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\chapter[Jowett's Introduction][Jowett's Introduction]{Jowett's Introduction}
\markright{PLATO'S REPUBLIC}


The Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception
of the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer
approaches to modern metaphysics in the Philebus and in the Sophist;
the Politicus or Statesman is more ideal; the form and institutions
of the State are more clearly drawn out in the Laws; as works of art,
the Symposium and the Protagoras are of higher excellence. But no
other Dialogue of Plato has the same largeness of view and the same
perfection of style; no other shows an equal knowledge of the world,
or contains more of those thoughts which are new as well as old, and
not of one age only but of all. Nowhere in Plato is there a deeper
irony or a greater wealth of humor or imagery, or more dramatic power.
Nor in any other of his writings is the attempt made to interweave
life and speculation, or to connect politics with philosophy. The
Republic is the centre around which the other Dialogues may be grouped;
here philosophy reaches the highest point to which ancient thinkers
ever attained. Plato among the Greeks, like Bacon among the moderns,
was the first who conceived a method of knowledge, although neither
of them always distinguished the bare outline or form from the substance
of truth; and both of them had to be content with an abstraction of
science which was not yet realized. He was the greatest metaphysical
genius whom the world has seen; and in him, more than in any other
ancient thinker, the germs of future knowledge are contained. The
sciences of logic and psychology, which have supplied so many instruments
of thought to after-ages, are based upon the analyses of Socrates
and Plato. The principles of definition, the law of contradiction,
the fallacy of arguing in a circle, the distinction between the essence
and accidents of a thing or notion, between means and ends, between
causes and conditions; also the division of the mind into the rational,
concupiscent, and irascible elements, or of pleasures and desires
into necessary and unnecessary --these and other great forms of thought
are all of them to be found in the Republic, and were probably first
invented by Plato. The greatest of all logical truths, and the one
of which writers on philosophy are most apt to lose sight, the difference
between words and things, has been most strenuously insisted on by
him, although he has not always avoided the confusion of them in his
own writings. But he does not bind up truth in logical formulae, --logic
is still veiled in metaphysics; and the science which he imagines
to "contemplate all truth and all existence" is very unlike the doctrine
of the syllogism which Aristotle claims to have discovered.

Neither must we forget that the Republic is but the third part of
a still larger design which was to have included an ideal history
of Athens, as well as a political and physical philosophy. The fragment
of the Critias has given birth to a world-famous fiction, second only
in importance to the tale of Troy and the legend of Arthur; and is
said as a fact to have inspired some of the early navigators of the
sixteenth century. This mythical tale, of which the subject was a
history of the wars of the Athenians against the Island of Atlantis,
is supposed to be founded upon an unfinished poem of Solon, to which
it would have stood in the same relation as the writings of the logographers
to the poems of Homer. It would have told of a struggle for Liberty,
intended to represent the conflict of Persia and Hellas. We may judge
from the noble commencement of the Timaeus, from the fragment of the
Critias itself, and from the third book of the Laws, in what manner
Plato would have treated this high argument. We can only guess why
the great design was abandoned; perhaps because Plato became sensible
of some incongruity in a fictitious history, or because he had lost
his interest in it, or because advancing years forbade the completion
of it; and we may please ourselves with the fancy that had this imaginary
narrative ever been finished, we should have found Plato himself sympathizing
with the struggle for Hellenic independence, singing a hymn of triumph
over Marathon and Salamis, perhaps making the reflection of Herodotus
where he contemplates the growth of the Athenian empire--"How brave
a thing is freedom of speech, which has made the Athenians so far
exceed every other state of Hellas in greatness!" or, more probably,
attributing the victory to the ancient good order of Athens and to
the favor of Apollo and Athene. 

Again, Plato may be regarded as the "captain" ('arhchegoz') or leader
of a goodly band of followers; for in the Republic is to be found
the original of Cicero's De Republica, of St. Augustine's City of
God, of the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, and of the numerous other imaginary
States which are framed upon the same model. The extent to which Aristotle
or the Aristotelian school were indebted to him in the Politics has
been little recognized, and the recognition is the more necessary
because it is not made by Aristotle himself. The two philosophers
had more in common than they were conscious of; and probably some
elements of Plato remain still undetected in Aristotle. In English
philosophy too, many affinities may be traced, not only in the works
of the Cambridge Platonists, but in great original writers like Berkeley
or Coleridge, to Plato and his ideas. That there is a truth higher
than experience, of which the mind bears witness to herself, is a
conviction which in our own generation has been enthusiastically asserted,
and is perhaps gaining ground. Of the Greek authors who at the Renaissance
brought a new life into the world Plato has had the greatest influence.
The Republic of Plato is also the first treatise upon education, of
which the writings of Milton and Locke, Rousseau, Jean Paul, and Goethe
are the legitimate descendants. Like Dante or Bunyan, he has a revelation
of another life; like Bacon, he is profoundly impressed with the un
unity of knowledge; in the early Church he exercised a real influence
on theology, and at the Revival of Literature on politics. Even the
fragments of his words when "repeated at second-hand" have in all
ages ravished the hearts of men, who have seen reflected in them their
own higher nature. He is the father of idealism in philosophy, in
politics, in literature. And many of the latest conceptions of modern
thinkers and statesmen, such as the unity of knowledge, the reign
of law, and the equality of the sexes, have been anticipated in a
dream by him. 

Argument 

The argument of the Republic is the search after Justice, the nature
of which is first hinted at by Cephalus, the just and blameless old
man --then discussed on the basis of proverbial morality by Socrates
and Polemarchus --then caricatured by Thrasymachus and partially explained
by Socrates --reduced to an abstraction by Glaucon and Adeimantus,
and having become invisible in the individual reappears at length
in the ideal State which is constructed by Socrates. The first care
of the rulers is to be education, of which an outline is drawn after
the old Hellenic model, providing only for an improved religion and
morality, and more simplicity in music and gymnastic, a manlier strain
of poetry, and greater harmony of the individual and the State. We
are thus led on to the conception of a higher State, in which "no
man calls anything his own," and in which there is neither "marrying
nor giving in marriage," and "kings are philosophers" and "philosophers
are kings;" and there is another and higher education, intellectual
as well as moral and religious, of science as well as of art, and
not of youth only but of the whole of life. Such a State is hardly
to be realized in this world and would quickly degenerate. To the
perfect ideal succeeds the government of the soldier and the lover
of honor, this again declining into democracy, and democracy into
tyranny, in an imaginary but regular order having not much resemblance
to the actual facts. When "the wheel has come full circle" we do not
begin again with a new period of human life; but we have passed from
the best to the worst, and there we end. The subject is then changed
and the old quarrel of poetry and philosophy which had been more lightly
treated in the earlier books of the Republic is now resumed and fought
out to a conclusion. Poetry is discovered to be an imitation thrice
removed from the truth, and Homer, as well as the dramatic poets,
having been condemned as an imitator, is sent into banishment along
with them. And the idea of the State is supplemented by the revelation
of a future life. 

The division into books, like all similar divisions, is probably later
than the age of Plato. The natural divisions are five in number; --(1)
Book I and the first half of Book II down to the paragraph beginning,
"I had always admired the genius of Glaucon and Adeimantus," which
is introductory; the first book containing a refutation of the popular
and sophistical notions of justice, and concluding, like some of the
earlier Dialogues, without arriving at any definite result. To this
is appended a restatement of the nature of justice according to common
opinion, and an answer is demanded to the question --What is justice,
stripped of appearances? The second division (2) includes the remainder
of the second and the whole of the third and fourth books, which are
mainly occupied with the construction of the first State and the first
education. The third division (3) consists of the fifth, sixth, and
seventh books, in which philosophy rather than justice is the subject
of inquiry, and the second State is constructed on principles of communism
and ruled by philosophers, and the contemplation of the idea of good
takes the place of the social and political virtues. In the eighth
and ninth books (4) the perversions of States and of the individuals
who correspond to them are reviewed in succession; and the nature
of pleasure and the principle of tyranny are further analyzed in the
individual man. The tenth book (5) is the conclusion of the whole,
in which the relations of philosophy to poetry are finally determined,
and the happiness of the citizens in this life, which has now been
assured, is crowned by the vision of another. 

Or a more general division into two parts may be adopted; the first
(Books I - IV) containing the description of a State framed generally
in accordance with Hellenic notions of religion and morality, while
in the second (Books V - X) the Hellenic State is transformed into
an ideal kingdom of philosophy, of which all other governments are
the perversions. These two points of view are really opposed, and
the opposition is only veiled by the genius of Plato. The Republic,
like the Phaedrus, is an imperfect whole; the higher light of philosophy
breaks through the regularity of the Hellenic temple, which at last
fades away into the heavens. Whether this imperfection of structure
arises from an enlargement of the plan; or from the imperfect reconcilement
in the writer's own mind of the struggling elements of thought which
are now first brought together by him; or, perhaps, from the composition
of the work at different times --are questions, like the similar question
about the Iliad and the Odyssey, which are worth asking, but which
cannot have a distinct answer. In the age of Plato there was no regular
mode of publication, and an author would have the less scruple in
altering or adding to a work which was known only to a few of his
friends. There is no absurdity in supposing that he may have laid
his labors aside for a time, or turned from one work to another; and
such interruptions would be more likely to occur in the case of a
long than of a short writing. In all attempts to determine the chronological
he order of the Platonic writings on internal evidence, this uncertainty
about any single Dialogue being composed at one time is a disturbing
element, which must be admitted to affect longer works, such as the
Republic and the Laws, more than shorter ones. But, on the other hand,
the seeming discrepancies of the Republic may only arise out of the
discordant elements which the philosopher has attempted to unite in
a single whole, perhaps without being himself able to recognize the
inconsistency which is obvious to us. For there is a judgment of after
ages which few great writers have ever been able to anticipate for
themselves. They do not perceive the want of connection in their own
writings, or the gaps in their systems which are visible enough to
those who come after them. In the beginnings of literature and philosophy,
amid the first efforts of thought and language, more inconsistencies
occur than now, when the paths of speculation are well worn and the
meaning of words precisely defined. For consistency, too, is the growth
of time; and some of the greatest creations of the human mind have
been wanting in unity. Tried by this test, several of the Platonic
Dialogues, according to our modern ideas, appear to be defective,
but the deficiency is no proof that they were composed at different
times or by different hands. And the supposition that the Republic
was written uninterruptedly and by a continuous effort is in some
degree confirmed by the numerous references from one part of the work
to another. 

The second title, "Concerning Justice," is not the one by which the
Republic is quoted, either by Aristotle or generally in antiquity,
and, like the other second titles of the Platonic Dialogues, may therefore
be assumed to be of later date. Morgenstern and others have asked
whether the definition of justice, which is the professed aim, or
the construction of the State is the principal argument of the work.
The answer is, that the two blend in one, and are two faces of the
same truth; for justice is the order of the State, and the State is
the visible embodiment of justice under the conditions of human society.
The one is the soul and the other is the body, and the Greek ideal
of the State, as of the individual, is a fair mind in a fair body.
In Hegelian phraseology the State is the reality of which justice
is the ideal. Or, described in Christian language, the kingdom of
God is within, and yet develops into a Church or external kingdom;
"the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," is reduced
to the proportions of an earthly building. Or, to use a Platonic image,
justice and the State are the warp and the woof which run through
the whole texture. And when the constitution of the State is completed,
the conception of justice is not dismissed, but reappears under the
same or different names throughout the work, both as the inner law
of the individual soul, and finally as the principle of rewards and
punishments in another life. The virtues are based on justice, of
which common honesty in buying and selling is the shadow, and justice
is based on the idea of good, which is the harmony of the world, and
is reflected both in the institutions of States and in motions of
the heavenly bodies. The Timaeus, which takes up the political rather
than the ethical side of the Republic, and is chiefly occupied with
hypotheses concerning the outward world, yet contains many indications
that the same law is supposed to reign over the State, over nature,
and over man. 

Too much, however, has been made of this question both in ancient
and in modern times. There is a stage of criticism in which all works,
whether of nature or of art, are referred to design. Now in ancient
writings, and indeed in literature generally, there remains often
a large element which was not comprehended in the original design.
For the plan grows under the author's hand; new thoughts occur to
him in the act of writing; he has not worked out the argument to the
end before he begins. The reader who seeks to find some one idea under
which the whole may be conceived, must necessarily seize on the vaguest
and most general. Thus Stallbaum, who is dissatisfied with the ordinary
explanations of the argument of the Republic, imagines himself to
have found the true argument "in the representation of human life
in a State perfected by justice and governed according to the idea
of good." There may be some use in such general descriptions, but
they can hardly be said to express the design of the writer. The truth
is, that we may as well speak of many designs as of one; nor need
anything be excluded from the plan of a great work to which the mind
is naturally led by the association of ideas, and which does not interfere
with the general purpose. What kind or degree of unity is to be sought
after in a building, in the plastic arts, in poetry, in prose, is
a problem which has to be determined relatively to the subject-matter.
To Plato himself, the inquiry "what was the intention of the writer,"
or "what was the principal argument of the Republic" would have been
hardly intelligible, and therefore had better be at once dismissed.

Is not the Republic the vehicle of three or four great truths which,
to Plato's own mind, are most naturally represented in the form of
the State? Just as in the Jewish prophets the reign of Messiah, or
"the day of the Lord," or the suffering Servant or people of God,
or the "Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings" only convey,
to us at least, their great spiritual ideals, so through the Greek
State Plato reveals to us his own thoughts about divine perfection,
which is the idea of good --like the sun in the visible world; --about
human perfection, which is justice --about education beginning in
youth and continuing in later years --about poets and sophists and
tyrants who are the false teachers and evil rulers of mankind --about
"the world" which is the embodiment of them --about a kingdom which
exists nowhere upon earth but is laid up in heaven to be the pattern
and rule of human life. No such inspired creation is at unity with
itself, any more than the clouds of heaven when the sun pierces through
them. Every shade of light and dark, of truth, and of fiction which
is the veil of truth, is allowable in a work of philosophical imagination.
It is not all on the same plane; it easily passes from ideas to myths
and fancies, from facts to figures of speech. It is not prose but
poetry, at least a great part of it, and ought not to be judged by
the rules of logic or the probabilities of history. The writer is
not fashioning his ideas into an artistic whole; they take possession
of him and are too much for him. We have no need therefore to discuss
whether a State such as Plato has conceived is practicable or not,
or whether the outward form or the inward life came first into the
mind of the writer. For the practicability of his ideas has nothing
to do with their truth; and the highest thoughts to which he attains
may be truly said to bear the greatest "marks of design" --justice
more than the external frame-work of the State, the idea of good more
than justice. The great science of dialectic or the organization of
ideas has no real content; but is only a type of the method or spirit
in which the higher knowledge is to be pursued by the spectator of
all time and all existence. It is in the fifth, sixth, and seventh
books that Plato reaches the "summit of speculation," and these, although
they fail to satisfy the requirements of a modern thinker, may therefore
be regarded as the most important, as they are also the most original,
portions of the work. 

It is not necessary to discuss at length a minor question which has
been raised by Boeckh, respecting the imaginary date at which the
conversation was held (the year 411 B. C. which is proposed by him
will do as well as any other); for a writer of fiction, and especially
a writer who, like Plato, is notoriously careless of chronology, only
aims at general probability. Whether all the persons mentioned in
the Republic could ever have met at any one time is not a difficulty
which would have occurred to an Athenian reading the work forty years
later, or to Plato himself at the time of writing (any more than to
Shakespeare respecting one of his own dramas); and need not greatly
trouble us now. Yet this may be a question having no answer "which
is still worth asking," because the investigation shows that we can
not argue historically from the dates in Plato; it would be useless
therefore to waste time in inventing far-fetched reconcilements of
them in order avoid chronological difficulties, such, for example,
as the conjecture of C. F. Hermann, that Glaucon and Adeimantus are
not the brothers but the uncles of Plato, or the fancy of Stallbaum
that Plato intentionally left anachronisms indicating the dates at
which some of his Dialogues were written. 

Characters 

The principal characters in the Republic are Cephalus, Polemarchus,
Thrasymachus, Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Cephalus appears
in the introduction only, Polemarchus drops at the end of the first
argument, and Thrasymachus is reduced to silence at the close of the
first book. The main discussion is carried on by Socrates, Glaucon,
and Adeimantus. Among the company are Lysias (the orator) and Euthydemus,
the sons of Cephalus and brothers of Polemarchus, an unknown Charmantides
--these are mute auditors; also there is Cleitophon, who once interrupts,
where, as in the Dialogue which bears his name, he appears as the
friend and ally of Thrasymachus. 

Cephalus, the patriarch of house, has been appropriately engaged in
offering a sacrifice. He is the pattern of an old man who has almost
done with life, and is at peace with himself and with all mankind.
He feels that he is drawing nearer to the world below, and seems to
linger around the memory of the past. He is eager that Socrates should
come to visit him, fond of the poetry of the last generation, happy
in the consciousness of a well-spent life, glad at having escaped
from the tyranny of youthful lusts. His love of conversation, his
affection, his indifference to riches, even his garrulity, are interesting
traits of character. He is not one of those who have nothing to say,
because their whole mind has been absorbed in making money. Yet he
acknowledges that riches have the advantage of placing men above the
temptation to dishonesty or falsehood. The respectful attention shown
to him by Socrates, whose love of conversation, no less than the mission
imposed upon him by the Oracle, leads him to ask questions of all
men, young and old alike, should also be noted. Who better suited
to raise the question of justice than Cephalus, whose life might seem
to be the expression of it? The moderation with which old age is pictured
by Cephalus as a very tolerable portion of existence is characteristic,
not only of him, but of Greek feeling generally, and contrasts with
the exaggeration of Cicero in the De Senectute. The evening of life
is described by Plato in the most expressive manner, yet with the
fewest possible touches. As Cicero remarks (Ep. ad Attic. iv. 16),
the aged Cephalus would have been out of place in the discussion which
follows, and which he could neither have understood nor taken part
in without a violation of dramatic propriety. 

His "son and heir" Polemarchus has the frankness and impetuousness
of youth; he is for detaining Socrates by force in the opening scene,
and will not "let him off" on the subject of women and children. Like
Cephalus, he is limited in his point of view, and represents the proverbial
stage of morality which has rules of life rather than principles;
and he quotes Simonides as his father had quoted Pindar. But after
this he has no more to say; the answers which he makes are only elicited
from him by the dialectic of Socrates. He has not yet experienced
the influence of the Sophists like Glaucon and Adeimantus, nor is
he sensible of the necessity of refuting them; he belongs to the pre-Socratic
or pre-dialectical age. He is incapable of arguing, and is bewildered
by Socrates to such a degree that he does not know what he is saying.
He is made to admit that justice is a thief, and that the virtues
follow the analogy of the arts. From his brother Lysias we learn that
he fell a victim to the Thirty Tyrants, but no allusion is here made
to his fate, nor to the circumstance that Cephalus and his family
were of Syracusan origin, and had migrated from Thurii to Athens.

The "Chalcedonian giant," Thrasymachus, of whom we have already heard
in the Phaedrus, is the personification of the Sophists, according
to Plato's conception of them, in some of their worst characteristics.
He is vain and blustering, refusing to discourse unless he is paid,
fond of making an oration, and hoping thereby to escape the inevitable
Socrates; but a mere child in argument, and unable to foresee that
the next "move" (to use a Platonic expression) will "shut him up."
He has reached the stage of framing general notions, and in this respect
is in advance of Cephalus and Polemarchus. But he is incapable of
defending them in a discussion, and vainly tries to cover his confusion
in banter and insolence. Whether such doctrines as are attributed
to him by Plato were really held either by him or by any other Sophist
is uncertain; in the infancy of philosophy serious errors about morality
might easily grow up --they are certainly put into the mouths of speakers
in Thucydides; but we are concerned at present with Plato's description
of him, and not with the historical reality. The inequality of the
contest adds greatly to the humor of the scene. The pompous and empty
Sophist is utterly helpless in the hands of the great master of dialectic,
who knows how to touch all the springs of vanity and weakness in him.
He is greatly irritated by the irony of Socrates, but his noisy and
imbecile rage only lays him more and more open to the thrusts of his
assailant. His determination to cram down their throats, or put "bodily
into their souls" his own words, elicits a cry of horror from Socrates.
The state of his temper is quite as worthy of remark as the process
of the argument. Nothing is more amusing than his complete submission
when he has been once thoroughly beaten. At first he seems to continue
the discussion with reluctance, but soon with apparent good-will,
and he even testifies his interest at a later stage by one or two
occasional remarks. When attacked by Glaucon he is humorously protected
by Socrates "as one who has never been his enemy and is now his friend."
From Cicero and Quintilian and from Aristotle's Rhetoric we learn
that the Sophist whom Plato has made so ridiculous was a man of note
whose writings were preserved in later ages. The play on his name
which was made by his contemporary Herodicus, "thou wast ever bold
in battle," seems to show that the description of him is not devoid
of verisimilitude. 

When Thrasymachus has been silenced, the two principal respondents,
Glaucon and Adeimantus, appear on the scene: here, as in Greek tragedy,
three actors are introduced. At first sight the two sons of Ariston
may seem to wear a family likeness, like the two friends Simmias and
Cebes in the Phaedo. But on a nearer examination of them the similarity
vanishes, and they are seen to be distinct characters. Glaucon is
the impetuous youth who can "just never have enough of fechting" (cf.
the character of him in Xen. Mem. iii. 6); the man of pleasure who
is acquainted with the mysteries of love; the "juvenis qui gaudet
canibus," and who improves the breed of animals; the lover of art
and music who has all the experiences of youthful life. He is full
of quickness and penetration, piercing easily below the clumsy platitudes
of Thrasymachus to the real difficulty; he turns out to the light
the seamy side of human life, and yet does not lose faith in the just
and true. It is Glaucon who seizes what may be termed the ludicrous
relation of the philosopher to the world, to whom a state of simplicity
is "a city of pigs," who is always prepared with a jest when the argument
offers him an opportunity, and who is ever ready to second the humor
of Socrates and to appreciate the ridiculous, whether in the connoisseurs
of music, or in the lovers of theatricals, or in the fantastic behavior
of the citizens of democracy. His weaknesses are several times alluded
to by Socrates, who, however, will not allow him to be attacked by
his brother Adeimantus. He is a soldier, and, like Adeimantus, has
been distinguished at the battle of Megara. 

The character of Adeimantus is deeper and graver, and the profounder
objections are commonly put into his mouth. Glaucon is more demonstrative,
and generally opens the game. Adeimantus pursues the argument further.
Glaucon has more of the liveliness and quick sympathy of youth; Adeimantus
has the maturer judgment of a grown-up man of the world. In the second
book, when Glaucon insists that justice and injustice shall be considered
without regard to their consequences, Adeimantus remarks that they
are regarded by mankind in general only for the sake of their consequences;
and in a similar vein of reflection he urges at the beginning of the
fourth book that Socrates falls in making his citizens happy, and
is answered that happiness is not the first but the second thing,
not the direct aim but the indirect consequence of the good government
of a State. In the discussion about religion and mythology, Adeimantus
is the respondent, but Glaucon breaks in with a slight jest, and carries
on the conversation in a lighter tone about music and gymnastic to
the end of the book. It is Adeimantus again who volunteers the criticism
of common sense on the Socratic method of argument, and who refuses
to let Socrates pass lightly over the question of women and children.
It is Adeimantus who is the respondent in the more argumentative,
as Glaucon in the lighter and more imaginative portions of the Dialogue.
For example, throughout the greater part of the sixth book, the causes
of the corruption of philosophy and the conception of the idea of
good are discussed with Adeimantus. Then Glaucon resumes his place
of principal respondent; but he has a difficulty in apprehending the
higher education of Socrates, and makes some false hits in the course
of the discussion. Once more Adeimantus returns with the allusion
to his brother Glaucon whom he compares to the contentious State;
in the next book he is again superseded, and Glaucon continues to
the end. 

Thus in a succession of characters Plato represents the successive
stages of morality, beginning with the Athenian gentleman of the olden
time, who is followed by the practical man of that day regulating
his life by proverbs and saws; to him succeeds the wild generalization
of the Sophists, and lastly come the young disciples of the great
teacher, who know the sophistical arguments but will not be convinced
by them, and desire to go deeper into the nature of things. These
too, like Cephalus, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, are clearly distinguished
from one another. Neither in the Republic, nor in any other Dialogue
of Plato, is a single character repeated. 

The delineation of Socrates in the Republic is not wholly consistent.
In the first book we have more of the real Socrates, such as he is
depicted in the Memorabilia of Xenophon, in the earliest Dialogues
of Plato, and in the Apology. He is ironical, provoking, questioning,
the old enemy of the Sophists, ready to put on the mask of Silenus
as well as to argue seriously. But in the sixth book his enmity towards
the Sophists abates; he acknowledges that they are the representatives
rather than the corrupters of the world. He also becomes more dogmatic
and constructive, passing beyond the range either of the political
or the speculative ideas of the real Socrates. In one passage Plato
himself seems to intimate that the time had now come for Socrates,
who had passed his whole life in philosophy, to give his own opinion
and not to be always repeating the notions of other men. There is
no evidence that either the idea of good or the conception of a perfect
State were comprehended in the Socratic teaching, though he certainly
dwelt on the nature of the universal and of final causes (cp. Xen.
Mem. i. 4; Phaedo 97); and a deep thinker like him in his thirty or
forty years of public teaching, could hardly have falled to touch
on the nature of family relations, for which there is also some positive
evidence in the Memorabilia (Mem. i. 2, 51 foll.) The Socratic method
is nominally retained; and every inference is either put into the
mouth of the respondent or represented as the common discovery of
him and Socrates. But any one can see that this is a mere form, of
which the affectation grows wearisome as the work advances. The method
of inquiry has passed into a method of teaching in which by the help
of interlocutors the same thesis is looked at from various points
of view. 

The nature of the process is truly characterized by Glaucon, when
he describes himself as a companion who is not good for much in an
investigation, but can see what he is shown, and may, perhaps, give
the answer to a question more fluently than another. 

Neither can we be absolutely certain that, Socrates himself taught
the immortality of the soul, which is unknown to his disciple Glaucon
in the Republic; nor is there any reason to suppose that he used myths
or revelations of another world as a vehicle of instruction, or that
he would have banished poetry or have denounced the Greek mythology.
His favorite oath is retained, and a slight mention is made of the
daemonium, or internal sign, which is alluded to by Socrates as a
phenomenon peculiar to himself. A real element of Socratic teaching,
which is more prominent in the Republic than in any of the other Dialogues
of Plato, is the use of example and illustration ('taphorhtika auto
prhospherhontez'): "Let us apply the test of common instances." "You,"
says Adeimantus, ironically, in the sixth book, "are so unaccustomed
to speak in images." And this use of examples or images, though truly
Socratic in origin, is enlarged by the genius of Plato into the form
of an allegory or parable, which embodies in the concrete what has
been already described, or is about to be described, in the abstract.
Thus the figure of the cave in Book VII is a recapitulation of the
divisions of knowledge in Book VI. The composite animal in Book IX
is an allegory of the parts of the soul. The noble captain and the
ship and the true pilot in Book VI are a figure of the relation of
the people to the philosophers in the State which has been described.
Other figures, such as the dog in the second, third, and fourth books,
or the marriage of the portionless maiden in the sixth book, or the
drones and wasps in the eighth and ninth books, also form links of
connection in long passages, or are used to recall previous discussions.

Plato is most true to the character of his master when he describes
him as "not of this world." And with this representation of him the
ideal State and the other paradoxes of the Republic are quite in accordance,
though they can not be shown to have been speculations of Socrates.
To him, as to other great teachers both philosophical and religious,
when they looked upward, the world seemed to be the embodiment of
error and evil. The common sense of mankind has revolted against this
view, or has only partially admitted it. And even in Socrates himself
the sterner judgment of the multitude at times passes into a sort
of ironical pity or love. Men in general are incapable of philosophy,
and are therefore at enmity with the philosopher; but their misunderstanding
of him is unavoidable: for they have never seen him as he truly is
in his own image; they are only acquainted with artificial systems
possessing no native force of truth --words which admit of many applications.
Their leaders have nothing to measure with, and are therefore ignorant
of their own stature. But they are to be pitied or laughed at, not
to be quarrelled with; they mean well with their nostrums, if they
could only learn that they are cutting off a Hydra's head. This moderation
towards those who are in error is one of the most characteristic features
of Socrates in the Republic. In all the different representations
of Socrates, whether of Xenophon or Plato, and the differences of
the earlier or later Dialogues, he always retains the character of
the unwearied and disinterested seeker after truth, without which
he would have ceased to be Socrates. 

Leaving the characters we may now analyze the contents of the Republic,
and then proceed to consider (1) The general aspects of this Hellenic
ideal of the State, (2) The modern lights in which the thoughts of
Plato may be read. 

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