republic (books 6 - 10)
freemen desire to see, but he lives in his hole like a woman
hidden in the house, and is jealous of any other citizen who
goes into foreign parts and sees anything of interest.
Very true, he said.
And amid evils such as these will not he who is ill-governed
in his own person--the tyrannical man, I mean--whom you
just now decided to be the most miserable of all--will not
he be yet more miserable when, instead of leading a private
life, he is constrained by fortune to be a public tyrant? He
has to be master of others when he is not master of himself:
he is like a diseased or paralytic man who is compelled to pass
his life, not in retirement, but fighting and combating with
Yes, he said, the similitude is most exact.
Is not his case utterly miserable? and does not the actual
tyrant lead a worse life than he whose life you determined to
be the worst?
He who is the real tyrant, whatever men may think, is the
real slave, and is obliged to practise the greatest adulation
and servility, and to be the flatterer of the vilest of mankind.
He has desires which he is utterly unable to satisfy, and has
more wants than anyone, and is truly poor, if you know how
to inspect the whole soul of him: all his life long he is beset
with fear and is full of convulsions and distractions, even as
the State which he resembles: and surely the resemblance
Very true, he said.
Moreover, as we were saying before, he grows worse from
having power: he becomes and is of necessity more jealous,
more faithless, more unjust, more friendless, more impious,
than he was at first; he is the purveyor and cherisher of
every sort of vice, and the consequence is that he is supremely
miserable, and that he makes everybody else as miserable as
No man of any sense will dispute your words.
Come, then, I said, and as the general umpire in theatrical
contests proclaims the result, do you also decide who in your
opinion is first in the scale of happiness, and who second, and
in what order the others follow: there are five of them in all
--they are the royal, timocratical, oligarchical, democratical,
The decision will be easily given, he replied; they shall be
choruses coming on the stage, and I must judge them in the
order in which they enter, by the criterion of virtue and vice,
happiness and misery.
Need we hire a herald, or shall I announce that the son
of Ariston (the best) has decided that the best and justest
is also the happiest, and that this is he who is the most royal
man and king over himself; and that the worst and most un-
just man is also the most miserable, and that this is he who
being the greatest tyrant of himself is also the greatest tyrant
of his State?