republic (books 6 - 10)
Consider the soul in like manner. Does the injustice or
other evil which exists in the soul waste and consume her?
Do they by attaching to the soul and inhering in her at last
bring her to death, and so separate her from the body?
And yet, I said, it is unreasonable to suppose that anything
can perish from without through affection of external evil
which could not be destroyed from within by a corruption of
It is, he replied.
Consider, I said, Glaucon, that even the badness of food,
whether staleness, decomposition, or any other bad quality,
when confined to the actual food, is not supposed to destroy
the body; although, if the badness of food communicates cor-
ruption to the body, then we should say that the body has been
destroyed by a corruption of itself, which is disease, brought
on by this; but that the body, being one thing, can be destroyed
by the badness of the food, which is another, and which does
not engender any natural infection--this we shall absolutely
And, on the same principle, unless some bodily evil can pro-
duce an evil of the soul, we must not suppose that the soul,
which is one thing, can be dissolved by any merely external
evil which belongs to another?
Yes, he said, there is reason in that.
Either, then, let us refute this conclusion, or, while it remains
unrefuted, let us never say that fever, or any other disease, or
the knife put to the throat, or even the cutting up of the whole
body into the minutest pieces, can destroy the soul, until she
herself is proved to become more unholy or unrighteous in con-
sequence of these things being done to the body; but that the
soul, or anything else if not destroyed by an internal evil, can
be destroyed by an external one, is not to be affirmed by any
And surely, he replied, no one will ever prove that the souls
of men become more unjust in consequence of death.
But if someone who would rather not admit the immortality
of the soul boldly denies this, and says that the dying do really
become more evil and unrighteous, then, if the speaker is right,
I suppose that injustice, like disease, must be assumed to be
fatal to the unjust, and that those who take this disorder die by
the natural inherent power of destruction which evil has, and
which kills them sooner or later, but in quite another way from
that in which, at present, the wicked receive death at the hands
of others as the penalty of their deeds?
Nay, he said, in that case injustice, if fatal to the unjust, will
not be so very terrible to him, for he will be delivered from evil.
But I rather suspect the opposite to be the truth, and that in-
justice which, if it have the power, will murder others, keeps
the murderer alive--aye, and well awake, too; so far removed