With these words I was thinking that I had made an end of the discussion;
but the end, in truth, proved to be only a beginning. For Glaucon, who is
always the most pugnacious of men, was dissatisfied at Thrasymachus'
retirement; he wanted to have the battle out. So he said to me: Socrates,
do you wish really to persuade us, or only to seem to have persuaded us,
that to be just is always better than to be unjust?
I should wish really to persuade you, I replied, if I could.
Then you certainly have not succeeded. Let me ask you now:--How would you
arrange goods--are there not some which we welcome for their own sakes, and
independently of their consequences, as, for example, harmless pleasures
and enjoyments, which delight us at the time, although nothing follows from
I agree in thinking that there is such a class, I replied.
Is there not also a second class of goods, such as knowledge, sight,
health, which are desirable not only in themselves, but also for their
Certainly, I said.
And would you not recognize a third class, such as gymnastic, and the care
of the sick, and the physician's art; also the various ways of
money-making--these do us good but we regard them as disagreeable; and no
one would choose them for their own sakes, but only for the sake of some
reward or result which flows from them?
There is, I said, this third class also. But why do you ask?
Because I want to know in which of the three classes you would place
In the highest class, I replied,--among those goods which he who would be
happy desires both for their own sake and for the sake of their results.
Then the many are of another mind; they think that justice is to be
reckoned in the troublesome class, among goods which are to be pursued for
the sake of rewards and of reputation, but in themselves are disagreeable
and rather to be avoided.
I know, I said, that this is their manner of thinking, and that this was
the thesis which Thrasymachus was maintaining just now, when he censured
justice and praised injustice. But I am too stupid to be convinced by him.
I wish, he said, that you would hear me as well as him, and then I shall
see whether you and I agree. For Thrasymachus seems to me, like a snake,
to have been charmed by your voice sooner than he ought to have been; but
to my mind the nature of justice and injustice have not yet been made
clear. Setting aside their rewards and results, I want to know what they
are in themselves, and how they inwardly work in the soul. If you, please,
then, I will revive the argument of Thrasymachus. And first I will speak
of the nature and origin of justice according to the common view of them.
Secondly, I will show that all men who practise justice do so against their
will, of necessity, but not as a good. And thirdly, I will argue that
there is reason in this view, for the life of the unjust is after all
better far than the life of the just--if what they say is true, Socrates,
since I myself am not of their opinion. But still I acknowledge that I am
perplexed when I hear the voices of Thrasymachus and myriads of others
dinning in my ears; and, on the other hand, I have never yet heard the
superiority of justice to injustice maintained by any one in a satisfactory
way. I want to hear justice praised in respect of itself; then I shall be
satisfied, and you are the person from whom I think that I am most likely
to hear this; and therefore I will praise the unjust life to the utmost of
my power, and my manner of speaking will indicate the manner in which I
desire to hear you too praising justice and censuring injustice. Will you
say whether you approve of my proposal?
Indeed I do; nor can I imagine any theme about which a man of sense would
oftener wish to converse.
I am delighted, he replied, to hear you say so, and shall begin by
speaking, as I proposed, of the nature and origin of justice.
They say that to do injustice is, by nature, good; to suffer injustice,
evil; but that the evil is greater than the good. And so when men have
both done and suffered injustice and have had experience of both, not being
able to avoid the one and obtain the other, they think that they had better
agree among themselves to have neither; hence there arise laws and mutual
covenants; and that which is ordained by law is termed by them lawful and
just. This they affirm to be the origin and nature of justice;--it is a
mean or compromise, between the best of all, which is to do injustice and
not be punished, and the worst of all, which is to suffer injustice without
the power of retaliation; and justice, being at a middle point between the
two, is tolerated not as a good, but as the lesser evil, and honoured by
reason of the inability of men to do injustice. For no man who is worthy
to be called a man would ever submit to such an agreement if he were able
to resist; he would be mad if he did. Such is the received account,
Socrates, of the nature and origin of justice.
Now that those who practise justice do so involuntarily and because they
have not the power to be unjust will best appear if we imagine something of
this kind: having given both to the just and the unjust power to do what
they will, let us watch and see whither desire will lead them; then we
shall discover in the very act the just and unjust man to be proceeding
along the same road, following their interest, which all natures deem to be
their good, and are only diverted into the path of justice by the force of
law. The liberty which we are supposing may be most completely given to
them in the form of such a power as is said to have been possessed by
Gyges, the ancestor of Croesus the Lydian. According to the tradition,
Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia; there was a great
storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he
was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening,
where, among other marvels, he beheld a hollow brazen horse, having doors,
at which he stooping and looking in saw a dead body of stature, as appeared
to him, more than human, and having nothing on but a gold ring; this he
took from the finger of the dead and reascended. Now the shepherds met
together, according to custom, that they might send their monthly report
about the flocks to the king; into their assembly he came having the ring
on his finger, and as he was sitting among them he chanced to turn the
collet of the ring inside his hand, when instantly he became invisible to
the rest of the company and they began to speak of him as if he were no
longer present. He was astonished at this, and again touching the ring he
turned the collet outwards and reappeared; he made several trials of the
ring, and always with the same result--when he turned the collet inwards he
became invisible, when outwards he reappeared. Whereupon he contrived to
be chosen one of the messengers who were sent to the court; whereas soon as
he arrived he seduced the queen, and with her help conspired against the
king and slew him, and took the kingdom. Suppose now that there were two
such magic rings, and the just put on one of them and the unjust the other;
no man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand
fast in justice. No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when
he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and
lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he
would, and in all respects be like a God among men. Then the actions of
the just would be as the actions of the unjust; they would both come at
last to the same point. And this we may truly affirm to be a great proof
that a man is just, not willingly or because he thinks that justice is any
good to him individually, but of necessity, for wherever any one thinks
that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust. For all men believe in
their hearts that injustice is far more profitable to the individual than
justice, and he who argues as I have been supposing, will say that they are
right. If you could imagine any one obtaining this power of becoming
invisible, and never doing any wrong or touching what was another's, he
would be thought by the lookers-on to be a most wretched idiot, although
they would praise him to one another's faces, and keep up appearances with
one another from a fear that they too might suffer injustice. Enough of
Now, if we are to form a real judgment of the life of the just and unjust,
we must isolate them; there is no other way; and how is the isolation to be
effected? I answer: Let the unjust man be entirely unjust, and the just
man entirely just; nothing is to be taken away from either of them, and
both are to be perfectly furnished for the work of their respective lives.
First, let the unjust be like other distinguished masters of craft; like
the skilful pilot or physician, who knows intuitively his own powers and
keeps within their limits, and who, if he fails at any point, is able to
recover himself. So let the unjust make his unjust attempts in the right
way, and lie hidden if he means to be great in his injustice: (he who is
found out is nobody:) for the highest reach of injustice is, to be deemed
just when you are not. Therefore I say that in the perfectly unjust man we
must assume the most perfect injustice; there is to be no deduction, but we
must allow him, while doing the most unjust acts, to have acquired the
greatest reputation for justice. If he have taken a false step he must be
able to recover himself; he must be one who can speak with effect, if any
of his deeds come to light, and who can force his way where force is
required by his courage and strength, and command of money and friends.
And at his side let us place the just man in his nobleness and simplicity,
wishing, as Aeschylus says, to be and not to seem good. There must be no
seeming, for if he seem to be just he will be honoured and rewarded, and
then we shall not know whether he is just for the sake of justice or for
the sake of honours and rewards; therefore, let him be clothed in justice
only, and have no other covering; and he must be imagined in a state of
life the opposite of the former. Let him be the best of men, and let him
be thought the worst; then he will have been put to the proof; and we shall
see whether he will be affected by the fear of infamy and its consequences.
And let him continue thus to the hour of death; being just and seeming to
be unjust. When both have reached the uttermost extreme, the one of
justice and the other of injustice, let judgment be given which of them is
the happier of the two.
Heavens! my dear Glaucon, I said, how energetically you polish them up for
the decision, first one and then the other, as if they were two statues.
I do my best, he said. And now that we know what they are like there is no
difficulty in tracing out the sort of life which awaits either of them.
This I will proceed to describe; but as you may think the description a
little too coarse, I ask you to suppose, Socrates, that the words which
follow are not mine.--Let me put them into the mouths of the eulogists of
injustice: They will tell you that the just man who is thought unjust will
be scourged, racked, bound--will have his eyes burnt out; and, at last,
after suffering every kind of evil, he will be impaled: Then he will
understand that he ought to seem only, and not to be, just; the words of
Aeschylus may be more truly spoken of the unjust than of the just. For the
unjust is pursuing a reality; he does not live with a view to appearances--
he wants to be really unjust and not to seem only:--
'His mind has a soil deep and fertile,
Out of which spring his prudent counsels.'
In the first place, he is thought just, and therefore bears rule in the
city; he can marry whom he will, and give in marriage to whom he will; also
he can trade and deal where he likes, and always to his own advantage,
because he has no misgivings about injustice; and at every contest, whether
in public or private, he gets the better of his antagonists, and gains at
their expense, and is rich, and out of his gains he can benefit his
friends, and harm his enemies; moreover, he can offer sacrifices, and
dedicate gifts to the gods abundantly and magnificently, and can honour the
gods or any man whom he wants to honour in a far better style than the
just, and therefore he is likely to be dearer than they are to the gods.
And thus, Socrates, gods and men are said to unite in making the life of
the unjust better than the life of the just.
I was going to say something in answer to Glaucon, when Adeimantus, his
brother, interposed: Socrates, he said, you do not suppose that there is
nothing more to be urged?
Why, what else is there? I answered.
The strongest point of all has not been even mentioned, he replied.
Well, then, according to the proverb, 'Let brother help brother'--if he
fails in any part do you assist him; although I must confess that Glaucon
has already said quite enough to lay me in the dust, and take from me the
power of helping justice.
Nonsense, he replied. But let me add something more: There is another
side to Glaucon's argument about the praise and censure of justice and
injustice, which is equally required in order to bring out what I believe
to be his meaning. Parents and tutors are always telling their sons and
their wards that they are to be just; but why? not for the sake of justice,
but for the sake of character and reputation; in the hope of obtaining for
him who is reputed just some of those offices, marriages, and the like
which Glaucon has enumerated among the advantages accruing to the unjust
from the reputation of justice. More, however, is made of appearances by
this class of persons than by the others; for they throw in the good
opinion of the gods, and will tell you of a shower of benefits which the
heavens, as they say, rain upon the pious; and this accords with the
testimony of the noble Hesiod and Homer, the first of whom says, that the
gods make the oaks of the just--
'To bear acorns at their summit, and bees in the middle;
And the sheep are bowed down with the weight of their fleeces,'
and many other blessings of a like kind are provided for them. And Homer
has a very similar strain; for he speaks of one whose fame is--
'As the fame of some blameless king who, like a god,
Maintains justice; to whom the black earth brings forth
Wheat and barley, whose trees are bowed with fruit,
And his sheep never fail to bear, and the sea gives him fish.'
Still grander are the gifts of heaven which Musaeus and his son vouchsafe
to the just; they take them down into the world below, where they have the
saints lying on couches at a feast, everlastingly drunk, crowned with
garlands; their idea seems to be that an immortality of drunkenness is the
highest meed of virtue. Some extend their rewards yet further; the
posterity, as they say, of the faithful and just shall survive to the third
and fourth generation. This is the style in which they praise justice.
But about the wicked there is another strain; they bury them in a slough in
Hades, and make them carry water in a sieve; also while they are yet living
they bring them to infamy, and inflict upon them the punishments which
Glaucon described as the portion of the just who are reputed to be unjust;
nothing else does their invention supply. Such is their manner of praising
the one and censuring the other.
Once more, Socrates, I will ask you to consider another way of speaking
about justice and injustice, which is not confined to the poets, but is
found in prose writers. The universal voice of mankind is always declaring
that justice and virtue are honourable, but grievous and toilsome; and that
the pleasures of vice and injustice are easy of attainment, and are only
censured by law and opinion. They say also that honesty is for the most
part less profitable than dishonesty; and they are quite ready to call
wicked men happy, and to honour them both in public and private when they
are rich or in any other way influential, while they despise and overlook
those who may be weak and poor, even though acknowledging them to be better
than the others. But most extraordinary of all is their mode of speaking
about virtue and the gods: they say that the gods apportion calamity and
misery to many good men, and good and happiness to the wicked. And
mendicant prophets go to rich men's doors and persuade them that they have
a power committed to them by the gods of making an atonement for a man's
own or his ancestor's sins by sacrifices or charms, with rejoicings and
feasts; and they promise to harm an enemy, whether just or unjust, at a
small cost; with magic arts and incantations binding heaven, as they say,
to execute their will. And the poets are the authorities to whom they
appeal, now smoothing the path of vice with the words of Hesiod;--
'Vice may be had in abundance without trouble; the way is smooth and her
dwelling-place is near. But before virtue the gods have set toil,'
and a tedious and uphill road: then citing Homer as a witness that the
gods may be influenced by men; for he also says:--
'The gods, too, may be turned from their purpose; and men pray to them and
avert their wrath by sacrifices and soothing entreaties, and by libations
and the odour of fat, when they have sinned and transgressed.'
And they produce a host of books written by Musaeus and Orpheus, who were
children of the Moon and the Muses--that is what they say--according to
which they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but
whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by
sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the
service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries,
and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one
knows what awaits us.
He proceeded: And now when the young hear all this said about virtue and
vice, and the way in which gods and men regard them, how are their minds
likely to be affected, my dear Socrates,--those of them, I mean, who are
quickwitted, and, like bees on the wing, light on every flower, and from
all that they hear are prone to draw conclusions as to what manner of
persons they should be and in what way they should walk if they would make
the best of life? Probably the youth will say to himself in the words of
'Can I by justice or by crooked ways of deceit ascend a loftier tower which
may be a fortress to me all my days?'
For what men say is that, if I am really just and am not also thought just
profit there is none, but the pain and loss on the other hand are
unmistakeable. But if, though unjust, I acquire the reputation of justice,
a heavenly life is promised to me. Since then, as philosophers prove,
appearance tyrannizes over truth and is lord of happiness, to appearance I
must devote myself. I will describe around me a picture and shadow of
virtue to be the vestibule and exterior of my house; behind I will trail
the subtle and crafty fox, as Archilochus, greatest of sages, recommends.
But I hear some one exclaiming that the concealment of wickedness is often
difficult; to which I answer, Nothing great is easy. Nevertheless, the
argument indicates this, if we would be happy, to be the path along which
we should proceed. With a view to concealment we will establish secret
brotherhoods and political clubs. And there are professors of rhetoric who
teach the art of persuading courts and assemblies; and so, partly by
persuasion and partly by force, I shall make unlawful gains and not be
punished. Still I hear a voice saying that the gods cannot be deceived,
neither can they be compelled. But what if there are no gods? or, suppose
them to have no care of human things--why in either case should we mind
about concealment? And even if there are gods, and they do care about us,
yet we know of them only from tradition and the genealogies of the poets;
and these are the very persons who say that they may be influenced and
turned by 'sacrifices and soothing entreaties and by offerings.' Let us be
consistent then, and believe both or neither. If the poets speak truly,
why then we had better be unjust, and offer of the fruits of injustice; for
if we are just, although we may escape the vengeance of heaven, we shall
lose the gains of injustice; but, if we are unjust, we shall keep the
gains, and by our sinning and praying, and praying and sinning, the gods
will be propitiated, and we shall not be punished. 'But there is a world
below in which either we or our posterity will suffer for our unjust
deeds.' Yes, my friend, will be the reflection, but there are mysteries
and atoning deities, and these have great power. That is what mighty
cities declare; and the children of the gods, who were their poets and
prophets, bear a like testimony.
On what principle, then, shall we any longer choose justice rather than the
worst injustice? when, if we only unite the latter with a deceitful regard
to appearances, we shall fare to our mind both with gods and men, in life
and after death, as the most numerous and the highest authorities tell us.
Knowing all this, Socrates, how can a man who has any superiority of mind
or person or rank or wealth, be willing to honour justice; or indeed to
refrain from laughing when he hears justice praised? And even if there
should be some one who is able to disprove the truth of my words, and who
is satisfied that justice is best, still he is not angry with the unjust,
but is very ready to forgive them, because he also knows that men are not
just of their own free will; unless, peradventure, there be some one whom
the divinity within him may have inspired with a hatred of injustice, or
who has attained knowledge of the truth--but no other man. He only blames
injustice who, owing to cowardice or age or some weakness, has not the
power of being unjust. And this is proved by the fact that when he obtains
the power, he immediately becomes unjust as far as he can be.
The cause of all this, Socrates, was indicated by us at the beginning of
the argument, when my brother and I told you how astonished we were to find
that of all the professing panegyrists of justice--beginning with the
ancient heroes of whom any memorial has been preserved to us, and ending
with the men of our own time--no one has ever blamed injustice or praised
justice except with a view to the glories, honours, and benefits which flow
from them. No one has ever adequately described either in verse or prose
the true essential nature of either of them abiding in the soul, and
invisible to any human or divine eye; or shown that of all the things of a
man's soul which he has within him, justice is the greatest good, and
injustice the greatest evil. Had this been the universal strain, had you
sought to persuade us of this from our youth upwards, we should not have
been on the watch to keep one another from doing wrong, but every one would
have been his own watchman, because afraid, if he did wrong, of harbouring
in himself the greatest of evils. I dare say that Thrasymachus and others
would seriously hold the language which I have been merely repeating, and
words even stronger than these about justice and injustice, grossly, as I
conceive, perverting their true nature. But I speak in this vehement
manner, as I must frankly confess to you, because I want to hear from you
the opposite side; and I would ask you to show not only the superiority
which justice has over injustice, but what effect they have on the
possessor of them which makes the one to be a good and the other an evil to
him. And please, as Glaucon requested of you, to exclude reputations; for
unless you take away from each of them his true reputation and add on the
false, we shall say that you do not praise justice, but the appearance of
it; we shall think that you are only exhorting us to keep injustice dark,
and that you really agree with Thrasymachus in thinking that justice is
another's good and the interest of the stronger, and that injustice is a
man's own profit and interest, though injurious to the weaker. Now as you
have admitted that justice is one of that highest class of goods which are
desired indeed for their results, but in a far greater degree for their own
sakes--like sight or hearing or knowledge or health, or any other real and
natural and not merely conventional good--I would ask you in your praise of
justice to regard one point only: I mean the essential good and evil which
justice and injustice work in the possessors of them. Let others praise
justice and censure injustice, magnifying the rewards and honours of the
one and abusing the other; that is a manner of arguing which, coming from
them, I am ready to tolerate, but from you who have spent your whole life
in the consideration of this question, unless I hear the contrary from your
own lips, I expect something better. And therefore, I say, not only prove
to us that justice is better than injustice, but show what they either of
them do to the possessor of them, which makes the one to be a good and the
other an evil, whether seen or unseen by gods and men.
I had always admired the genius of Glaucon and Adeimantus, but on hearing
these words I was quite delighted, and said: Sons of an illustrious
father, that was not a bad beginning of the Elegiac verses which the
admirer of Glaucon made in honour of you after you had distinguished
yourselves at the battle of Megara:--
'Sons of Ariston,' he sang, 'divine offspring of an illustrious hero.'
The epithet is very appropriate, for there is something truly divine in
being able to argue as you have done for the superiority of injustice, and
remaining unconvinced by your own arguments. And I do believe that you are
not convinced--this I infer from your general character, for had I judged
only from your speeches I should have mistrusted you. But now, the greater
my confidence in you, the greater is my difficulty in knowing what to say.
For I am in a strait between two; on the one hand I feel that I am unequal
to the task; and my inability is brought home to me by the fact that you
were not satisfied with the answer which I made to Thrasymachus, proving,
as I thought, the superiority which justice has over injustice. And yet I
cannot refuse to help, while breath and speech remain to me; I am afraid
that there would be an impiety in being present when justice is evil spoken
of and not lifting up a hand in her defence. And therefore I had best give
such help as I can.
Glaucon and the rest entreated me by all means not to let the question
drop, but to proceed in the investigation. They wanted to arrive at the
truth, first, about the nature of justice and injustice, and secondly,
about their relative advantages. I told them, what I really thought, that
the enquiry would be of a serious nature, and would require very good eyes.
Seeing then, I said, that we are no great wits, I think that we had better
adopt a method which I may illustrate thus; suppose that a short-sighted
person had been asked by some one to read small letters from a distance;
and it occurred to some one else that they might be found in another place
which was larger and in which the letters were larger--if they were the
same and he could read the larger letters first, and then proceed to the
lesser--this would have been thought a rare piece of good fortune.
Very true, said Adeimantus; but how does the illustration apply to our
I will tell you, I replied; justice, which is the subject of our enquiry,
is, as you know, sometimes spoken of as the virtue of an individual, and
sometimes as the virtue of a State.
True, he replied.
And is not a State larger than an individual?
Then in the larger the quantity of justice is likely to be larger and more
easily discernible. I propose therefore that we enquire into the nature of
justice and injustice, first as they appear in the State, and secondly in
the individual, proceeding from the greater to the lesser and comparing
That, he said, is an excellent proposal.
And if we imagine the State in process of creation, we shall see the
justice and injustice of the State in process of creation also.
I dare say.
When the State is completed there may be a hope that the object of our
search will be more easily discovered.
Yes, far more easily.
But ought we to attempt to construct one? I said; for to do so, as I am
inclined to think, will be a very serious task. Reflect therefore.
I have reflected, said Adeimantus, and am anxious that you should proceed.
A State, I said, arises, as I conceive, out of the needs of mankind; no one
is self-sufficing, but all of us have many wants. Can any other origin of
a State be imagined?
There can be no other.
Then, as we have many wants, and many persons are needed to supply them,
one takes a helper for one purpose and another for another; and when these
partners and helpers are gathered together in one habitation the body of
inhabitants is termed a State.
True, he said.
And they exchange with one another, and one gives, and another receives,
under the idea that the exchange will be for their good.
Then, I said, let us begin and create in idea a State; and yet the true
creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention.
Of course, he replied.
Now the first and greatest of necessities is food, which is the condition
of life and existence.
The second is a dwelling, and the third clothing and the like.
And now let us see how our city will be able to supply this great demand:
We may suppose that one man is a husbandman, another a builder, some one
else a weaver--shall we add to them a shoemaker, or perhaps some other
purveyor to our bodily wants?
The barest notion of a State must include four or five men.
And how will they proceed? Will each bring the result of his labours into
a common stock?--the individual husbandman, for example, producing for
four, and labouring four times as long and as much as he need in the
provision of food with which he supplies others as well as himself; or will
he have nothing to do with others and not be at the trouble of producing
for them, but provide for himself alone a fourth of the food in a fourth of
the time, and in the remaining three fourths of his time be employed in
making a house or a coat or a pair of shoes, having no partnership with
others, but supplying himself all his own wants?
Adeimantus thought that he should aim at producing food only and not at
Probably, I replied, that would be the better way; and when I hear you say
this, I am myself reminded that we are not all alike; there are diversities
of natures among us which are adapted to different occupations.
And will you have a work better done when the workman has many occupations,
or when he has only one?
When he has only one.
Further, there can be no doubt that a work is spoilt when not done at the
For business is not disposed to wait until the doer of the business is at
leisure; but the doer must follow up what he is doing, and make the
business his first object.
And if so, we must infer that all things are produced more plentifully and
easily and of a better quality when one man does one thing which is natural
to him and does it at the right time, and leaves other things.
Then more than four citizens will be required; for the husbandman will not
make his own plough or mattock, or other implements of agriculture, if they
are to be good for anything. Neither will the builder make his tools--and
he too needs many; and in like manner the weaver and shoemaker.
Then carpenters, and smiths, and many other artisans, will be sharers in
our little State, which is already beginning to grow?
Yet even if we add neatherds, shepherds, and other herdsmen, in order that
our husbandmen may have oxen to plough with, and builders as well as
husbandmen may have draught cattle, and curriers and weavers fleeces and
hides,--still our State will not be very large.
That is true; yet neither will it be a very small State which contains all
Then, again, there is the situation of the city--to find a place where
nothing need be imported is wellnigh impossible.
Then there must be another class of citizens who will bring the required
supply from another city?
But if the trader goes empty-handed, having nothing which they require who
would supply his need, he will come back empty-handed.
That is certain.
And therefore what they produce at home must be not only enough for
themselves, but such both in quantity and quality as to accommodate those
from whom their wants are supplied.
Then more husbandmen and more artisans will be required?
Not to mention the importers and exporters, who are called merchants?
Then we shall want merchants?
And if merchandise is to be carried over the sea, skilful sailors will also
be needed, and in considerable numbers?
Yes, in considerable numbers.
Then, again, within the city, how will they exchange their productions? To
secure such an exchange was, as you will remember, one of our principal
objects when we formed them into a society and constituted a State.
Clearly they will buy and sell.
Then they will need a market-place, and a money-token for purposes of
Suppose now that a husbandman, or an artisan, brings some production to
market, and he comes at a time when there is no one to exchange with him,--
is he to leave his calling and sit idle in the market-place?
Not at all; he will find people there who, seeing the want, undertake the
office of salesmen. In well-ordered states they are commonly those who are
the weakest in bodily strength, and therefore of little use for any other
purpose; their duty is to be in the market, and to give money in exchange
for goods to those who desire to sell and to take money from those who
desire to buy.
This want, then, creates a class of retail-traders in our State. Is not
'retailer' the term which is applied to those who sit in the market-place
engaged in buying and selling, while those who wander from one city to
another are called merchants?
Yes, he said.
And there is another class of servants, who are intellectually hardly on
the level of companionship; still they have plenty of bodily strength for
labour, which accordingly they sell, and are called, if I do not mistake,
hirelings, hire being the name which is given to the price of their labour.
Then hirelings will help to make up our population?
And now, Adeimantus, is our State matured and perfected?
I think so.
Where, then, is justice, and where is injustice, and in what part of the
State did they spring up?
Probably in the dealings of these citizens with one another. I cannot
imagine that they are more likely to be found any where else.
I dare say that you are right in your suggestion, I said; we had better
think the matter out, and not shrink from the enquiry.
Let us then consider, first of all, what will be their way of life, now
that we have thus established them. Will they not produce corn, and wine,
and clothes, and shoes, and build houses for themselves? And when they are
housed, they will work, in summer, commonly, stripped and barefoot, but in
winter substantially clothed and shod. They will feed on barley-meal and
flour of wheat, baking and kneading them, making noble cakes and loaves;
these they will serve up on a mat of reeds or on clean leaves, themselves
reclining the while upon beds strewn with yew or myrtle. And they and
their children will feast, drinking of the wine which they have made,
wearing garlands on their heads, and hymning the praises of the gods, in
happy converse with one another. And they will take care that their
families do not exceed their means; having an eye to poverty or war.
But, said Glaucon, interposing, you have not given them a relish to their