion is not concerned either with being
[Glaucon] Not with either.
[Socrates] And can therefore neither be ignorance nor
[Glaucon] That seems to be true.
[Socrates] But is opinion to be sought without and beyond
them, in a
greater clearness than knowledge, or in a greater darkness
[Glaucon] In neither.
[Socrates] Then I suppose that opinion appears to you to be
but lighter than ignorance?
[Glaucon] Both; and in no small degree.
[Socrates] And also to be within and between them?
[Socrates] Then you would infer that opinion is
[Glaucon] No question.
[Socrates] But were we not saying before, that if anything
be of a sort
which is and is not at the same time, that sort of thing would
to lie in the interval between pure being and absolute
not-being; and that
the corresponding faculty is neither knowledge nor ignorance,
but will be
found in the interval between them?
[Socrates] And in that interval there has now been
discovered some thing
[Glaucon] There has.
[Socrates] Then what remains to be discovered is the object
of the nature of being and not-being, and cannot rightly be
pure and simple; this unknown term, when discovered, we may
truly call the
subject of opinion, and assign each to their proper faculty -
to the faculties of the extremes and the mean to the faculty
of the mean.
[Socrates] This being premised, I would ask the gentleman
who is of
there is no absolute or unchangeable idea of beauty - in
whose opinion the
beautiful is the manifold - he, I say, your lover of beautiful
cannot bear to be told that the beautiful is one, and the just
is one, or
that anything is one - to him I would appeal, saying, Will you
be so very
kind, sir, as to tell us whether, of all these beautiful
things, there is
one which will not be found ugly; or of the just, which will
not be found
unjust; or of the holy, which will not also be unholy?
[Glaucon] No, he replied; the beautiful will in some point
of view be
found ugly; and the same is true of the rest.
[Socrates] And may not the many which are doubles be also
is, of one thing, and halves of another?
[Glaucon] Quite true.
[Socrates] And things great and small, heavy and light, as
not be denoted by these any more than by the opposite names?
[Glaucon] True; both these and the opposite names will
always attach to
[Socrates] And can any one of those many things which are
names be said to be this rather than not to be this?
[Glaucon] He replied: They are like the punning riddles
which are asked
or the children's puzzle about the eunuch aiming at the bat,
with what he
hit him, as they say in the puzzle, and upon what the bat was
individual objects of which I am speaking are also a riddle,
and have a
double sense: nor can you fix them in your mind, either as
not-being, or both, or neither.
[Socrates] Then what will you do with them? I said. Can
they have a
than between being and not-being? For they are clearly not in
darkness or negation than not-being, or more full of light and
[Glaucon] That is quite true, he said.
[Socrates] Thus then we seem to have discovered that the
multitude entertain about the beautiful and about all other
tossing about in some region which is half way between pure
being and pure
[Glaucon] We have.
[Socrates] Yes; and we had before agreed that anything of
which we might
find was to be described as matter of opinion, and not as
knowledge; being the intermediate flux which is caught and
detained by the
[Glaucon] Quite true.
[Socrates] Then those who see the many beautiful, and who
beauty, nor can follow any guide who points the way thither;
who see the
many just, and not absolute justice, and the like - such
persons may be
to have opinion but not knowledge?
[Glaucon] That is certain.
[Socrates] But those who see the absolute and eternal and
be said to
know, and not to have opinion only?
[Glaucon] Neither can that be denied.
[Socrates] The one love and embrace the subjects of
knowledge, the other
opinion? The latter are the same, as I dare say you will
listened to sweet sounds and gazed upon fair colours, but
tolerate the existence of absolute beauty.
[Glaucon] Yes, I remember.
[Socrates] Shall we then be guilty of any impropriety in
opinion rather than lovers of wisdom, and will they be very
angry with us
for thus describing them?
[Glaucon] I shall tell them not to be angry; no man should
be angry at
[Socrates] But those who love the truth in each thing are
to be called
wisdom and not lovers of opinion.