republic (books 6 - 10)
Has not the intemperate been censured of old, because in
him the huge multiform monster is allowed to be too much at
And men are blamed for pride and bad temper when the
lion and serpent element in them disproportionately grows and
And luxury and softness are blamed, because they relax
and weaken this same creature, and make a coward of him?
And is not a man reproached for flattery and meanness who
subordinates the spirited animal to the unruly monster, and,
for the sake of money, of which he can never have enough,
habituates him in the days of his youth to be trampled in the
mire, and from being a lion to become a monkey?
True, he said.
And why are mean employments and manual arts a re-
proach? Only because they imply a natural weakness of the
higher principle; the individual is unable to control the creat-
ures within him, but has to court them, and his great study
is how to flatter them.
Such appears to be the reason.
And therefore, being desirous of placing him under a rule
like that of the best, we say that he ought to be the servant
of the best, in whom the Divine rules; not, as Thrasymachus
supposed, to the injury of the servant, but because everyone
had better be ruled by divine wisdom dwelling within him;
or, if this be impossible, then by an external authority, in
order that we may be all, as far as possible, under the same
government, friends and equals.
True, he said.
And this is clearly seen to be the intention of the law, which
is the ally of the whole city; and is seen also in the authority
which we exercise over children, and the refusal to let them
be free until we have established in them a principle analogous
to the constitution of a State, and by cultivation of this higher
element have set up in their hearts a guardian and ruler like
our own, and when this is done they may go their ways.
Yes, he said, the purpose of the law is manifest.
From what point of view, then, and on what ground can
we say that a man is profited by injustice or intemperance or
other baseness, which will make him a worse man, even
though he acquire money or power by his wickedness?
From no point of view at all.
What shall he profit, if his injustice be undetected and un-
punished? He who is undetected only gets worse, whereas