The Republic

The republic summary and analysis of book viii.

"Four Forms of Government"

Summary: Book VIII

The discourse begins with Socrates heralding their need to backtrack a little. Now that the true State and true human have been clearly illustrated, the philosophers can revive the thread introduced earlier in the dialogue: that on the nature of corrupt forms of government and individual. They begin with government, of which there are principally four defective forms.

Taking the ideal aristocratic State as a starting point, Socrates describes its disintegration into timocracy, the first and least unjust form of corrupt government. The timocratic man then, reflects the State in that he is contentious and ambitious. Oligarchy comes next and is a government ruled by the wealthy property owner who, in terms of individual men, is the avaricious son of the timocrat.

The democratic State arises when a third‹a middle‹class forms between the very rich and the very poor, and, through and alliance with the poor, sparks a revolution, overthrowing the complacent rulers. Afterward, Socrates says, magistrates are normally elected by lots from among the most varied population of any State. Democracy is presented as a sort of blissfully depraved and disordered State, and its representative is a man ruled by unbridled appetites tamed only by an enfeebled moral sense.

Socrates, slowly closing the door on democracy, shows how each State's central quality engenders its dissolution. Therefore, Socrates tells his auditors, the insatiable desire for freedom evolves democracy into tyranny. The tyrant, as result of ruthlessness during his ascendancy, must invariably either kill or be killed. He chooses to kill, and continues killing until all opposition, good or bad, is annihilated. In the end the tyrant enslaves the entire state upon threat of death or expulsion; and thus excessive freedom becomes the harshest slavery.

Analysis: Book VIII

The timocratic State (or government of honor) arises from the ideal when there is discord. Socrates creates a suitable discord in their State by projecting a future mistake in population control. But this mistake is treated satirically, not seriously; and Plato is, perhaps mendaciously, protecting his investment. The problem of controlling nature, duly acknowledged by Plato in the passage, is, in fact, a very real‹and insurmountable‹obstacle the State faces in practice. By satirizing it, Plato degrades the difficulty unfairly.

Timocracy is the result of the intermixing of races (gold and silver with iron and brass, etc.) and the unbalancing of education in favor of gymnasium over music. Plato provides a delightful and credible psycho-social portrayal of the timocratic man as torn between a father of philosophic and noble temperament and a mother and society moving more and more toward materialistic ends.

Oligarchy (wealth and property) is the tipping of the balance over into abject greed and materialism. Class division between rich and poor immediately appear; and for Plato, any division is negative and a sign of injustice. The oligarchic man's chief concern is acquisition; only vanity and regard for his status in the community prevent him from roguery.

The final blow to the security of the fattened democratic rulers is the perception by the middle or poor man that his governor is a coward. The rulers of a democracy tend toward extravagance and thus are softened physically and mentally. All that needs happen, Plato writes, is for enough of the underclass to see the debility of their Œsuperiors' in action; or, alternatively, an outside force‹a new party, for example‹may do the same incendiary work..

Plato's critique of democracy is highly ironic at first. Then the moral is exposed. What democracy theoretically stands for: freedom, variety, Œindividuality,' is, in reality, an equality of unequals. It is based on the presumption that, in modern terms, Œall men are created equalŠ' Plato has throughout the entire book rejected this as a premise. Instead of supposing every man is innately good, Plato holds that every man has a right to pursue the good.

Because the democratic man forfeits the leadership of both reason and soul, he is subject to the caprices of the appetites. He is scattered‹the opposite of the uniformly integrated man, the man under rule of reason, the philosopher.

How freedom engenders tyranny is rather complicated, and hinges on intrigue, deception, and misunderstanding. Since the rulers are neither rich nor poor (nor competent), they are forced to constantly switch allegiances between their two benefactors, of which the rich are, obviously, the more financially valuable, while the poor are the more quantitatively valuable. As a result of some misunderstanding, the magistrates are variously accused and, eventually, overthrown by the poor. The poor then chooses a champion who promises the abolition of debts, etc. This champion inevitably realizes his power, the angry mob, and uses it for personal ends‹namely, power and wealth; thus is born the tyrant.

The tyrant utterly abuses his position; in fact, he must abuse it or face pain of death. He enters a race against his opponents; he enters wars so that he may have a reason to lead; he taxes; he surrounds himself with guardians; and, finally, he robs the elders of the State, who have conserved their money in the oligarchic fashion. The lesson of the tyrant, as it comes from Plato, is that the illusion of unlimited freedom in a democracy makes the slavish limitation of tyranny possible. Having no moral restraints, no conception of the good, the tyrant need not obey laws nor any other formal or public injunctions against his behavior. Unlimited freedom, as Dostoyevsky warns, means "everything is permitted."

GradeSaver will pay $15 for your literature essays

The Republic Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Republic is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

What was Socrates main criticism of Athenian democracy?

Socrates main criticism of Athenian democray was centered around the indviduals within the democracy that gained their wealth and power using words, propaganda, and flattery to garner the support of the Athenian citizens.

Why are shadows tree than objects outside the cave?

Socrates suggests that the shadows are reality for the prisoners because they have never seen anything else; they do not realize that what they see are shadows of objects in front of a fire, much less that these objects are inspired by real things...

Plato's The Republic Book 6

• Truthfulness

• Temperance

• Gentility

• Keenness of memory

Study Guide for The Republic

The Republic study guide contains a biography of Plato, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About The Republic
  • The Republic Summary
  • Character List
  • Book I Summary and Analysis
  • Related Links

Essays for The Republic

The Republic literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Republic.

  • The Abolishment of Gender Roles in On Liberty and The Republic: Mill's Ethic of Choice Transcends Plato's Doctrine of Justice
  • Plato and Gender Equality
  • Property in the Ideal State
  • The Metaphor of the Cave
  • Equal Opportunity in the Republic

Lesson Plan for The Republic

  • About the Author
  • Study Objectives
  • Common Core Standards
  • Introduction to The Republic
  • Relationship to Other Books
  • Bringing in Technology
  • Notes to the Teacher
  • The Republic Bibliography

E-Text of The Republic

The Republic e-text contains the full text of The Republic by Plato.


Wikipedia Entries for The Republic

  • Introduction
  • Place in Plato's corpus

summary of book 8 of the republic

The Republic Book VIII Summary

Five kinds of government.

  • All right, so the dudes have all agreed that in the best city, people will have everything in common: women, the education of children, and the military. Soldiers will have common housing and will receive only a very small wage to cover their service to the city.
  • Now Socrates wants to return to whatever they were talking about way back when, before they got on this tangent. Glaucon reminds him that he was about to outline four types of government and four types of men that are different from what they've created but still worth discussing. This discussion will hopefully help them understand whether the best people are also happy and whether the worst are unhappy.
  • The four types of governments are: 1) the Cretan and Laconian regimes (the kind of government Sparta was famous for, where athleticism and military ability were the most important things—Socrates later invents a word and calls it a "timocracy," which means "the rule of honor"), 2) oligarchy (when a group of powerful, often wealthy people are in charge), 3) democracy, and 4) tyranny.
  • Socrates suggests that these four types are more like a general outline of common forms of government; there are actually a huge number of types of governments. There are probably as many kinds of governments as there are types of people—since, you know, people ultimately make up all kinds of government.
  • Socrates has already said the best kind of government, the kind that their republic is, is an aristocracy, and that a person who rules himself as if he were an aristocracy himself is the best kind of person.
  • Socrates then suggests that they go through each kind of regime step-by-step in order to determine what qualities each has. They'll then imagine the kind of individual who would have these qualities. This will allow them to see how justice and injustice function, and it will allow them to decide whether justice or injustice makes you happier.
  • The first regime they consider is 2) the Laconian regime, which Socrates names a "timocracy" ("a government of honor") because this kind of government is completely obsessed with honor and glory.
  • First, Socrates wants to understand how such a government comes to be. He imagines that a timocracy arises when something goes wrong in an aristocracy.
  • How? Well, even though aristocracy is the best kind of government, no one is perfect, so Socrates imagines that at some point some people will disobey the rules of the government and will have children when they shouldn't. For some very strange and weird reasons related to geometry, these children will be worse than they should be and will not govern as well.
  • Eventually, there will be a division between those who are interested in making money and having possessions and those interested in philosophy and virtue. Eventually, they will reintroduce private property, people will be enslaved, and war will consume all their energy.
  • Everyone agrees that this is how such a government would come to exist. They also agree that timocracy is the type of government that comes between aristocracy and oligarchy.
  • They next imagine that some aspects of this new government will be like aristocracy, so they will divide the duties of the city into separate roles (farming vs. military) and will engage in their meals and their athletic training all in common spaces.
  • But, unlike the previous regime, and more like an oligarchy, the timocracy won't put the wisest guys in charge of the city; they'll put the ones who are totally into war and conflict in charge. These rulers will also be into money and will try to do anything to acquire and save their own moolah while happily spending their friends' money on bad things.
  • Why are these rulers like this? Because their education was forced on them and because athletics was way more emphasized than music or philosophy.
  • They all agree that they've done a good job describing this kind of government, considering that they can't spend too much time on each. This government, they decide, will be especially characterized by its love of victory and of honor.
  • Now they need to figure out what kind of person would be most like this government.
  • Adeimantus suggests that it might be someone like Glaucon, but Socrates says that Glaucon is not stubborn enough and too good at music. Furthermore, this kind of person would love rhetoric, without actually being good at it. He would be harsh to his slaves but respectful to his equals. He would be a hunting enthusiast and would love athletics. Even though he would not be obsessed with money in his youth, he would come to like it when he grew older.
  • Because this man would not have been properly trained in both music and argumentation, he wouldn't be as devoted to virtue as he should be.
  • Everyone agrees that this sounds like a timocratic man, so Socrates goes on to explain how such a man would come to be.
  • Socrates says such a person would be the child of an idealistic father and a nagging mother. Because the father hated all the gossip and pettiness of political life, he would have left that world and tried to mind his own business.
  • As a result, his wife would always be angry with him because their family wasn't in a better position socially and financially. So the young boy would hear both these things and perceive that his father wasn't very highly esteemed in the city. He would feel divided in what he cared about. His father would appeal and cultivate the boy's sense of thoughtfulness and virtue, but the other outside influences would cultivate his spirit and his desires (the lower two parts of the soul, remember?).
  • He would therefore not be a bad kid, but he would be too arrogant and too obsessed with honor.
  • Everyone thinks Socrates has got it exactly right, and so they decide to move onto oligarchy.
  • Socrates defines oligarchy as the rule of the rich founded on an obsession with acquiring property.
  • Next, Socrates describes how a timocracy will turn into an oligarchy as people become greedier and greedier.
  • As people compete with each other to acquire more wealth, it soon becomes the case that the most honorable thing to be in the city is wealthy. Virtue is totally degraded, because wealth and virtue are always at odds, and soon no one will care about being virtuous at all. They'll just care about money... and more money.
  • Now that the city is obsessed with money, the people will select the wealthiest people in the city to be their rulers. They'll make all these laws dictating how much money you need to have in order to rule.
  • Next, Socrates describes the character of the city and the problems it has.
  • First of all, because it makes wealth the criterion for ruling, it's quite possible that the best potential leaders won't be in charge, simply because they aren't rich enough.
  • Second, because there is such a sharp divide between the rich and the poor, they will always be plotting against each other and causing problems.
  • The oligarchy will be terrible at fighting war because they won't want to arm their citizens out of fear of a rebellion. They also won't want to fight themselves. And they won't want to actually fund a war, because they love their money too much. That doesn't leave many options.
  • Also, everyone will be trying to do too many things at once—like farm, make money, and fight—so no one will do one particular thing very well.
  • Intense poverty will be a huge problem, because everyone will want more for themselves and won't care if someone else loses everything.
  • And these super-duper wealthy people... are they even helping the city out? Doing anything for it? Nope. They're just interested in their own moolah and their own private problems.
  • Just as drones (you know, bees) have either wings or stingers but are annoying either way, so will the city be filled will either beggars or troublemakers. Everyone knows that wherever you see lots of poverty, you're also sure to see lots of crime, too.
  • In fact, Socrates and friends all suspect that pretty much everyone in that kind of city will end up being poor except for the rulers.
  • All these problems come from the fact that this city will have a bad educational system, bad parenting, and a bad form of governing.
  • Next, Socrates and company need to figure out what kind of person corresponds to this government and how he comes into being.
  • Socrates imagines that the oligarchic man will be the son of a timocratic man who will at first look up to his father and emulate him. But then he will see his father fall from office due to corruption in the government, and he will watch his father lose everything.
  • Once he sees this, he'll be afraid of the same thing happening to him. So he'll decide that he doesn't care about honor; he only cares about money.
  • The oligarchic man will end up making the rational and the spirited parts of his soul subservient to the desiring part, and everything his soul will aim for will be about money.
  • They all agree that this description sounds like the oligarchic man, and now they want to characterize him.
  • He'll be intensely greedy. He'll think that money is the most important thing in life, and so he'll be totally stingy.
  • He'll be kind of a hoarder, keeping things to himself and always trying to make a profit.
  • He won't devote himself at all to education and will probably have plenty of nasty desires that he'll only keep in check because he's afraid of spending money.
  • Socrates thinks that a way to really tell what the oligarchic man is like is to watch how he cares for other people, such as orphans.
  • Because the oligarchic man's desires are never in order but are always competing for attention, he himself will be divided.
  • He will be rather graceful, but not because he is harmonious on the inside.
  • He won't be a very good member of any community, either, because he won't spend money on anything, not even to fight a war properly.
  • Everyone agrees that this pretty much sums up what an oligarchic man would be like.
  • All right. We're on to democracy. Let's find out how it came into being out of oligarchy.
  • Socrates imagines that because an oligarchy isn't very well ruled and doesn't have any kind of legal system in place to monitor and aid the poor, the poor will become very angry and bitter.
  • People become poor in the oligarchic city very easily because they can enter into contracts without any kind of potential risk to themselves.
  • Now, because this city is sick, just the smallest little thing can push it over the edge and make it completely ill. For even a small reason, the poor will rise up, cast out the wealthy rulers, and establish a democracy.
  • In this democracy, the poor will get to be the ones ruling, and they will create a system of ruling by vote.
  • A city like this will be characterized by freedom. People will have freedom of speech, and they'll have the freedom to do whatever they want. Because they can do what they want, people will tend to involve themselves in their own private business.
  • This kind of government will also produce the most diverse population. Socrates admits that there is a certain loveliness to this kind of government. It's like a cloak that is beautiful because it has so many colors.
  • In fact, because democracy is so striking and beautiful, many people become mistakenly convinced that it's the best kind of government.
  • Democracies are useful to people like Socrates and company, who are interested in studying all kinds of governments, because they contain such a variety of people and leadership styles.
  • Democracies don't provide any legal compulsion for certain people to rule or to fight wars and they tend to be compassionate toward people who have been condemned.
  • Furthermore, because of the way democracy works, it doesn't enforce rules that might determine what kind of people should be in charge; it simply rewards the person who has the most popular appeal.
  • Now to figure out the democratic man. Socrates imagines that he will be the son of a stingy, oligarchic man and will be the kind of person who thinks that any of his desires that don't lead to moneymaking are unnecessary.
  • Before describing the democratic man further, Socrates wants to quickly differentiate necessary desires from unnecessary ones.
  • Necessary desires are desires that a person cannot justly ignore, often because they are part of human nature.
  • Unnecessary desires are those that, with lots of practice, a person can free himself from and whose presence doesn't do the person any good.
  • So, an example of a necessary desire would be eating out of hunger, while overeating just for pleasure would be an unnecessary desire.
  • Socrates then compares these two kinds of desires to two attitudes towards money. He suggests that necessary desires are like making money, because they are useful and productive, while unnecessary desires are like being stingy, since they hoard without use.
  • So, they conclude that the stingy, oligarchic man will be like necessary desires while a big spender will be like the unnecessary desires.
  • Okay, so back to how the democratic man comes to exist. He's the son of a stingy, oligarchic guy, so his childhood is, well, stingy. When he gets a bit older and meets other people who are into pleasures and doing fun things, he'll follow them, since he's sick of his stingy childhood.
  • However, he's still his father's son, so he's excited by new, fun opportunities, but at the same time, he's wary of being too overindulgent. So he's constantly at war with himself, not knowing what to do and not being able to rely on the solid foundation of a good education.
  • Without this good education, arrogance and boasting will take hold of him, and in the end, he'll choose to hang out with the fun, pleasure-loving people who breed chaos, anarchy, and wastefulness.
  • For the rest of his life, the democratic man will go and back forth between greater indulgence and lesser indulgence, not understanding why either might be better or worse for him but deciding it's best to just treat them equally.
  • The democratic man will live day by day and try out whatever new and exciting thing strikes his fancy. Many people will say he lives a good life, full of variety, excitement, and freedom.
  • Finally, it's time to talk about tyranny, which, you won't be at all surprised to hear, is born out of democracy.
  • Just as oligarchy collapsed under its own obsession with wealth, so, too, will democracy collapse under its own obsession with freedom.
  • If a ruler doesn't grant enough freedom, or if he tries to punish his citizens, he—and any of his followers—will be condemned as compromising freedom.
  • Anarchy will be a part of every aspect of the city, since even animals will model themselves on the example of their government.
  • Instead of people fearing their elders and those in positions of authority, the opposite will happen: people in authority will fear the people and so flatter and placate them.
  • Disorder will be everywhere, and people will become so protective of the idea of their freedom that they will stop obeying the law altogether.
  • So this is the kind of climate that ends up producing tyranny, a climate cursed with the same disease as oligarchy. It's a disease that makes them both fail, since an excessive amount of anything tends to lead to its opposite excess: too much freedom in democracy leads to slavery under tyranny.
  • Adeimantus wants to know what exactly this disease is that's plagued both oligarchy and democracy. Socrates responds that it's having a class of opinionated, lazy, and extravagant people who have a bunch of tedious followers.
  • Socrates says this metaphorical disease is what both doctors and rulers need to be the most diligent about preventing.
  • To explain this disease in democracy further, Socrates goes on to say that in a democracy there are three distinct categories of people.
  • First, there are 1) these lazy extravagant people. They're also the fiercest: because they're not given any actual positions of power in the city, so they're always having to fight to be heard.
  • Next, there are 2) the wealthy, who are also the most powerful.
  • Finally, there are 3) your average citizens who work, don't have much, and are very interested in participating in government.
  • The leaders of a democracy realize this, and so they strategically keep giving money to the poor as a way to actually keep the majority of it for themselves.
  • Now, when someone is in trouble and might have his property taken, he has to plead with the public in order to defend himself.
  • It's also usually the case in a democracy that certain men grow very popular and are supported and groomed as future leaders. Socrates sees this as the very beginning of tyranny.
  • A leader becomes a tyrant when he's fighting against the crowd and becomes vicious, for example by executing someone for no reason.
  • Now that he's shed blood, this ruler will become ruthless and will either be killed or become a tyrant.
  • Once he survives as a tyrant, he will forget any promises of legal change he's made.
  • He'll lead an attack on the wealthy of the city and will cause resentment to build up against him. He'll then require the help of bodyguards from the city.
  • The typical trajectory of a tyrant's reign begins on a good note: he's friendly, delivers on his promises, and feeds the poor to keep them quiet.
  • Then he stirs up a war as a way to eliminate some of his internal enemies, and he starts to become less and less liked.
  • When his trusted advisors offer him any kind of criticism, he'll kill them, too. He'll start to kill anyone who seems too impressive and who might be a challenger.
  • Naturally, the people will hate him more and more, so he'll need even more security and more companions. He'll either get them from abroad or by freeing the slaves of some his citizens, making them his personal bodyguards.
  • Socrates imagines that among these companions will be some wise men, since Euripides, a tragic poet, said that tyrants often surround themselves with the wise. For praising tyranny in this way, it's obvious yet again that poets won't be allowed in Socrates's city.
  • In fact, poets are known to go around spreading praise for both tyranny and democracy, because both those regimes—but especially tyranny—offer poets the most support.
  • Anyway, back to tyrants. Adeimantus suggests that a tyrant will get his money from spending the sacred money of the city and from all the property he's confiscated from his enemies.
  • Once this runs out, the tyrant will rely on his friends, then on the parents of his friends, then even on his own parents, not at all respecting the idea that adults should take care of their parents.
  • In fact, if the tyrant's father refuses to support his son, the tyrant will probably kill him.
  • Well, now Socrates and the gang have seen how a government can change from being totally free to totally enslaving.

Tired of ads?

Cite this source, logging out…, logging out....

You've been inactive for a while, logging you out in a few seconds...

W hy's T his F unny?

The Dialogues of Plato — Translation by David Horan

Plato’s republic.

Version Date: 11 January 2023

Persons in the dialogue: Socrates, Glaucon, Adeimantus, Polemarchus, Cephalus, Thrasymachus, Cleitophon, and others

543A “So there it is. This has now been agreed, Glaucon. For a city to be governed at its very best, women are to be shared, children are to be shared, and all education too. And in like manner, all activities are to be shared, both in war and in peace, and those among them who turn out best in philosophy and in warfare too, are to be their kings.”

“This was agreed,” said he.

543B “And indeed we also accepted that once the rulers are in place, they will take the soldiers in hand and settle them in living arrangements of the sort we have already described, which are common to all, with nothing private to anyone. And as well as such living arrangements, we also agreed upon the sort of possessions they will have, as you may recall.”

“Yes,” said he, “I recall. We thought that none of them should acquire any of the possessions that everyone else has nowadays. Rather, like warrior athletes and guardians, they must care for themselves and for the rest of the city, 543C  accepting their guardians’ pay for the year from the others, to sustain them in their work.”[1]

“You are right,” said I, “but come on. Now that we have concluded this, let us remember where we digressed from, so that we may proceed along the same course once more.”

“That is not difficult,” said he. “You presented your arguments about the city then, much as you are doing now, as though the exposition was complete.[2] You proposed a city, saying that a city like the one you had described was good, and so was the man who resembled it, 543D even though, it seems, you were able to speak of a still more beautiful city 544A and a more beautiful man too. But in any case, you were saying that if this city is right, the others are in error, and you maintained, as I recall, that there are four other forms of government besides this one. You said these would be worth describing, to see their particular errors, and the kinds of people who resemble these forms, and having agreed upon who is the most excellent and who is the worst man, we might then investigate whether the most excellent person is happiest, and the worst is most wretched, or whether the situation is otherwise. And when I was asking you which four forms of government 544B you meant, Polemarchus and Adeimantus interrupted at that stage,[3] and so it was that you took up the argument again and arrived here.”

“That is right,” said I. “You have remembered this very well.”

“So then, like a wrestler, offer me the same hold once more, and in response to my same question try to say what you were about to say at the time.”

“I shall, if I am able to,” said I.

“And indeed,” said he, “I am also anxious to learn for myself what four forms of government you were referring to then.”

544C “That is not difficult,” said I, “so listen. The forms I am referring to are those that have names. First is the one that most people praise, your Cretan or Spartan form. Second to arise, and second too in terms of praise, is the one called oligarchy, a form of government full of evils aplenty. Next comes the adversary of this form, democracy. And then there is noble tyranny, set apart from all the others, the fourth and last disease of the city. Or can you think of any other form of government of any type that constitutes 544D another obvious form? Indeed dynasties, purchased kingships, and other forms of government of this sort are presumably something intermediate between these four, and they are to be found no less among the Barbarians than among the Greeks.”

“Yes,” said he, “many unusual forms are spoken of.”

“Now,” said I, “do you know that there must be as many types of human character as there are forms of government? Or do you think that forms of government come into existence from oak or from rock,[4] and not 544E from the characters of the people in the cities which, in a sense, exert their influence, and pull everything else in their direction.”

“Yes,” said he, “that is where they come from and not from anywhere else at all.”

“In that case, if there are five types of cities, there would also be five conditions of individual souls.”


“Well now, we have already described the person who resembles the aristocracy, whom we rightly declare to be good and just.”

545A “We have.”

“Now after this should we not describe the lesser men – first the ambitious fellow who loves honour and corresponds to the Spartan form of government, then the oligarchic man, the democratic, and finally the tyrannical? Would this not enable us to look at the most unjust man, alongside the most just man, and complete our enquiry as to where exactly pure justice stands relative to pure injustice, in relation to the happiness or wretchedness 545B of their possessor, so that we could either be persuaded by Thrasymachus and pursue injustice, or accept the argument that is now emerging, and pursue justice?”

“Yes,” said he, “that is what we should do. Entirely so.”

“Well now, we began this process by considering the characters of the various forms of government, where they are more obvious, prior to considering those of the individuals. So should we proceed in a similar way now, and consider first the form of government that loves honour? In our language I have no other name to call it except timocracy or timarchy, and in relation to this we shall consider the man who resembles it. Then after that we shall consider the oligarchy and the oligarchic man. 545C And after looking at the democracy, we shall behold the democratic man. And arriving at the fourth city, the tyrannical one, and looking at that, and at the tyrannical soul too, we shall try to become competent judges of the issues we have put forward.”

“Well,” said he, “if we proceed in this way, our perspective and our judgement would surely be reasonable.”

“Come on then,” said I. “Let us try to describe the way in which timocracy would arise from aristocracy. Or is it simply that 545D change in any form of government comes from the part of it that exercises authority, whenever faction arises in that particular part, whereas if it is of one mind, even if it is very small, no disturbance is possible?”

“Yes, indeed so.”

“So Glaucon,” said I, “how shall this city of ours be disturbed, and in what way shall our auxiliaries and our rulers develop factions against one another, and against themselves? Or would you prefer that we copy Homer, and pray to the Muses to tell us how faction 545E first came about,[5] and we could declare that they are playing with us, like children, speaking lightly but in a tragic style, pretending to be serious by speaking in a lofty manner?”


546A “As follows. Although it is difficult to disturb a city that has been constituted in this way, nevertheless, since destruction is the lot of anything that has come into being, even something constituted like this will not endure for all time. It too will be dissolved, and its dissolution will be as follows. Not alone for the plants in the earth, but also among the animals on the earth, there is productiveness and sterility of their souls and bodies as they run their circular course and complete their cycles, which are short for those who are short- lived, and longer for the long-lived. But for your 546B race, although the people whom you educated as leaders of the city are wise, they will be unable by calculation combined with sense experience, to hit upon the best time for bringing children to birth, and for not bearing children. This will evade them, and they will on occasion bring forth children when they should not.

“Now, divine birth has a cycle that the perfect number encompasses. But for a human being the number is the first in which root and square increases, having comprehended three distances and four limits of whatever brings about likenesses and unlikenesses, waxings 546C and wanings, renders all things mutually agreeable and expressible towards one another. Of these four, three yoked together with five yields two harmonies when increased threefold. The first is equal, an equal number of times, one hundred times this amount. The other is equal in length on one side, but it is oblong on the other side of one hundred squares of rational diameters of five diminished by one each; or if of irrational diameters, by two, on the other of one hundred cubes of three.

“This entire geometrical number is lord of anything like this,[6] of better and worse births. And whenever our guardians, in 546D ignorance of this, make brides cohabit with bridegrooms inappropriately, their children will be neither well developed nor fortunate. And although their predecessors will install the best of them in power, nevertheless, being unworthy, when their turn comes to rule and exercise the powers of their fathers they will begin, as guardians, firstly to pay little heed to us Muses by regarding our realm of music as less important, and secondly they will neglect the realm of gymnastics too, and so your own young people will become less musical. From these, 546E rulers will be installed who cannot exercise much guardianship when it comes to testing 547A for the races of Hesiod,[7] and of your people too,[8]the gold, silver, bronze and iron. The indiscriminate mixing of iron with silver, and of bronze with gold, will produce dissimilarity and an inappropriate inconsistency, which always beget war and enmity wherever they arise. So we should declare that ‘such is the lineage’ of faction,[9] whenever and wherever it occurs.”

“And we shall declare,” said he, “that they have answered correctly.”

“As they must,” said I, “since they are Muses.”

547B “Well then,” said he, “what shall the Muses say next?”

“Once faction had arisen,” said I, “both races began to exert their influence, the iron and brass kinds drawing the city towards the acquisition of money, land and property, gold and silver, while the gold and silver kinds, for their part – since these are not in poverty but are naturally wealthy of soul – led in the direction of excellence and the ancient order. As they struggled violently in opposite directions, they eventually agreed to compromise, distribute land and property for themselves, and make these private. 547C With this, they enslaved those they had previously guarded as free men, friends and supporters, by treating them as serfs and underlings, while they themselves attended to warfare and guarding themselves against their former friends.”

“I think,” said he, “that this is how the change comes about.”

“Would not this form of government,” said I, “be something in between aristocracy and oligarchy?”

“Very much so.”

“Well that is how it will change, but once it has changed, how will it be administered? Or is it obvious 547D that in some respects it will imitate the previous form of government, and in other respects the oligarchy, since it is in between them, and that it will also have something that is particular to itself?”

“Quite so,” said he.

“In the respect given to its rulers; the fact that its military class refrains from working the land, and from skilled labour, and from other sorts of money making; in its provision of common meals, and the attention it pays to physical exercise and military competition; in everything of this sort, will it not imitate the previous form?”


547E “Will not the features, that for the most part are particular to itself, be its fear of admitting the wise to positions of authority, since it no longer has people of this sort who are straightforward and sincere, rather than complicated? Will it not also prefer spirited types who are simpler, more fitted by nature for war than peace, 548A who attach value to its tactics and strategies? And will it not spend all its time waging war?”

“And yet,” said I, “people like this will have a longing for money, just like those in the oligarchies, harbouring a concealed but fierce reverence for gold and silver because they have storehouses and private treasuries in which to keep it all hidden; and enclosures too, houses which are really private nests in which they spend their money, 548B lavishing it extravagantly on women, and on many others, whomever they please.”

“Very true,” said he.

“And they will also be miserly with money since they revere it and may not acquire it openly. Yet because of desire they love spending other people’s money, and enjoying their pleasures in secret, running away from the law like boys from their father, having been educated by force rather than persuasion, because they paid no heed to the true Muse who accompanies argument and philosophy, 548C and had more respect for gymnastics than for music.”

“You are,” said he, “most certainly describing a form of government that is a mixture of good and bad.”

“Yes, it is mixed,” said I, “but what is most distinctive about it is one particular feature. Due to the dominance of spiritedness in it, it is ambitious and loves honour.”

“Most certainly,” said he.

“Well,” said I, “this form of government would arise in this way, and this is what it would be like. This is just a verbal sketch providing an outline without the detail, 548D because a sketch will indeed be enough to reveal the most just person, and the most unjust. But to describe all forms of government and all their characters, omitting nothing, would be an inordinately lengthy undertaking.”

“That is right,” said he.

“Now, what about the man who corresponds to this form of government? How did he arise, and what sort of person is he?”

“I think,” said Adeimantus, “that when it comes to ambition at any rate he is quite like Glaucon here.”

548E “Well, in that respect,” said I, “perhaps you are right, but in other respects his nature is different.”

“In what respects?”

“He must be more stubborn,” said I, “and less musical even though he loves music, and despite being a good listener he is not at all 549A eloquent. And he would be aggressive towards slaves rather than merely looking down upon them, as an adequately educated person would do. Yet he would be gentle towards free men, and highly respectful towards those in authority. He himself loves authority, and he loves honour, and he is worthy of authority, not because of what he says or anything of that sort, but because of his achievements on the battlefield and in military affairs generally, being fond of physical exercise and of hunting.”

“Yes,” said he, “this is the character of that form of government.”

“Would not a person like this,” said I, “despise 549B money when young, but grow more and more fond of it the older he gets, because he has a share of this money-loving nature and is no longer directed towards excellence, purely and simply, because he has been deprived of its very best guardian?”

“What is that?” asked Adeimantus.

“Reason,” said I, “combined with music, which alone, once engendered, dwells as the lifelong preserver of excellence for whoever possesses it.”

“Very good,” said he.

“So that is what the young timocrat is like,” said I. “He is just like this sort of city.”

“Yes, indeed.”

549C “Now this person arises somewhat as follows,” said I. “Sometimes he is the young son of a good father who is living in a city that is not well run. His father shuns the honours, positions of authority, legal disputes and all business of that sort, and he is willing to accept loss of status to avoid trouble.”

“And how,” he asked, “does he become timocratic?”

“Whenever,” said I, “in the first place, he hears his mother being annoyed at the fact that her husband is not one of the rulers, and that she is losing status among the other women as a result. 549D She sees that he is not particularly serious about money, and does not fight or engage in slander, either in private or in the law-courts or public gatherings, but is indifferent to everything like this. She notices that he is constantly turned in on himself, does not show her much respect, and does not disrespect her either. And she gets annoyed at all this and tells her son that his father is unmanly, and extremely neglectful, and she repeats all the other expressions of this sort that women like to use when speaking of such men.”

549E “Yes,” said Adeimantus, “there are lots of them. That is what they are like.”

“And you know,” said I, “that the servants of such men, the ones that seem well- intentioned, sometimes say this sort of thing secretly to the sons. And if they see someone owing money to his father, or someone doing him some other injustice, someone whom the father will not pursue, they exhort him to take revenge on all such people 550A when he becomes a man, and be more of a man than his father. And when he goes out, he hears and sees other things of this sort. Those who do what belongs to themselves in the city[10] are called simple-minded and are held in little regard, while those who do not are honoured and praised. Then the young man, seeing and hearing all this, and also hearing the words of his father, and seeing his father’s actions from close up, alongside those of everyone else, is dragged in both 550B directions: his father encouraging and fostering the rational element in his soul, while the others foster the appetitive and spirited elements. Because he is not, by nature, a bad man, but has fallen into bad company of others, he is pulled by both of these, ends up in the middle, hands over the authority within himself to the middle element of ambition and spiritedness, and becomes a high-spirited man who loves honour.”

“I think,” said he, “that you have described the origin of this fellow quite accurately.”

550C “In that case,” said I, “we have our second form of government, and the corresponding man too.”

“We have, indeed,” said he.

“After this, should we, as Aeschylus says, speak of ‘another man set before another city’[11] or, according to our procedure, speak of the city first?”

“Yes, certainly,” said he.

“And the form of government that comes after this one would, I think, be oligarchy.”

“Well,” said he, “what kind of constitution do you call oligarchy?”

“The one that is based on a property qualification,” said I, “in which the rich rule, and the poor man has no share of authority.”

550D “I understand,” said he.

“Should we not say how the change from timocracy to oligarchy first begins?”

“And indeed,” said I, “even to the blind, it is obvious how this changes.”

“That treasury,” said I, “private to each, filled with gold, is what destroys a form of government of this sort. For in the first place they invent various extravagances for themselves, and divert the laws to this end by disobeying them themselves, and their wives do likewise.”

“Quite likely,” said he.

550E “Next, I imagine, they start watching each other, and by entering into rivalry they eventually make almost everyone else behave just like themselves.”

“That is likely.”

“And thereafter,” said I, “as they proceed further with their moneymaking, the more honour they assign to wealth, the less honour they assign to excellence. Or is this not how excellence contrasts with wealth, as if they were each being weighed on a balance that is constantly inclining in opposite directions?”

“Very much so,” said he.

551A “So, when wealth and the wealthy people are honoured in a city, excellence and the good people are shown less honour.”


“But whatever is honoured constantly is practised, and whatever is dishonoured is neglected.”

“Just so.”

“Then, instead of being ambitious men who love honour, they finally become men who love money and moneymaking. They praise the wealthy man, and they are in awe of him, and put him in positions of authority, while they dishonour the poor man.”


“And at that stage, they pass a law that defines the oligarchical form of government. They prescribe 551B a particular sum of money, which is more when it is more of an oligarchy, less when it is less so, and they decree that anyone whose property falls short of the prescribed valuation may have no involvement in ruling the city. They bring this about either through force of arms, or else they will establish a form of government like this through fear. Is this not so?”

“Yes, this is so.”

“Well then, this is what we might call its establishment.”

“Yes,” said he. “But what is the manner of this form of government, and what defects do we say it possesses?”

551C “Well firstly,” said I, “consider its own defining characteristic and what it is like. What if helmsmen for ships were to be appointed based upon a property qualification, and the poor man was never given the role, even if he was a better helmsman?”

“Their sea voyage,” said he, “would be terrible.”

“Does not the same also apply to the control of anything else at all?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Except a city,” said I. “Or does this also apply to a city?”

“Very much so,” said he, “to a city most of all, since the rule of a city is so difficult and important.”

551D “Then oligarchy would possess this one significant defect.”


“What about this? Is the following defect any less significant?”

“Which one?”

“The fact that such a city is not one, but necessarily two: a city of poor folk and a city of wealthy people, living in the same place but always scheming against one another.”

“By Zeus,” said he, “that is not a less significant defect!”

“And indeed, it is not good that they are unlikely to be able to wage a war, because that compels them either to arm the general population, 551E and then be more afraid of them than of the enemy, or not to arm them and thus be true oligarchs, a few rulers alone on the battlefield. And at the same time, they are unwilling to contribute to military expenditure because they love money so much.”

“Not good, indeed.”

“And what about the aspect we criticised a while ago? What about the fact that people have lots of different roles? Under such a form of government, the same people simultaneously engage in agriculture, 552A make money, and fight in wars. Do you think this is all right?”

“No, not at all.”

“Then let us see if such a form of government is the first to tolerate the greatest of all these evils.”

“Which is?”

“Allowing someone to sell everything he has, and allowing someone else to take possession of this. Having sold everything, the man may live on in the city without any role as a businessman, a craftsman, a cavalryman, 552B or an infantry-man. They call him poor, a man without means.”

“It is the first to tolerate this,” said he.

“This sort of thing certainly will not be prohibited in oligarchies, or else some people could not be excessively wealthy while others are in total poverty.”

“That is right.”

“Think about this too. When he was still wealthy, was this fellow of any more benefit to the city in the various roles we have described? Or did he seem to be one of the rulers of the city, when in truth he was neither a ruler nor an underling, but a mere spender of anything that was available?”

552C “That is it,” said he. “He seemed to be something else, but he was nothing more than a spendthrift.”

“Would you like us to declare,” said I, “that just as a drone is born in a cell of honeycomb, a pestilence to the hive, so too is a man like this, born in a private dwelling house, a drone and a pestilence to the city?”

“Yes certainly, Socrates,” said he.

“Now, Adeimantus, although the god made all the winged drones without any stings, did he not make some of the drones that go by foot stingless, and others with terrible stings? Is it not the case that those who remain beggars to the very end belong to the stingless 522D sort, while all the so-called evildoers are from the drones which have stings?”

“So it is evident,” said I, “that in any city where you see beggars, there are thieves and cutpurses somewhere in the vicinity, hidden away, temple robbers too, and artificers of all sorts of evil deeds.”

“That is evident,” said he.

“What about this? Do you not see beggars in the oligarchical cities?”

“Yes,” said he, “almost everyone apart from those in authority are beggars.”

552E “Should we not presume then,” said I, “that there are also lots of evildoers in these cities, complete with stings, whom the rulers deliberately restrain by force?”

“We should presume so,” said he.

“Well then, shall we declare that people like this arise there because of ill-education, bad upbringing, and the evil foundations of this form of government?”

“We shall.”

“In that case then, the oligarchical city would be something of this sort, and would have as many evils as this, and perhaps even more.”

“That just about sums it up,” said he.

553A “Then,” said I, “we have dealt with this form of government too, the one they call oligarchy, the one having rulers appointed on the basis of a property qualification. Next, we should consider the person who resembles this, how he arises, and what he is like once he has arisen.”

“Does not the change from that timocratic type to the oligarchic type take place, for the most part, as follows?”

“It happens when a son, born to a timocratic man, emulates his father at first and follows in that man’s footsteps. Then he sees him suddenly dashed 553B against the city, like a ship against a reef, his property and the man himself being lost overboard. Perhaps he was serving as a general, or exercising some other important position of authority, and then ended up in court because of damaging allegations by false informers, and was put to death, or exiled, or lost his civil rights and had all his property confiscated.”

“And the son, my friend, seeing all this, suffering its consequences, and losing all his property, is presumably afraid, and immediately thrusts any love of honour, and that spiritedness too, from the throne 553C in his own soul. Humbled by poverty, he turns to moneymaking, and greedily, gradually, by being thrifty and working hard, he gets some money together. Now do you not think someone like this, at that stage, would install the appetitive element with its love of money on that throne, turn this into the Great King within himself, and deck it out with tiaras, necklets and ceremonial swords?”

“I do,” said he.

553D “And I presume that he seats the rational and the spirited elements on the ground on either side, beneath that king, as his slaves. He would not allow the rational element to work out or consider anything except how to turn smaller sums of money into larger ones. And he would not allow the spirited element to hold anything in awe, or to have any respect for anything apart from wealth and wealthy people, or to take pride in anything at all except the acquisition of wealth, and anything that brings this about.”

“There is,” said he, “no other transformation of a young man 553E who loves honour into one who loves money that is as swift and sure as this.”

“So, is this fellow our oligarchical man?” I asked.

“Well at any rate, the transformation of this fellow starts with a man who resembles the timocracy, the form that turns into oligarchy.”

“Let us investigate whether he himself resembles the oligarchy.”

554A “Let us investigate it.”

“Would he not resemble it firstly by assigning the utmost importance to money?”

“Of course.”

“And indeed, by being miserly and diligent, satisfying only the most necessary of his desires without making provision for any other expenditure, and enslaving the other desires because they are unprofitable.”

“Yes, certainly.”

“He is a squalid fellow,” said I, “a man who builds up a fortune by making a profit out of everything, the sort of man that most people praise. 554B Would not this person be the one who resembles a form of government like oligarchy?”

“Well, I think so,” said he. “At any rate, money is what this city honours most, and so does a man like this.”

“Yes,” said I, “presumably because a man like this has not paid attention to education.”

“It seems not,” said he, “or else he would not have installed blind wealth as the leader of his chorus, and honoured this most.”[12]

“Nicely explained,” said I, “but consider this. Should we not state that because of his lack of education, drone-like desires arise in him – the desires of the beggar 554C in some cases, those of the evildoer in others – but these are restrained by his other concern?”

“Indeed,” said he, “very much so.”

“Now,” said I, “do you know where you will see the evil deeds of these people, if you look?”

“Where?” he asked.

“In their guardianship of orphans, and any other opportunity like this that arises, where they get unrestricted licence to act unjustly.”


“So, is it not obvious from this that in the other business dealings, those in which a man like this is well-regarded and seems to be acting justly, he is forcibly restraining other bad innate desires by some moderation of his own 554D devising? He does not persuade them that it is better not to do this, nor does he tame them by reason, but by compulsion and fear, because he is afraid of losing the rest of his property.”

“Yes, entirely so,” said he.

“And by Zeus, my friend,” said I, “once they have the opportunity to spend other people’s money, you will find that the drone-like desires are present in most of them.”

“Yes,” said he, “with great intensity.”

“So a man like this would not be free of internal factions, nor would he be one person, but 554E somehow double, although his better desires would, for the most part, prevail over his worse desires.”

“Quite so.”

“Because of this, I believe, such a person would be more respectable than many others. But the true excellence of the even-minded and harmonious soul would escape him by some distance.”

“I think so.”

555A “And indeed this miserly fellow, as a private citizen, is a poor competitor when it comes to any civic ambition or love of noble achievements, as he is not prepared to spend money for the sake of good reputation, or on any rivalries of this sort. He is afraid to awaken the desires that make him spend money, and summon them to join the battle and fulfil his ambition. So he fights like a true oligarch with only a few of his own resources, loses most of the time, but remains wealthy.”

“Now,” said I, “are we still in any doubt that the miserly money-maker corresponds to the oligarchical 555B city, and resembles it?”

“Not at all,” said he.

“Then we should, it seems, consider the democracy next – the manner in which it arises, and what it is like once it has arisen. This will allow us to recognise the character of the man who is like this, and judge him alongside the others.”

“Well we would at least be proceeding much as we did earlier,” said he.

“Does not the change from oligarchy to democracy come about, somehow, because of this insatiable desire for what is presented as good, this need to become as wealthy as possible?” I asked.

“How so?”

555C “Since the rulers hold office in that city because they have acquired so much wealth, they are, I think, unwilling to restrict by law any young people who are becoming unrestrained, and prevent them from spending and wasting all they possess. This enables them to buy up the property of such young folk, and also to lend money on security of the property, thus becoming even wealthier and more privileged than before.”

“More than anything.”

“Now, is it not obvious already that in a city it is impossible to have reverence for wealth, and sufficient sound-mindedness among the citizens, at the same time? Is it not necessary 555D rather to neglect one or the other?”

“Yes,” said he, “that is fairly obvious.”

“In fact, when they neglect this in the oligarchies, and encourage unrestrained behaviours, good people are sometimes forced into poverty.”

“So these people, I imagine, sit there in the city, complete with stings, in armed array, some of them in debt, some of them deprived of their rights, some in both predicaments. They hate and conspire against those who took their possessions, and against everyone else too, 555E and they are passionate for revolution.”

“And yet the money-makers, keeping their heads down, and without even seeming to notice these people, insert their silver, injuring anyone else who does not consistently resist them. And they recover their original sum, many times over 556A in interest, and cause the drone and the beggar to multiply in the city.”

“Yes,” said he, “why would they not multiply?”

“Nor,” said I, “are they willing to extinguish an evil of this sort, as it blazes up in the city, by restricting a person’s right to do what he likes with his own property, nor again will they undo such arrangements by another law.”

“What law do you mean?”

“A law that is second best after that, one that compels the citizens to pay attention to excellence. For if it were decreed that a person enters into 556B most voluntary contracts at his own risk, there would be less shameless money-making in the city, and fewer evils like those we have been describing would spring up there.”

“Much fewer,” said he.

“But as matters stand,” said I, “for all sorts of reasons such as those we have given, the rulers of the city put their subjects in this predicament. As for themselves and their own kindred, do they not make the young folk delicate, averse to hard work be it physical or mental, too soft 556C to withstand pleasures or pains, and lazy too?”

“And do they not turn themselves into money-makers who neglect everything else besides this, caring no more for excellence than the poor people do?”

“Yes, no more than that.”

“Then, under such an arrangement, whenever the rulers and their subjects come into contact with one another, either on a journey or in some other communal activities such as a festival, or on a military campaign as shipmates or fellow soldiers, and when they see one another facing actual dangers, 556D the poor are no longer held in contempt by the wealthy folk at all. Indeed very often the poor man, lean and sunburnt, stationed in battle beside a wealthy man who has been reared in the shade, with far more flesh than he needs, sees this rich fellow out of breath and in total confusion. So, do you not think he will then conclude that such people are wealthy due to some failing on the part of the poor, and when the poor get together in private, will they not proclaim 556E to one another that ‘These men are good for nothing. They are ours for the taking’.”

“I know quite well,” said he, “that that is what they will do.”

“Is it not like an unhealthy body that needs only the slightest external influence to tip it into disease, and is sometimes in conflict with itself, without any external influence? Will not a city that is in the same condition as that unhealthy body become diseased at the slightest prompting, and fight against itself? Perhaps one group might bring in allies from an oligarchic state, or the others might bring them in from a democratic state, and there may sometimes be conflict even without any external influence.”

557A “Yes, emphatically so.”

“Then democracy, I imagine, comes about when the poor, having won their victory, execute some of their opponents, exile others, and grant an equal involvement in civic affairs and in positions of authority to those who remain. And positions of authority in the city are, for the most part, assigned by lot.”

“This is indeed how the democracy is established,” said he, “whether it happens through force of arms, or the others withdraw out of fear.”

“Well then,” said I, “in what way do these people live their lives, and what will a form of government of this sort 557B be like? For it is obvious that a man like this will prove to be a democratic man.”

“That is obvious,” said he.

“Well in the first place, are they not free, and does not the city become full of freedom, and unrestricted speech, with license for anyone there to do what he likes?”

“So they say, anyway,” said he.

“And wherever there is license, it is obvious that each person would make individual arrangements for his own life there, an arrangement that pleases him.”

“That is obvious.”

557C “So under this form of government especially, I imagine, an enormous variety of people of all sorts would arise.”


“Perhaps,” said I, “it is the most beautiful of all the forms of government. Just like a many coloured robe, embroidered with flowers of all sorts, this city, decked out with characters of all sorts, would prove to be the most beautiful one there is. Indeed it is quite likely,” said I, “that most people, just like children and women when they see decorated objects, would decide that this form of government is the most beautiful one.”

“And indeed, my friend,” said I, “it is somehow quite appropriate to search for a form of government in this one.”

557D “Why is that?”

“Because it contains forms of government of every kind, on account of the licence that it allows. Indeed, anyone who intends to arrange a city, as we have been doing just now, should really go to one that is governed democratically, and select whatever arrangement pleases him, as if he was entering a general market selling forms of government of all sorts, to make his selection and found his city accordingly.”

“Well,” said he, “there would surely be no shortage of examples to choose from.”

557E “There is no compulsion to exercise authority in this city, even if you are qualified to do so,” said I, “or indeed to be subject to authority if you do not feel like it, or to go to war in time of war, or to observe the peace when everyone else does so, if you do not want peace. What is more, if some law is preventing you from holding office or being on a jury, you may hold office or serve on the jury anyway, if it suits you to do so. Now is this not a 558A divinely pleasant and sweet way of carrying on, for a while?”

“For a while, perhaps,” said he.

“And what about the calmness of those who have ended up in court? Is that not nice? Or have you never seen people who have been sentenced to death or exile under a form of government like this, remaining on in the city nevertheless, and going about in public. Or how a convicted person stalks about the place unheeded and unseen by anyone, like a ghost?”

“This happens a lot,” said he.

“And note the tolerance of this form of government, and its lack of any attention to detail. It despises 558B anything we were so serious about when we were founding our city, and said that unless someone had an exceptional nature he would never become a good man, unless he were to play in the midst of beauty from his earliest childhood, and engage in pursuits of a similar sort thereafter. See how high-mindedly it tramples upon all this, pays no heed to the sort of pursuits someone engaged in before they got involved in public life, but honours him as long as he declares that he is well disposed towards the people.”

“How utterly noble,” said he.

558C “So democracy would, it seems, have these qualities and others akin to these,” said I. “It is a pleasant form of government, anarchic and variegated, that bestows some equality on equals and un-equals alike.”

“Yes,” said he, “what you say is all very recognisable.”

“Then,” said I, “think carefully about what the corresponding person will be like. Or should we first consider how he arises, just as we did with the form of government?”

“Yes,” said he.

“Well, would it not happen in the following way? The miserly oligarchic man might have 558D a son, I imagine, who has been brought up in the habits of his father.”

“Yes, why not?”

“Then the son too would forcibly control any pleasures within him that are conducive to spending money rather than making it, the pleasures that are referred to as unnecessary.”

“Obviously,” said he.

“Now,” said I, “so that we do not discuss this in an obscure manner, do you first want to distinguish between the desires that are necessary, and those that are not?”

“Well, desires which we would be unable to divert, 558E and those whose fulfilment benefits us, may we justifiably refer to these as necessary? In fact it is necessary for us, by our very nature, to pursue both of these. Is this not so?”

559A “Then we may justifiably use the word ‘necessary’ to refer to these.”


“What about those which someone may be rid of, through practice from his earliest years, which do not do him any good when they are present, and can indeed do the opposite? If we declare that all these are unnecessary, would we be right to say so?”

“Right indeed.”

“Then should we pick an example of each, so that we may grasp what they are, in rough outline?”

“We should do that.”

“Would not the desire to eat, just to maintain health and wellbeing, the desire 559B just for bread and for relish, be necessary?”

“I believe so.”

“The desire for bread is presumably necessary for both reasons: it is beneficial, and it can bring our lives to an end if we do not satisfy it.”

“Whereas the desire for relish is necessary insofar as it confers some benefit in terms of wellbeing.”

“What about desire that goes beyond these, desire for different things to eat besides this sort of food, desire that is capable of being eliminated from most people by restraint and education from their earlier years, and is harmful to the body and harmful to the soul’s intelligence and soundness of mind? May this correctly 559C be referred to as not necessary?”

“Most correctly.”

“Now, should we not say that these desires are conducive to spending money, and the others to making money because they are useful in relation to work?”

“And shall we say the same about sexual desires and the others?”

“The same.”

“Now, is it not the case that the fellow we called a drone just now, this man, according to us, is full of pleasures and desires of this sort, and is ruled by the unnecessary ones, while the miserly oligarchic type is ruled by the necessary ones?”

559D “Well,” said I, “let us go back again and say how the democratic type arises from the oligarchic. It seems to me to happen, in general, as follows.”

“Whenever a young man, brought up in the manner we just described, ill-educated and miserly, being a mere drone, gets a taste of honey, and keeps company with wild, clever creatures who are able to ply him with a whole variety of pleasures of all sorts and types – this, you may safely assume, 559E is the source of the change from the oligarchic system within himself to the democratic one.”

“It must be,” said he, “very much so.”

“Well then, just as the city changed when an external alliance came to the aid of one of its parts, like supporting like, so too does not the young man change when some form of external desire comes in turn to the aid of similar, corresponding, kindred desires within himself?”

“Entirely so.”

“And I presume that if some alliance provides assistance, in turn, to the oligarchic element within him, either from his father’s circle, or any other 560A relations who are censuring and criticising him, then faction, and counter faction, and internal warfare against himself, arises.”

“And sometimes, I imagine, the democratic element yields to the oligarchic, and some of the desires are destroyed while others are expelled, some shame arises in the soul of the young man, and its good order is restored once again.”

“Yes, this sometimes happens,” said he.

“At other times I believe, other desires, akin to those that have been expelled, arise in their place, because the father lacks knowledge of proper nurture, and these can become numerous 560B and strong.”

“Yes,” said he. “That is what is inclined to happen.”

“Do they not drag him back into the same bad company, and by getting together in secret give birth to a rabble?”

“Then finally, I believe, they seize the citadel of the young man’s soul, having noticed that it is devoid of understanding, noble pursuits, and words of truth, which are of course the very best watchmen and guardians in the minds of men whom the gods love.”

560C “Much the best,” said he.

“False and arrogant arguments and opinions then rush up and seize the self-same citadel of a man like this, usurping the place of the true ones.”

“With great energy,” said he.

“So, does he not go back once more to those Lotus Eaters, and live openly among them this time? And if any assistance from the relatives arrives to help the miserly aspect of his soul, do not those arrogant words close the gates in the walls of the kingly element within him, refuse to allow the alliance itself 560D to get through, or to accept the words of private persons who are older and wiser as ambassadors? They themselves do battle and prevail. Shame they rename as silliness, and they thrust it out as an exile, showing it no respect. Sound-mindedness they rename as unmanliness, and having trampled it in the mud, they cast this out too. Is it not the case that they convince him that measure, and orderly expenditure, are crude restraints on freedom, and with the help of lots of useless desires, they drive these beyond the frontier?”

“They do indeed.”

“And once they have somehow emptied and purged the soul they have occupied, 560E and are initiating with magnificent rites, they proceed at that stage to reinstate insolence, anarchy, wastefulness and shamelessness, in a blaze of light, accompanied by a vast procession, crowning them with garlands, singing their praises and calling them by sweet names. They refer to insolence as good education, anarchy as freedom, wastefulness as magnificence, 56IA and shamelessness as courage. Is this not somehow the way,” said I, “that he changes, as a young man, from being reared on the necessary desires to the liberation and licence that goes with unnecessary and unprofitable pleasures?”

“Yes,” said he, “that’s very clear.”

“After all this, I imagine, a person like this lives on, spending money, effort and time on the necessary and unnecessary pleasures in equal measure. But if he is fortunate, and his frenzy 561B does not go beyond all bounds, and he gets a bit older too, then once the great inner tumult has passed he may readmit some parts that he had expelled, and not give himself over entirely to the new arrivals. He proceeds to place the various pleasures on some sort of equal footing, handing authority over himself to any pleasure that comes along, in a sort of lottery, until it is satisfied, then he moves on to another, cherishing them all equally and showing no disrespect to any of them.”

“And he does not accept true argument,” said I, “nor admit it into that citadel, when someone says that there are pleasures that belong to noble 561C and good desires, and others that belong to base desires, and that the former should be pursued and honoured, while the others are to be restrained and kept in subjection. No, he shakes his head at all such arguments, and declares that these pleasures are all much the same, and equally worthy of honour.”

“Yes, indeed,” said he, “that is his position, and that is what he would do.”

“And that is how he passes his life,” said I, “from day to day, gratifying whatever desire comes along. At one moment he is a drunkard, charmed by sweet music; 561D next he becomes a water-drinker and goes on a diet; then he starts exercising, but he soon gets lazy and completely careless; and after that he seems to be engaged in philosophy. He often turns to politics, jumping up and saying or doing whatever occurs to him; and if he ever develops an admiration for military folk, he takes himself off in that direction; or he might admire business people and go that way instead. There is no order in his life, nor any compulsion to do anything, and yet he calls this life pleasant, free and blessed, and he holds to this through and through.”

561E “You have,” said he, “given a comprehensive description of a ‘legal equality man’.”

“And I think,” said I, “that he is a man of great variety, full of character traits aplenty, and this fellow, just like that city, is the fair and many-coloured one. Most men and women would admire his life, which contains so many models for systems of government and personal traits.”

“Yes,” he said, “that is him.”

562A “Well now, should we have aligned a person like this with the democracy, as a man who may correctly be referred to as democratic?”

“We should,” said he.

“Then,” said I, “all that is left for us to describe is the most beautiful form of government, and the most beautiful man: tyranny and the tyrant.”

“Certainly,” said he.

“Come on then, my dear friend, what does the manner of tyranny prove to be? Indeed, it is quite obvious that it develops out of a democracy.”

“It is.”

“Now, does tyranny arise from democracy in somewhat the same manner as democracy arose from oligarchy?”

“In what manner?”

562B “The good that they proposed,” said I, “which is the very basis of the oligarchy, was wealth. Is this not so?”

“Well, the insatiable desire for wealth, and the disregard of everything else in favour of making money, destroyed the oligarchy.”

“True,” said he.

“And whatever democracy defines as good, and the insatiable desire for this, is what breaks the democracy apart, is it not?”

“What, according to you, does it define as good?”

“Freedom,” said I. “For you would surely hear it said in the democratically governed city, 562C that this is its most precious possession, and that’s why it is the only city worth living in for anyone who is free by nature.”

“Yes, indeed,” said he. “That is what is said, and it is said often.”

“Well then,” said I, “as I was just about to say, the insatiable desire for this sort of thing, to the neglect of everything else, changes this form of government too, and puts it in a position where it needs tyranny.”

“How so?” he asked.

“This happens, I believe, whenever a democratically governed city with a thirst for freedom gets leaders who behave like bad 562D wine pourers. The city gets intoxicated by drinking too much unadulterated freedom, and unless the rulers are very obliging and provide the city with a lot of freedom, it punishes them and accuses them of being despicable oligarchs.”

“Yes,” said he, “that is what it does.”

“And,” said I, “it hurls insults at those who are obedient to their rulers, for being willing slaves and mere nobodies. But in private, and publicly too, it praises and honours any rulers who are like the subjects, and any subjects who are like rulers. Now, is it not inevitable that freedom in a city like this would extend to everything?”

562E “How could it do otherwise?”

“And this,” said I, “must also seep down into private households, my friend, until finally the anarchy springs up even among the wild beasts.”

“How are we saying this happens?” he asked.

“We would say, for example,” said I, “that a father gets accustomed to behaving like a child, and is afraid of his sons. A son behaves like a father, and feels neither shame nor fear 563A before his parents, so that he may, of course, be free. A foreigner residing in the city has equal status with a citizen, and a citizen has equal status with a foreigner, and the same applies to a visitor.”

“Indeed,” said he, “that is what happens.”

“It does,” said I, “and there are other trivial examples. A teacher in such a situation fears and flatters the pupils, while the pupils belittle their teachers and whoever else is put in charge of them. And the young become like their elders in all respects, competing with them in word and deed, while the elders come down to the level of 563B the young folk by being full of banter and wit, imitating the young, for fear of seeming disagreeable or oppressive.”

“And yet, my friend,” said I, “freedom in such a city reaches its extreme when slaves, male and female, are just as free as those who buy them. And I almost forgot to mention how much equality and freedom there is among women in relation to men, and among men in relation to women.”

563C “Should we not follow Aeschylus,” said he, “and say ‘whatever now comes to our lips’?”

“Certainly,” said I, “and accordingly I say that unless he had experienced it first hand, no one would believe how much freer the domesticated animals are in this city than in any other. Indeed, it is literally the case that, as the proverb says, ‘the bitches become just like their mistresses’. And indeed, horses and donkeys get used to going about with total freedom and solemnity, bumping into anyone they happen to meet on the road who doesn’t get out of their way, and everything else becomes just as full of freedom.”

563D “You are describing my own dream,” said he. “I experience this myself when I am making my way out into the countryside.”

“And,” said I,” the outcome of all of these factors combined together is the observable softness it produces in the souls of the citizens. Consequently, if anyone tries to introduce any subjugation to any authority at all, they get angry and cannot stand it. Indeed, I am sure you recognise that in the end they don’t even pay attention to the laws, written or unwritten, so that no one 563E may have any authority whatsoever over them.”

“Yes,” said he, “I know quite well.”

“Well, my friend,” said I, “this, in my view, is the beautiful and high-spirited source from which a tyranny springs up.”

“High-spirited indeed,” said he. “But what happens after this?”

“The same disease,” said I, “that developed in the oligarchy and destroyed it, also develops in the democracy, but it is more pervasive and more virulent on account of the licence it allows, and it dominates the democracy completely. In fact, anything that is done to excess tends to reciprocate with an enormous corresponding change in the opposite direction, in seasons, in plants 564A and in human bodies, and especially in forms of government.”

“Indeed, the excessive freedom seems to transform simply into excessive slavery, in the individual and in the city.”

“Yes, quite likely.”

“Then,” said I, “it is likely that tyranny arises from no other form of government besides democracy. From the very pinnacle of freedom comes the most extensive and savage slavery.”

“Yes,” said he, “that is reasonable.”

“But I do not think that is what you were asking,” said I. “I think you asked what kind of disease develops identically in an oligarchy 564B and in a democracy too and reduces it to slavery.”

“Well,” said I, “I was referring to that class of idle, spendthrift men, the most courageous of whom take the lead while the less vigorous among them follow. These we compare to drones, some having stings, others stingless.”

“And rightly so,” said he.

“Well,” said I, “these two cause trouble in any city when they arise there. 564C They are like phlegm and bile in the body which a good physician, and a lawgiver in the case of a city, must be careful about from afar, just as careful as a wise beekeeper, so that ideally they do not arise in the first place, and then if they do arise they are cut out as quickly as possible, along with the wax that surrounds them.”

“Yes, by Zeus,” said he, “entirely so.”

“Well,” said I, “to see what we want to see with greater precision, let us proceed in the following way.”

“In what way?”

“Let us use the argument to divide the democratically governed city into three, which 564D is how matters actually stand.One part is presumably this drone-like class that develops there, no less than it does in an oligarchy, because there is so much licence.”

“So it does.”

“But this class is much fiercer in a democracy than in an oligarchy.”

“In the oligarchy it gets no exercise and doesn’t get strong, because it is not respected, and it is excluded from positions of authority. But in the democracy, with few exceptions, this is presumably the dominant class, and the fiercest part of it is vocal and active, while the rest gather about the speaker’s platform, sit there buzzing, and will not stand for any opposition. 564E Consequently, with few exceptions, everything in such a form of government is managed by this class.”

“And another distinct part always emerges from the general population as follows.”

“Presumably, if everyone is involved in making money, those who are by nature most orderly generally become wealthier than everyone else.”

“Quite likely.”

“Well, that is where the drones find most honey, and it is easiest to extract from there.”

“Yes,” said he. “How could someone extract it from the others who have so little? “

“Then, I imagine, wealthy people like this are called ‘the drones’ feeding-ground’.”

“Pretty much,” said he.

565A “The ‘People’ would be the third class, consisting of easy-going types, those who work their own land and do not own a lot. They constitute the most numerous and most powerful group in a democracy when they gather in an assembly.”

“That is right,” said he, “but they are not inclined to do this very often unless they get a share of the honey.”

“Do they not always get a share,” said I, “as much as the people in charge are able to spare, since they confiscate property from those who have it, distribute some to the people, but hold on to most of it themselves?”

565B “Yes,” said he, “that is indeed how they get a share.”

“In that case, I imagine, those whose property is being confiscated are compelled to put up a defence by speaking in the assembly, and by taking whatever action they can.”

“Then an accusation against them is made by those on the other side, and even though they have no desire for revolution, they are accused of conspiring against the people and acting like oligarchs.”

“Finally, they see that the people are trying to do them an injustice, not intentionally but out of ignorance, because they have been deceived by various 565C slanderers. And at this stage they really do become oligarchs, whether they wish to do so or not. They are acting against their will, but the drone is stinging them and that is what produces this evil too.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“Then the two sides launch impeachments, lawsuits, and court cases against one another.”

“And in such a situation are not the people always inclined to put forward one person in particular as their own protector, whom they nurture and turn into a great man?”

“That is what they are inclined to do.”

“So this much is obvious,” said I. “Whenever a tyrant 565D springs up, the root from which he springs is a protectorate, and nothing else.”

“Yes, that is quite obvious.”

“So, what is the origin of the change from protector to tyrant? Or is it obvious that this happens once the protector begins to do the same thing as the fellow in the story about the sanctuary of Lycean Zeus[13] in Arcadia?”

“What story?” he asked.

“The story is that someone who tastes one piece of the innards of a human being, chopped up and mixed with the innards of other sacrificial animals, must necessarily turn into a wolf. Or have you not heard the account?”

565E “I have.”

“Now, does not someone who has become a protector of the people do something like this? Does he not take control of a faithful mob and show no restraint, even to shed the blood of his own people, making unjust accusations, the mob’s usual favourites? And does he not drag someone into court and commit murder, doing away with a man’s life, tasting the blood of his own kin with defiled lips and tongue? Does he not banish people, slay 566A them, and hint at the cancellation of debts and the redistribution of land? Now, is it not inevitable that such a person, after all this, is destined either to be destroyed by his enemies or to become a tyrant, and transform from a man to a wolf?”

“Quite inevitable,” said he.

“Then this fellow,” said I, “turns out to be someone who is at odds with those who own the wealth.”

“He does.”

“Now, if he is expelled and then returns in defiance of his enemies, will he not return as a finished tyrant?”

“But if they are unable to expel him, or to have him killed by spreading slander 566B in the city, they conspire to have him slain in secret and die a violent death.”

“Yes,” said he, “that is what tends to happen.”

“Then comes the request of the tyrant, all too familiar, the one that they all come up with at this stage. They ask the people for some bodyguards, so that the saviour of the people may be kept safe for them.”

“Indeed so,” said he.

“And they grant his request, I believe, because they are afraid on his behalf, although they are confident about their own situation.”

566C “Now, when the man with money sees and all this, a man who besides having money is accused of hating the common people, then, my friend, as the oracle given to Croesus says,

            He flees along the shore of many pebbled Hermus

            He abides not, nor is he ashamed to be a coward.”[14]

“Indeed,” said he, “he will not get a second chance to be ashamed.”

“And I imagine,” said I, “that he is done to death if he gets caught.”

“And yet that protector of the people does not of course lie fallen, ‘a great man brought down in his greatness’.[15] 566D No, he overthrows numerous adversaries, and stands in the controlling position of the city, a complete tyrant rather than a mere protector.”

“It must be so,” said he.

“Should we,” said I, “give an account of the happiness of this man, and of the city in which such a creature has arisen?”

“Yes, certainly,” said he. “Let us give the account.”

“Well,” said I, “initially, in the early days, does he not have a smile, and a warm greeting for anyone he meets? Does he not deny that he is a tyrant, 566E and make lots of promises in private and in public, free people from their debts, and distribute land to the people and to his own circle, and does he not pretend to be kind and gentle to everyone?”

“He must,” said he.

“And yet I believe once he is reconciled with some of his enemies in exile, and has destroyed the others, and all is quiet in that regard, he sets about waging some war or other constantly, so that the people will be in need of a leader.”

567A “He does this so that they will also be impoverished by paying taxes, forced to focus upon their day-to-day needs, and be less inclined to conspire against him.”


“And if he suspects that some people with exalted notions of freedom will not accept his authority, I believe he can come up with a pretext to destroy these people, by handing them over to the enemy. So, for all these reasons it is imperative that a tyrant stirs up war continuously.”


“And because he behaves like this, must he not expect to be increasingly hated by the citizens?”

“How can he not expect that?”

567B “And will not some of those who helped him to power, and are in power themselves, speak frankly to him and to one another, criticising the things that are happening – those who are brave enough to do so at any rate.”

“So, the tyrant needs to do away with all these people secretly if he is to have authority, until finally there is no one left, friend or foe, who is of any use to him.”

“So he must keep a sharp eye out to see who is courageous, who has a great mind, who is intelligent, 567C and who is wealthy. And such is his blessedness that whether he likes it or not, he must be an enemy to all these people, and conspire against them, until such time as he cleanses the city.”

“A fine cleansing that is,” said he.

“Yes,” said I, “it is the exact opposite of what physicians do to bodies. They remove the worst and leave the best, but the tyrant does the opposite.”

“Yes,” said he. “It seems he needs to do this if he is to rule the city.”

567D “So he is bound,” said I, “by a blessed necessity, which directs him either to live alongside people who are for the most part quite ordinary, or else not live at all.”

“He is,” said he.

“Now, is it not the case that the more he is hated by the citizens for doing all this, the greater his need for more bodyguards who are more trustworthy?”

“He has no alternative.”

“So who are these trustworthy people? And where will he source them from?”

“Lots of them will fly in of their own accord,” said he, “once he comes up with the money.”

“By the dog,” said I, “I think you are referring 567E to some more drones, foreign ones this time, of all varieties.”

“Yes,” said I. “I think that is true.”

“What about local ones? Would he be at all reluctant to take the slaves away from the citizens, set them free, and then make them part of his own circle of bodyguards?”

“He will be very keen to do so,” he said, “since men like this will be extremely loyal to him.”

“What a blessed thing this tyranny is,” said I, “if it relies upon such people as 568A trusted friends, having done away with their predecessors.”

“But of course he relies on people like this,” said he.

“And these companions of his admire him, of course,” said I. “And the new citizens associate with him, while the respectable citizens hate him and avoid him.”

“What else could they do?”

“It is no wonder,” said I, “that tragedy is generally thought to be wise, and Euripides is thought to excel in it.”

“Why so?”

“Because he uttered the following maxim, born of cogent thought: ‘tyrants are wise, 568B by associating with the wise’. And he meant of course that these people, with whom the tyrant is associating, are wise people.”

“And,” said he, “he praises the tyranny as the equal of the gods, and he himself says much else besides, as do the other poets.”

“And that,” said I, “is why the tragic poets, being wise, forgive us, and those with a form of government similar to ours, for not admitting them because they are advocates of tyranny.”

568C “I think,” said he, “that the more civilised among them do forgive us.”

“And yet, I believe, they go around the other cities, and by gathering crowds and paying for the services of good voices that are loud and persuasive, they influence those regimes in the direction of tyranny or democracy.”

“And besides this, will they not receive payment and be honoured too, mostly, as seems likely, by tyrannical regimes, and to a lesser extent by democracies? But the higher they climb along the ascending scale of systems of government, the more their honour 568D starts to flag, as if it were unable to go any further because it was out of breath.”

“But we have digressed here,” said I. “Let us go back to that noble, numerous, variegated and ever-changing army of the tyrant, and say how it is supported.”

“Obviously,” said he, “if there are sacred treasures in the city’s temples, he will spend these for as long as the proceeds from their sale is sufficient, 568E and make the people contribute less.”

“And what happens when this runs out?”

“Obviously,” said he, “he himself, his fellow drinkers and his companions, both male and female, will be supported from his father’s estate.”

“I understand,” said I. “The people who brought forth this tyrant will support the man himself and his companions too.”

“They need to,” said he, “very much so.”

“What are you saying?” I asked. “What if the people get angry and say that it is unjust for a grown-up son to be supported by his father, and that it should be the other way around – the father should be supported by the son? That was not why they created him 569A and put him in place, so that when he had grown up the people would then be enslaved by their own slaves, and end up supporting him, along with the slaves and a rabble of others too. They wanted to be liberated from the wealthy classes, and the so-called ‘noble and good’ people in their own city, with him as their protector. What if they now order him to get out of the city, himself and his companions, like a father driving an errant son out of the house, along with a rabble of revellers?”

569B “By Zeus,” said he, “the people would then realise what sort of beast they had brought forth, embraced and encouraged. They are now the weaker party driving out someone stronger.”

“What do you mean?” said I. “Would the tyrant dare to do violence to his father, and aim a blow at him if he was not compliant?”

“Yes,” said he, “after he had disarmed him.”

“You are saying,” said I, “that the tyrant is a parricide, and a harsh nurturer of the aged, and it seems that this would indeed be undisguised tyranny. And, as the saying goes, in fleeing from the smoke of slavery 569C to free men, the people would have fallen into the fire of total subjugation to slaves. Instead of that vast and immoderate freedom, they have donned a new robe, the harshest and most bitter slavery, slavery to slaves.”

“Yes, that is what happens,” said he, “very much so.”

“Well then,” said I, “would it be appropriate for us to claim that we have given a sufficiently detailed account of how tyranny follows after democracy, and what it is like then?”

“Sufficiently detailed indeed,” said he.

End Book VIII

[1] See 414d ff.

[2] See 445c–e.

[3] See 449b ff.

[4] See Odyssey xix.163.

[5] This is based on Iliad xvi.112–113.

[6] This text is difficult, and there is general disagreement about the value of Plato’s ‘entire geometrical number’. The most frequent value suggested is 216, but 3,600 and 12,960,000 have also been mooted.

[7] See Works and Days 109–202.

[8] See 415a ff.

[9] See Iliad vi.211.

[10] See 433a–b.

[11] Possibly an adaptation of Seven Against Thebes 451.

[12] Plutus, the god of wealth, was depicted by Aristophanes as having been blinded.

[13] The wolf-Zeus.

[14] See Herodotus 1.55. Croseus was a king of Lydia who was noted for his wealth. He asked the oracle at Delphi whether his reign would be long.

[15] See Iliad xvi.776.

PHIL103: Moral and Political Philosophy

summary of book 8 of the republic

Republic (Plato)

Read this summary of Plato's Republic. Pay particular attention to the summary of Books 6,7, and 8; the Theory of Universals; to the definition of justice; and to the Ideal City. What are the four types of government which Plato rejects, and why does he reject them?

Socrates discusses four unjust constitutions: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. He argues that a society will decay and pass through each government in succession, eventually becoming a tyranny, the most unjust regime of all.

The starting point is an imagined, alternate aristocracy (ruled by a philosopher-king); a just government dominated by the wisdom-loving element. When its social structure breaks down and enters civil war, it is replaced by timocracy. The timocratic government is dominated by the spirited element, with a ruling class of property-owners consisting of warriors or generals (Ancient Sparta is an example). As the emphasis on honor is compromised by wealth accumulation, it is replaced by oligarchy. The oligarchic government is dominated by the desiring element, in which the rich are the ruling class. The gap between rich and poor widens, culminating in a revolt by the underclass majority, establishing a democracy. Democracy emphasizes maximum freedom, so power is distributed evenly. It is also dominated by the desiring element, but in an undisciplined, unrestrained way. The populism of the democratic government leads to mob rule, fueled by fear of oligarchy, which a clever demagogue can exploit to take power and establish tyranny. In a tyrannical government, the city is enslaved to the tyrant, who uses his guards to remove the best social elements and individuals from the city to retain power (since they pose a threat), while leaving the worst. He will also provoke warfare to consolidate his position as leader. In this way, tyranny is the most unjust regime of all.

In parallel to this, Socrates considers the individual or soul that corresponds to each of these regimes. He describes how an aristocrat may become weak or detached from political and material affluence, and how his son will respond to this by becoming overly ambitious. The timocrat in turn may be defeated by the courts or vested interests; his son responds by accumulating wealth in order to gain power in society and defend himself against the same predicament, thereby becoming an oligarch. The oligarch's son will grow up with wealth without having to practice thrift or stinginess, and will be tempted and overwhelmed by his desires, so that he becomes democratic, valuing freedom above all.

The Republic

Guide cover image

44 pages • 1 hour read

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapters 1-2

Chapters 3-4

Chapters 5-6

Chapters 7-8

Chapters 9-10

Chapters 11-12

Chapters 13-14

Key Figures

Index of Terms

Important Quotes

Essay Topics

Discussion Questions

Summary and Study Guide

The Republic is a work written by ancient Greek philosopher Plato (427-347 BC) in 375 BC. In it, the central character Socrates talks with several other Greeks, including Plato’s brothers, about the nature of morality. The main question they ask is whether a moral life is its own reward. Does being moral intrinsically benefit people? In doing this, they also explore the nature of the ideal society. They look at the laws this society would have, the art that would be allowed, and who would rule it. Finally, they discuss how this ideal might degenerate and how this might serve as a metaphor for the degeneration of the human mind. This guide uses the Oxford University Press edition of the text (2008) translated by Robin Waterfield. This edition of The Republic is divided into fourteen chapters. Each analysis section will correspond to, and cover, two of these chapters.

In chapters one and two, Socrates, returning from a festival, gets involved in a discussion about morality. He rejects two conventional views: that morality is about paying one’s debts and that morality is about helping one’s friends. Socrates then confronts the claim that morality is a device to ensure that weak or oppressed people do not challenge authority. This leads into a broader discussion which will frame the rest of the text. Namely, does morality bring happiness irrespective of external rewards and punishments?

Get access to this full Study Guide and much more!

  • 7,650+ In-Depth Study Guides
  • 4,850+ Quick-Read Plot Summaries
  • Downloadable PDFs

To address this challenge, Socrates, in chapters three and four, examines morality within a hypothetical ideal human community. To do this, he discusses this community’s origins. These are rooted in economic need and entail a division of labour where a separate warrior caste called “guardians” are needed. Next, Socrates outlines the ideal education for the guardians . They should not be told stories that promote immorality or disharmony, but only those that promote virtuous and socially useful behaviour. Chapters five and six discuss the lives and responsibilities of the guardians. Theses would be communal and austere with no property ownership. The guardians themselves would be divided into two castes: rulers and auxiliaries. A “noble lie” or myth would be told to ensure that individuals remained within their allocated castes. Socrates argues that the division of these groups in society corresponds to the tripartite structure of the human mind. The rulers represent rationality, the auxiliaries passion, and the workers and farmers physical desire.

In chapters seven and eight the role of women and sexual relations in this community is established. Women should be allowed to occupy the positions of guardians provided they have the required character traits. Sex should also be tightly regulated. Only the best men and women would be allowed to procreate, at specific prescribed times. Socrates asks how this ideal constitution would come about. He suggests it would take “philosopher kings” to install it. These are people who love wisdom and are interested in the essential nature of things rather than superficial appearances. In chapters nine and ten, the essence and meaning of goodness is explored. Rejecting the idea that goodness consists in pleasure, Socrates tries to explain his own view via the allegory of the cave . Goodness consists in the sun outside the cave, but most people remain trapped inside in darkness, seeing only shadows against the cave wall. This serves as a metaphor for the idea that goodness exists in the ideal intelligible world of abstract ideas rather the sensible world of material objects. The education of philosopher kings is also outlined, which focuses on directing their minds away from material things toward contemplation of ideal forms.

The SuperSummary difference

  • 8x more resources than SparkNotes and CliffsNotes combined
  • Study Guides you won ' t find anywhere else
  • 100+ new titles every month

Chapters eleven and twelve look at how the ideal community might degenerate into lesser forms of government. These are timarchy, rule by status and martial values, oligarchy or plutocracy, rule by the rich, democracy, rule by the people, and dictatorship. These types of government also correspond to different personality types. The type corresponding to timarchy is passionate, to plutocracy avaricious, to democracy lacking in self-discipline, and to dictatorship debauched. Likewise, the hierarchy of how moral these systems and types are, is held to be identical to the extent of their happiness. Dictatorship is the least happy and the least moral. In chapters thirteen and fourteen, Socrates discusses the role of poetry in the ideal community. He argues that since poetry, as a form of representation, is removed from the truth, it undermines rationality and should be banned. Lastly, he examines the instrumental rewards gained for being moral. Arguing for the existence of an immortal soul, he claims that moral people will be rewarded in the afterlife and immoral ones punished. The book ends with an elaborate description of the afterlife and the process by which we are all reincarnated.

blurred text

Don't Miss Out!

Access Study Guide Now

Related Titles

Guide cover image

Allegory Of The Cave

Guide cover image

The Last Days of Socrates

Featured Collections

Ancient Greece

View Collection

Order & Chaos

Philosophy, Logic, & Ethics

Politics & Government

Required Reading Lists

School Book List Titles

Truth & Lies

Club Brugge

Club Brugge


  • Hans Vanaken ( 20' )
  • Denis Odoi ( 90'+4' )
  • Lucas Beltrán ( 85' Pen )

Match Formations

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 55 De Cuyper
  • 10 Vetlesen

Game Information

  • Halil Meler

Fiorentina advance to Conference League final

Match timeline, match commentary, europa conference league news, olympiacos ease past villa to reach europa conference league final, villa ready for season's biggest challenge against olympiakos, emery says, fiorentina book conference league final place with brugge draw.

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Your US State Privacy Rights
  • Children's Online Privacy Policy
  • Interest-Based Ads
  • About Nielsen Measurement
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information
  • Disney Ad Sales Site
  • Work for ESPN
  • Corrections

Simple Flying

Flight attendants face charges for smuggling $8 million through tsa's known crewmember lane.

The charges come after years of ongoing investigation into the alleged smuggling of drug money from the US to the Dominican Republic.

  • Four flight attendants have been arrested for allegedly smuggling drug money through New York JFK Airport.
  • Allegedly transported up to $8 million to the Dominican Republic.
  • The incident has highlighted concerns about airport security vulnerabilities.

Four flight attendants have been arrested and charged with smuggling up to $8 million of drug money from New York to the Dominican Republic. The four accused crew members allegedly took advantage of their access to the Known Crewmember (KCM) lane at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). This allowed them to circumnavigate regular airport security screening.

Speaking of the incident, US Attorney Damian Williams said,

"As alleged, these flight attendants smuggled millions of dollars of drug money and law enforcement funds that they thought was drug money from the United States to the Dominican Republic over many years by abusing their privileges as airline employees. Today’s charges should serve as a reminder to those who break the law by helping drug traffickers move their money that crime doesn’t pay.”

It is believed that all four of the flight attendants were employed by major airlines, including two who worked for Delta Air Lines . In a statement reported by NBC News , the carrier said that it "has cooperated fully with law enforcement in this investigation and will continue to do so."

Suspicions were raised back in December 2019 when an informant gave thousands of dollars that had come from narcotics trafficking to two of the crew members to take to the Dominican Republic. The investigation continued over several years, with the total amount allegedly transported reaching up to $8 million.

The Known Crewmember program

This incident may lead to questions being asked about the Known Crewmember program, which is available to crew members at several airports across the US. It is used by TSA agents to confirm the identity and employment status of airline crew members, making their journey through the airport security checkpoint more efficient. It was brought about as part of a joint initiative between Airlines for America (A4A) and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), and was later approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

In a statement from the Office of Homeland Special Investigations , Agent Ivan J. Arvelo, said,

“As alleged, the defendants knowingly smuggled large amounts of illicit money linked to the sale of narcotics, to include fentanyl, and took advantage of airport security checkpoints by using their trusted positions as flight attendants. This investigation has exposed critical vulnerabilities in the airline security industry and has illuminated methods that narcotics traffickers are utilizing."

Last year, following a surveillance operation, an American Airlines mechanic was convicted of trying to smuggle more than 25 lbs of cocaine from the US to Jamaica. The drugs had a street value of more than $235,000, and were found hidden in a compartment underneath the cockpit of the aircraft before it departed New York (JFK) for Montego Bay (MBJ).

Delta Air Lines' growing presence in the Dominican Republic

From John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Delta Air Lines flights to three destinations in the Dominican Republic - Santo Domingo (SDQ), Santiago de los Caballeros (STI), and Punta Cana (PUJ). In fact, JFK is the busiest international destination from all three of these airports.

JetBlue and American Airlines also have a significant presence in the New York - Dominican Republic market. Later this year, Delta Air Lines will expand its footprint even further in the Dominican Republic when it launches flights to Puerto Plata (POP) on the country's north coast from its hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

Arajet Says It Will Finally Launch US Flights This Year But Hurdles Remain

What do you think of this story? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

Screen Rant

10 a song of ice & fire characters that game of thrones was actually right to cut.


Your changes have been saved

Email Is sent

Please verify your email address.

You’ve reached your account maximum for followed topics.

10 Sitcom Running Gags That Got Old Quickly

You're wrong about game of thrones' worst season - 8 wasn't even second worst, 5 years ago, one of game of thrones' most hated episodes nailed the entire point of grrm's story.

  • Game of Thrones cut critical book narratives for TV adaptation, but not all omissions were detrimental.
  • TV show faced challenges as book series remained incomplete, making finding a proper ending difficult.
  • Removing certain book characters in GOT helped avoid unnecessary complexity, better fit TV format, and reach a successful conclusion.

The latter seasons of Game of Thrones infamously cut several critical narratives from the novels, though, in some cases, it was right to do so. The HBO drama was a cultural phenomenon in the 2010s, transforming the television landscape permanently in terms of scale and narrative risk. The series is adapted from George R.R. Martin's acclaimed fantasy series, A Song of Ice & Fire , which provided the TV interpretation with stellar source material from which to draw. However, the book series' incompletion was, unfortunately, a significant reason for its decline and the ultimate failure of the Game of Thrones ending .

George R.R. Martin has compared his writing method to that of a gardener rather than an architect. He plants seeds and allows them to grow fluidly without as much consideration for their role in the grand design. With that in mind, the two most recent A Song of Ice & Fire novels, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons , continued to add new, massive story threads . With that added complexity, finding a proper ending seems to have grown into an immense challenge, with The Winds of Winter taking over a decade to write .

The events of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons occur in the Game of Thrones TV series roughly around seasons 5 and 6, which is when the HBO drama began to shift away from the source material. While George R.R. Martin was still planting fresh seeds in his ever-growing garden, the TV show was already beginning to wind down, introducing fewer characters per season. Game of Thrones arguably had to cut certain book characters to avoid unnecessary complexity , better fit the television medium, and, for better or for worse, reach an ending.

Game of Thrones season 8 had plenty of problems and faced a major backlash, but it shouldn't be thought of as the worst season of HBO's hit series.

10 Quentyn Martell

The dornish prince's narrative would've felt insignificant.

One of the first red flags book readers saw in the Game of Thrones TV adaptation was the handling of Dorne in season 5. The schemes of various Martell family members are some of the most intricate, compelling aspects of George R.R. Martin's book series, and they were reduced to one of the show's silliest plotlines. Some great Dornish characters were wrongfully cut or simplified , though the absence of Quentyn Martell is rarely a complaint.

In A Dance with Dragons , Quentyn Martell is sent to Meereen by Doran Martell with the intent of bringing Daenerys to Dorne to broker an alliance. Quentyn attempts to tame Viserion and is ultimately killed by dragon fire, promptly ending his story. In the sprawling narrative of A Song of Ice & Fire , there's certainly a place for such insular narratives, and it undoubtedly speaks to the tone and aesthetic of Martin's world, subverting the hero's journey. However, it's not significant enough of a narrative to have taken up time on the series .

9 Young Griff

Adding another targaryen late in got would've been confusing.

In A Dance with Dragons , the character Young Griff is introduced, further complicating the impending war for the Iron Throne and Daenerys Targaryen's invasion of Westeros. Young Griff is revealed to allegedly be Prince Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell , who claims to have been rescued as a baby by Varys. Aegon, mentored by his adoptive father, Lord Jon Connington, assembles an army in the stormlands and prepares to make his claim for the throne. There are notable advantages to this plotline, but that doesn't mean it would work in the show.

There are notable advantages to this plotline, but that doesn't mean it would work in the show.

The introduction of Young Griff provides Varys with his own viable scheme, provides a distinct purpose for the Golden Company, and creates a direct threat to Daenerys, who could contribute to her downfall to becoming the Mad Queen, like in Game of Thrones . While this works excellently in novel form, integrating this narrative in season 7 without properly laying the foundation would've felt shoehorned . Adding another Targaryen that late in the series would be too enormous of a reveal to suddenly drop on television audiences. However, halfway merging the Aegon plotline with Jon Snow was also a mistake.

8 Jeyne Westerling

Replacing jeyne with talisa stark improved the red wedding twist.

One of the Game of Thrones changes that was genuinely successful was the omission of Jeyne Westerling, replacing Robb Stark's love interest with the original character Talisa. In the books, Jeyne nurses Robb to health after a battle, and a romantic relationship forms between them, much like in the show. However, Robb isn't a POV character in the books , and there's a distinct purpose in altering his storyline.

The Red Wedding is regarded as one of, if not the most, shocking television scene ever. While the moment was jaw-dropping in A Storm of Swords , the TV series constructed a more emotionally impactful value by focusing more on Robb and building a lovable relationship between him and Talisa . By developing the original character instead, Game of Thrones transformed the indistinct Jeyne Westerling into an unforgettable character with a heartbreaking demise.

Game of Thrones season 8 was extremely controversial, but one episode is clearly rooted in the themes of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.

7 The Kettleblack Brothers

The kettleblacks didn't add enough to the story.

One of the most fascinating aspects of reading A Song of Ice & Fire is the immense amount of detail George R.R. Martin puts into minor characters. Three characters of moderate significance in the King's Landing chapters are the Kettleblacks, Osney, Osmund, and Osfryd. Osney is the most significant of the three due to his relationship with Cersei in A Feast for Crows , which ties to the High Sparrow plotline from the TV series. Adding complications to the situation, the Kettleblacks are employed by Littlefinger .

The TV series reduced its cast to only the essential noble characters

As for the Kettleblacks being removed from Game of Thrones , it's most likely a matter of them simply not being vital enough to the story . As supporting military characters throughout Game of Thrones , such as Meryn Trant, Rodrik Cassel, or Ilyn Payne, many of them are killed off, with the latter just disappearing entirely. One of the primary differences with the books is that once these minor characters are killed off, they're often replaced. The TV series reduced its cast to only the essential noble characters, which makes sense given how many there are to keep track of.

6 Jeyne Poole

Sansa's season 5 plotline removed the need for jeyne poole.

Jeyne Poole is a Northern noblewoman and Sansa Stark's best friend from childhood. The changes to Sansa's storyline replace her potential plotline in the TV series, removing any need to bring her into the show. In season 5, Sansa is brought to Winterfell to wed Ramsay Bolton, which never happens in A Song of Ice & Fire , where Sansa was last seen still in The Vale in A Feast For Crows .

In the books, the Boltons believe that they've captured Arya Stark, who actually turns out to be Jeyne Poole. Poole, under the guise of Arya, essentially checks off all the same boxes as Sansa in season 5, including an escape from Winterfell with Theon at the end of A Dance with Dragons . While Sansa's season 5 narrative in the series was divisive, introducing Jeyne Poole would've been an unnecessary complexity that wouldn't have fit with the direction the show was headed.

5 Edric Storm

Combining edric's storm into gendry allowed a more concise cast.

It's revealed in Game of Thrones season 1 that King Robert Baratheon had several bastards , though the TV series only ever introduces Gendry. In George R.R. Martin's novels, much of Gendry's narrative belongs to another bastard named Edric Storm. In Game of Thrones season 3, when Gendry is brought to Dragonstone and is leeched for the blood ritual, the scenes are drawn directly from Edric's story in A Storm of Swords .

In A Song of Ice & Fire , Gendry doesn't do very much after joining the Brotherhood Without Banners. Similarly to the show, where Gendry disappears for several seasons, neither he nor Edric plays a significant role in A Feast for Crows or A Dance with Dragons . It's unclear what will happen to either of them going forward, but Game of Thrones managed to trim down their cast by reducing them to one character , which proved effective.

4 Lady Stoneheart

Keeping catelyn stark dead added to the red wedding's impact.

The Red Wedding is one of the most heartbreaking Game of Thrones moments , and part of the reason why was the definitive conclusion to beloved protagonists Robb and Catelyn Stark. In A Song of Ice & Fire , the massacre isn't actually the end for Catelyn Stark, who returns as Lady Stoneheart . In the epilogue of A Storm of Swords , the same book where the Red Wedding occurs, the Brotherhood Without Banners finds Catelyn's body after it's been retrieved from the river by the direwolf Nymeria.

Beric Dondarrion resurrects Catelyn Stark, giving his life for her, and she becomes Lady Stoneheart. In the following two books, she's seen roaming the Riverlands with the Brotherhood, killing Freys in vengeance for the Red Wedding. While this is an engaging storyline in the books, it might've detracted from the finality of the Red Wedding in the show , ruining its drama.

Tyrion's Changed Storyline Omitted The Need For Penny

Penny is a supporting character in A Dance with Dragons tied primarily to Tyrion Lannister's arc. She's a dwarf woman who forms a bond with Tyrion during his journey to Essos. She has a romantic affection for him, but he hasn't overcome the trauma of killing Tywin and the awful experience with Shae, which is depicted in Game of Thrones season 4.

The removal of Penny from the TV series is, in large part, due to the changes in Tyrion's character arc. In A Dance with Dragons , Tyrion undergoes an incredibly dark arc, dealing with depression, self-loathing, and a bitter hatred for his family. Since the TV show wanted Tyrion to remain a likable character , it eased through his travels without allowing for much character interaction outside of Varys and Jorah, allowing him to get to Daenerys and find a new purpose as quickly as possible.

2 Aeron Greyjoy

Aeron greyjoy is the least impactful greyjoy.

Aeron Greyjoy is technically in Game of Thrones season 6 during the kingsmoot where Euron becomes King of the Iron Islands, but he's barely in the series. In A Song of Ice & Fire , Aeron is one of Balon Greyjoy's younger brothers, who's a priest of the Drowned God. In A Feast for Crows , Aeron becomes a POV character who supports Victarion and opposes Asha and Euron Greyjoy as potential monarch candidates.

Asha Greyjoy was renamed Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones.

Aeron is a compelling character, but he's certainly the least impactful Greyjoy. Victarion is a character that could've improved Game of Thrones , adding some complexity to the Iron Islands plotline and ideally improving upon Euron. Euron Greyjoy is a far more complex character in the novels, and his adaptation was one of the many things that went wrong with Game of Thrones season 8 .

1 Arys Oakheart

Arys oakheart is a one-off pov character.

Arys Oakheart is a knight of the kingsguard sent with Myrcella Baratheon to protect her in Dorne. There, he's seduced by Princess Arianne Martell, who ropes him into her plans. In his first major conflict, he's quickly killed by Areo Hotah, begging the question of why Arys was a POV character to begin with. Again, Arys is a compelling character, but he's not particularly significant in the grand scheme of things.

Arianne Martell is a character Game of Thrones could have greatly benefited from, vastly improving the botched Dorne narrative. In the case of her appearance, Arys Oakheart could've been worthwhile as a brief minor character. Even still, he likely would've been framed as comedic relief in Game of Thrones , with the show honing in on his repeated breaking of kingsguard vows and, ultimately, his near-instant death to an actual warrior.

Game Of Thrones

*Availability in US

Not available

Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Game of Thrones is a TV series based on the book “A Song of Ice of Fire” by George R. R. Martin. It tells the story of the ongoing battle between the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros - as they fight for control of the coveted Iron Throne. Friction between the houses leads to full-scale war. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the far north. Amidst the war, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night's Watch, led by House Stark's Jon Snow, is the first to encounter icy horrors that threaten all realms of men. The series premiered on HBO in the United States on April 17, 2011, and quickly became one of the biggest event series in the "Golden Age" of TV. Winner of 38 Primetime Emmy Awards, Game of Thrones has attracted record viewership on HBO and has a broad, active, international fan base.

Game Of Thrones (2011)

Brittney Griner's book is raw recounting of fear, hopelessness while locked away in Russia

summary of book 8 of the republic

Midway through her book "Coming Home," Brittney Griner is informed of fellow American Trevor Reed’s release from a Russian penal colony. It is April 2022, and Reed is finally going home after being wrongfully detained for nearly three years. The news both elevates Griner’s spirit and breaks her heart, bringing her to tears. 

"Only someone who has lived, prayed, cried and slept in a Russian prison can truly comprehend the daily indignities, the deep isolation that weighs on your spirit," Griner writes. 

The memoir, which is available Tuesday, is a detailed accounting of Griner’s harrowing journey through a Russian legal system known for its corruption. Griner describes it as "a rigged system where the house always won." In February 2022, just a week before Russia invaded Ukraine, Griner was detained at the Moscow airport on her way back to UMMC Ekaterinburg, the Russian team she’d played with for nearly a decade during the WNBA offseason. 

In her carry-on, Griner had forgotten to remove two small vape pens with cannabis oil , a minor infraction in the U.S. but a major violation in Russia, a country known for draconian drug laws. Back home in Phoenix, a doctor had prescribed Griner medical marijuana for a litany of lingering sports injuries. Griner owns the mistake of leaving the cannabis oil in her bag, writing "I didn’t deserve the hell I was put through, and yet my forgetfulness on that February morning had cost us dearly."

If you followed Griner’s plight in real time, you’ll be familiar with all the major plot points. The details she shares are both jarring (she was forced to strip in prisons more than once, as Russian guards photographed her body) and bizarre (during her trial, as the court broke for judge deliberation, the prosecutor asked the American superstar for some photos). She passed time, and kept her sanity, by playing Sudoku and scribbling notes in the margins, a makeshift diary. She talks frankly about how often she’s felt other’d in her life − "when you’re born in a body like mine, a part of you dies every day, with every mean comment and lingering stare," she writes − and how her time in Russia was merely the latest, and cruelest, version of that reality.

It is a raw recounting of a hellish 10 months that ended with her release Dec. 8, 2022. Griner’s shame, fear, hopelessness and heartache are evident. 

And that’s why everyone should read it. 

As Griner’s story played out in the national media, many people − loudly and publicly − picked sides. Some fought for Griner’s release, posting daily to social media about how President Joe Biden’s administration needed to do whatever necessary to bring her home. Others railed against the idea of an openly gay, Black woman’s freedom being prioritized, especially if it came at the expense of trading a notorious Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout , who was serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. Some were furious that a basketball player was released while military and longer-term political prisoners, including Paul Whelan, were left behind. Wasn’t this just one more example of a sports star receiving special treatment? 

Polarization might make headlines but the truth is, the majority of Americans probably are somewhere in the middle. 

It’s likely that there are thousands of Americans across the country who are happy Griner is home , but aren’t quite sure how they feel about the finer points of the situation − about if the trade was "fair," about if she needed to go to Russia in the first place, about if she deserved her punishment for possessing the cannabis oil.

But read her book, a 300-plus page deep dive on an experience many of us wouldn’t have been able to recover from, and I suspect your empathy will grow − for her and all of humanity. 

Maybe you won’t be lining up to get season tickets to the Phoenix Mercury or purchasing a purple Griner jersey, but I bet you'll see the world differently. Especially if you followed the story only tangentially and know bits and pieces but not all the horrifying details. I’m thinking it will make you say out loud, "I’ve never thought of it that way." 

Maybe your thoughts on Griner will remain complicated. But maybe your thoughts on other issues related to her − pay equity, the reality of being Black and gay in both Russia and America, protesting the national anthem in the name of social justice − will broaden. Maybe you won’t subscribe to WNBA league pass, but you’ll decide to support your local high school team. Maybe you’ll speak up at the Thanksgiving table when someone says something crass about the LGBTQ community. Maybe the next time you see a tall, awkward kid who is obviously struggling to fit in, you’ll offer them a kind smile and encouraging word. 

It’s rare that change happens overnight, for a major event to immediately turn the public consciousness. But the ripple effect in life is real, and if Griner’s honesty helps even a dozen readers see the world differently, that impact, her impact, will be felt for years. 

Griner's book will get people talking to each other, and that's when real change begins.

Email Lindsay Schnell at [email protected] or follow her on social media  @Lindsay_Schnell  


  1. The Republic by Plato

    summary of book 8 of the republic

  2. The Republic Summary and Analysis (like SparkNotes)

    summary of book 8 of the republic

  3. The Republic Book Summary (PDF) by Plato

    summary of book 8 of the republic

  4. Summary of Book X:The Republic by Plato in Hindi

    summary of book 8 of the republic

  5. The Republic: Introduction by Alexander Nehamas (Everyman's Library

    summary of book 8 of the republic

  6. Plato: The Republic

    summary of book 8 of the republic


  1. The Republic

  2. The Republic

  3. part 8, Republic Day 2017

  4. The Republic l The Republic (book vii) by Plato Summary in Hindi l B.A-5th Sem. Unit -ll Paper -1st

  5. The Republic VII

  6. Quick Reading Update & Some April Book Reviews (One of Last Year's Top Books & 2024 Prize Nominees)


  1. The Republic Book 8 Summary & Analysis

    The wealthy and the poor are at war with each other, so that there are really two cities. The Oligarchic man is motivated only by greed. Eventually the Oligarchy increases poverty until the poor rebel. The flaw of Oligarchy is an emphasis on wealth as the virtue, which Socrates thinks is really a vice.

  2. Book VIII

    Now (in Book VIII) Socrates returns to his examples of unjust societies and unjust men. Socrates argues that there are four main types of unjust states: timocracy, oligarchy (plutocracy), democracy, and tyranny (despotism). Socrates says that timocracy is the closest to the Ideal State that we have thus far experienced; the others descend in ...

  3. The Republic Book VIII Summary and Analysis

    The Republic Summary and Analysis of Book VIII. "Four Forms of Government". Summary: Book VIII. The discourse begins with Socrates heralding their need to backtrack a little. Now that the true State and true human have been clearly illustrated, the philosophers can revive the thread introduced earlier in the dialogue: that on the nature of ...

  4. The Republic Book VIII Summary

    In fact, if the tyrant's father refuses to support his son, the tyrant will probably kill him. Well, now Socrates and the gang have seen how a government can change from being totally free to totally enslaving. Free summary and analysis of Book VIII in Plato's The Republic that won't make you snore. We promise.

  5. The Republic Book 8 Summary

    Summary. At the beginning of Book 8 Socrates summarizes the main features of the perfect state, and Glaucon recalls Socrates had previously promised the company to discuss the four principal forms of defective, or less-than-perfect, states. In Book 8 Socrates discusses these forms, or political constitutions, in turn. They are timocracy (rule for the sake of honor), oligarchy (rule of the few ...

  6. Book 8

    Book 8. Persons in the dialogue: Socrates, Glaucon, Adeimantus, Polemarchus, Cephalus, Thrasymachus, Cleitophon, and others. 543A "So there it is. This has now been agreed, Glaucon. For a city to be governed at its very best, women are to be shared, children are to be shared, and all education too. And in like manner, all activities are to be ...

  7. Plato's Republic Book 8 Summary

    Book 8 Summary. Last Updated January 27, 2023. In book 8 of Plato 's Republic, Socrates describes four ways in which a city may be governed: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. Each of ...

  8. The Republic by Plato Plot Summary

    The Republic Summary. Next. Book 1. After a religious festival, Socrates is invited to the house of a wealthy merchant named Cephalus. There, Socrates joins a discussion with Cephalus, Polemarchus, Glaucon, Adeimantus, and the Sophist Thrasymachus about the nature of justice. Socrates soon proves that Cephalus and Polemarchus' conception of ...

  9. Plato: The Republic

    Summary and analysis of Book 8 of Plato's Republic. Also, a discussion of Aristocracy, Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy, and Tyranny.Book 7 summary and analys...

  10. Republic (Plato): Book VIII

    Print book. Print this chapter. Back to '2.1: Individual and the State: Plato's Crito\' Republic (Plato) Mark as completed Read this summary of Plato's Republic. Pay particular attention to the summary of Books 6,7, and 8; the Theory of Universals; to the definition of justice; and to the Ideal City. ...

  11. Book Summary

    Book Summary. The major intent of the debate in the Republic is to determine an extended definition of what constitutes Justice in a given state, whether or not a concept of Justice may be determined by citizens in a given state at the time that Plato is writing, and how Justice may be accomplished in a given state (how laws might be enacted ...

  12. The Republic Summary and Study Guide

    for only $0.70/week. Subscribe. Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "The Republic" by Plato. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

  13. The Internet Classics Archive

    Buy Books and CD-ROMs: Help : The Republic By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett. The Republic has been divided into the following sections: The Introduction [54k] Book I [99k] Book II [92k] Book III [109k] Book IV [93k] Book V [112k] Book VI [95k] Book VII [92k] Book VIII [92k]

  14. The Republic Book Summaries

    Summary. Book 1. The narrator Socrates recalls a visit he made the previous day to Piraeus, the port of Athens. He went there to see the ... Read More. Book 2. Despite the inconclusive end of the previous book, Glaucon and Adeimantus, Plato's brothers, are eager to pursue the que... Read More. Book 3.

  15. The Republic

    The middle books of the Republic contain a sketch of Plato's views on knowledge and reality and feature the famous figures of the Sun and the Cave, among others.The position occupied by the form of the Good in the intelligible world is the same as that occupied by the Sun in the visible world: thus, the Good is responsible for the being and intelligibility of the objects of thought.

  16. The Republic Book 9 Summary & Analysis

    The just man is governed by reason and seeks knowledge. The Timocratic man is governed by his spirit and seeks honor. The third type, governed by his desires, seeks profit and satisfaction. He is a combination of the Democratic, the Oligarchic and the Tyrant. Each of these would describe himself as the happiest of men, because there are three ...

  17. Fiorentina 1-1 Club Brugge (May 8, 2024) Final Score

    21 Josef Bursik. 68 Chemsdine Talbi. 65 Joaquin Seys. 29 Nordin Jackers. 62 Shion Homma. 58 Jorne Spileers. Match Stats. Game summary of the Fiorentina vs. Club Brugge Uefa Europa Conference ...

  18. Flight Attendants Face Charges For Smuggling $8 Million Through TSA's

    Four flight attendants have been arrested and charged with smuggling up to $8 million of drug money from New York to the Dominican Republic. The four accused crew members allegedly took advantage of their access to the Known Crewmember (KCM) lane at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). This allowed them to circumnavigate regular airport ...

  19. 10 The Wheel Of Time Characters Whose Stories Are Changed Most From The

    Liandrin, who looks set to be one of the major villains in The Wheel of Time's future, is one character whose story is drastically changed from the book series.One key difference is the storyline in The Wheel of Time season 2 that sees Liandrin desperately trying to become Nynaeve's personal tutor at the White Tower.In the books, Liandrin sees teaching as below her, and spends most of the one ...

  20. The Republic Book 1 Summary & Analysis

    Summary. Analysis. Socrates walks to the Athens harbor, the Piraeus, with Glaucon, Plato's brother. Socrates and Glaucon are invited to Polemarchus ' house by Polemarchus and Adeimantus. They join Thrasymachus and Polemarchus' father, Cephalus. Socrates asks Cephalus if age is as much a hardship as people say. Cephalus says old age brings peace ...

  21. 10 A Song Of Ice & Fire Characters That Game Of Thrones Was Actually

    One of the first red flags book readers saw in the Game of Thrones TV adaptation was the handling of Dorne in season 5.The schemes of various Martell family members are some of the most intricate, compelling aspects of George R.R. Martin's book series, and they were reduced to one of the show's silliest plotlines.

  22. Brittney Griner book 'Coming Home' a raw look at time jailed in Russia

    USA TODAY. 0:04. 0:56. Midway through her book "Coming Home," Brittney Griner is informed of fellow American Trevor Reed's release from a Russian penal colony. It is April 2022, and Reed is ...

  23. Meduza, OneRepublic e Leony lançam FIRE, a canção oficial do UEFA EURO

    Article summary. Uma campanha nas redes sociais (#LightYourFire), inspirada na canção, também dará aos adeptos a oportunidade de ganhar bilhetes para a final do UEFA EURO 2024.

  24. The Republic Book 7 Summary & Analysis

    Initially dazzled by the sun 's light, he realizes that the objects he sees in the light are the real versions of the shadows he saw on the walls of the cave. It is education that allows the philosopher to move through the stages of the Line. It is education, leading to knowledge, that truly frees the prisoner from the cave.