pure and unalloyed?
That is impossible, he replied.
She is engrossed by the corporeal, which the continual association
and constant care of the body have made natural to her.
And this, my friend, may be conceived to be that heavy, weighty,
earthy element of sight by which such a soul is depressed and
dragged down again into the visible world, because she is afraid of
the invisible and of the world below-prowling about tombs and
sepulchres, in the neighborhood of which, as they tell us, are seen
certain ghostly apparitions of souls which have not departed pure, but
are cloyed with sight and therefore visible.
That is very likely, Socrates.
Yes, that is very likely, Cebes; and these must be the souls, not of
the good, but of the evil, who are compelled to wander about such
places in payment of the penalty of their former evil way of life; and
they continue to wander until the desire which haunts them is
satisfied and they are imprisoned in another body. And they may be
supposed to be fixed in the same natures which they had in their
What natures do you mean, Socrates?
I mean to say that men who have followed after gluttony, and
wantonness, and drunkenness, and have had no thought of avoiding them,
would pass into asses and animals of that sort. What do you think?
I think that exceedingly probable.
And those who have chosen the portion of injustice, and tyranny, and
violence, will pass into wolves, or into hawks and kites; whither else
can we suppose them to go?
Yes, said Cebes; that is doubtless the place of natures such as
theirs. And there is no difficulty, he said, in assigning to all of
them places answering to their several natures and propensities?
There is not, he said.