Then, I said, reflect. Of the three individuals, which has the greatest
experience of all the pleasures which we enumerated? Has the lover of
gain, in learning the nature of essential truth, greater experience of the
pleasure of knowledge than the philosopher has of the pleasure of gain?
The philosopher, he replied, has greatly the advantage; for he has of
necessity always known the taste of the other pleasures from his childhood
upwards: but the lover of gain in all his experience has not of necessity
tasted--or, I should rather say, even had he desired, could hardly have
tasted--the sweetness of learning and knowing truth.
Then the lover of wisdom has a great advantage over the lover of gain, for
he has a double experience?
Yes, very great.
Again, has he greater experience of the pleasures of honour, or the lover
of honour of the pleasures of wisdom?
Nay, he said, all three are honoured in proportion as they attain their
object; for the rich man and the brave man and the wise man alike have
their crowd of admirers, and as they all receive honour they all have
experience of the pleasures of honour; but the delight which is to be found
in the knowledge of true being is known to the philosopher only.
His experience, then, will enable him to judge better than any one?
And he is the only one who has wisdom as well as experience?
Further, the very faculty which is the instrument of judgment is not
possessed by the covetous or ambitious man, but only by the philosopher?
Reason, with whom, as we were saying, the decision ought to rest.
And reasoning is peculiarly his instrument?
If wealth and gain were the criterion, then the praise or blame of the
lover of gain would surely be the most trustworthy?
Or if honour or victory or courage, in that case the judgment of the
ambitious or pugnacious would be the truest?
But since experience and wisdom and reason are the judges--
The only inference possible, he replied, is that pleasures which are
approved by the lover of wisdom and reason are the truest.
And so we arrive at the result, that the pleasure of the intelligent part
of the soul is the pleasantest of the three, and that he of us in whom this
is the ruling principle has the pleasantest life.
Unquestionably, he said, the wise man speaks with authority when he
approves of his own life.
And what does the judge affirm to be the life which is next, and the
pleasure which is next?
Clearly that of the soldier and lover of honour; who is nearer to himself
than the money-maker.
Last comes the lover of gain?
Very true, he said.
Twice in succession, then, has the just man overthrown the unjust in this
conflict; and now comes the third trial, which is dedicated to Olympian
Zeus the saviour: a sage whispers in my ear that no pleasure except that
of the wise is quite true and pure--all others are a shadow only; and
surely this will prove the greatest and most decisive of falls?
Yes, the greatest; but will you explain yourself?
I will work out the subject and you shall answer my questions.
Say, then, is not pleasure opposed to pain?
And there is a neutral state which is neither pleasure nor pain?
A state which is intermediate, and a sort of repose of the soul about
either--that is what you mean?
You remember what people say when they are sick?
What do they say?
That after all nothing is pleasanter than health. But then they never knew
this to be the greatest of pleasures until they were ill.
Yes, I know, he said.
And when persons are suffering from acute pain, you must have heard them
say that there is nothing pleasanter than to get rid of their pain?
And there are many other cases of suffering in which the mere rest and
cessation of pain, and not any positive enjoyment, is extolled by them as
the greatest pleasure?
Yes, he said; at the time they are pleased and well content to be at rest.
Again, when pleasure ceases, that sort of rest or cessation will be
Doubtless, he said.
Then the intermediate state of rest will be pleasure and will also be pain?
So it would seem.
But can that which is neither become both?
I should say not.
And both pleasure and pain are motions of the soul, are they not?
But that which is neither was just now shown to be rest and not motion, and
in a mean between them?
How, then, can we be right in supposing that the absence of pain is
pleasure, or that the absence of pleasure is pain?
This then is an appearance only and not a reality; that is to say, the rest
is pleasure at the moment and in comparison of what is painful, and painful
in comparison of what is pleasant; but all these representations, when
tried by the test of true pleasure, are not real but a sort of imposition?
That is the inference.
Look at the other class of pleasures which have no antecedent pains and you
will no longer suppose, as you perhaps may at present, that pleasure is
only the cessation of pain, or pain of pleasure.
What are they, he said, and where shall I find them?
There are many of them: take as an example the pleasures of smell, which
are very great and have no antecedent pains; they come in a moment, and
when they depart leave no pain behind them.
Most true, he said.
Let us not, then, be induced to believe that pure pleasure is the cessation
of pain, or pain of pleasure.
Still, the more numerous and violent pleasures which reach the soul through
the body are generally of this sort--they are reliefs of pain.
That is true.
And the anticipations of future pleasures and pains are of a like nature?
Shall I give you an illustration of them?
Let me hear.
You would allow, I said, that there is in nature an upper and lower and
And if a person were to go from the lower to the middle region, would he
not imagine that he is going up; and he who is standing in the middle and
sees whence he has come, would imagine that he is already in the upper
region, if he has never seen the true upper world?
To be sure, he said; how can he think otherwise?
But if he were taken back again he would imagine, and truly imagine, that
he was descending?
All that would arise out of his ignorance of the true upper and middle and
Then can you wonder that persons who are inexperienced in the truth, as
they have wrong ideas about many other things, should also have wrong ideas
about pleasure and pain and the intermediate state; so that when they are
only being drawn towards the painful they feel pain and think the pain
which they experience to be real, and in like manner, when drawn away from
pain to the neutral or intermediate state, they firmly believe that they
have reached the goal of satiety and pleasure; they, not knowing pleasure,
err in contrasting pain with the absence of pain, which is like contrasting
black with grey instead of white--can you wonder, I say, at this?
No, indeed; I should be much more disposed to wonder at the opposite.
Look at the matter thus:--Hunger, thirst, and the like, are inanitions of
the bodily state?
And ignorance and folly are inanitions of the soul?
And food and wisdom are the corresponding satisfactions of either?
And is the satisfaction derived from that which has less or from that which
has more existence the truer?
Clearly, from that which has more.
What classes of things have a greater share of pure existence in your
judgment--those of which food and drink and condiments and all kinds of
sustenance are examples, or the class which contains true opinion and
knowledge and mind and all the different kinds of virtue? Put the question
in this way:--Which has a more pure being--that which is concerned with the
invariable, the immortal, and the true, and is of such a nature, and is
found in such natures; or that which is concerned with and found in the
variable and mortal, and is itself variable and mortal?
Far purer, he replied, is the being of that which is concerned with the
And does the essence of the invariable partake of knowledge in the same
degree as of essence?
Yes, of knowledge in the same degree.
And of truth in the same degree?
And, conversely, that which has less of truth will also have less of
Then, in general, those kinds of things which are in the service of the
body have less of truth and essence than those which are in the service of
And has not the body itself less of truth and essence than the soul?
What is filled with more real existence, and actually has a more real
existence, is more really filled than that which is filled with less real
existence and is less real?
And if there be a pleasure in being filled with that which is according to
nature, that which is more really filled with more real being will more
really and truly enjoy true pleasure; whereas that which participates in
less real being will be less truly and surely satisfied, and will
participate in an illusory and less real pleasure?
Those then who know not wisdom and virtue, and are always busy with
gluttony and sensuality, go down and up again as far as the mean; and in
this region they move at random throughout life, but they never pass into
the true upper world; thither they neither look, nor do they ever find
their way, neither are they truly filled with true being, nor do they taste
of pure and abiding pleasure. Like cattle, with their eyes always looking
down and their heads stooping to the earth, that is, to the dining-table,
they fatten and feed and breed, and, in their excessive love of these
delights, they kick and butt at one another with horns and hoofs which are
made of iron; and they kill one another by reason of their insatiable lust.
For they fill themselves with that which is not substantial, and the part
of themselves which they fill is also unsubstantial and incontinent.
Verily, Socrates, said Glaucon, you describe the life of the many like an
Their pleasures are mixed with pains--how can they be otherwise? For they
are mere shadows and pictures of the true, and are coloured by contrast,
which exaggerates both light and shade, and so they implant in the minds of
fools insane desires of themselves; and they are fought about as
Stesichorus says that the Greeks fought about the shadow of Helen at Troy
in ignorance of the truth.
Something of that sort must inevitably happen.
And must not the like happen with the spirited or passionate element of the
soul? Will not the passionate man who carries his passion into action, be
in the like case, whether he is envious and ambitious, or violent and
contentious, or angry and discontented, if he be seeking to attain honour
and victory and the satisfaction of his anger without reason or sense?
Yes, he said, the same will happen with the spirited element also.
Then may we not confidently assert that the lovers of money and honour,
when they seek their pleasures under the guidance and in the company of
reason and knowledge, and pursue after and win the pleasures which wisdom
shows them, will also have the truest pleasures in the highest degree which
is attainable to them, inasmuch as they follow truth; and they will have
the pleasures which are natural to them, if that which is best for each one
is also most natural to him?
Yes, certainly; the best is the most natural.
And when the whole soul follows the philosophical principle, and there is
no division, the several parts are just, and do each of them their own
business, and enjoy severally the best and truest pleasures of which they
But when either of the two other principles prevails, it fails in attaining
its own pleasure, and compels the rest to pursue after a pleasure which is
a shadow only and which is not their own?
And the greater the interval which separates them from philosophy and
reason, the more strange and illusive will be the pleasure?
And is not that farthest from reason which is at the greatest distance from
law and order?
And the lustful and tyrannical desires are, as we saw, at the greatest
And the royal and orderly desires are nearest?
Then the tyrant will live at the greatest distance from true or natural
pleasure, and the king at the least?
But if so, the tyrant will live most unpleasantly, and the king most
Would you know the measure of the interval which separates them?
Will you tell me?
There appear to be three pleasures, one genuine and two spurious: now the
transgression of the tyrant reaches a point beyond the spurious; he has run
away from the region of law and reason, and taken up his abode with certain
slave pleasures which are his satellites, and the measure of his
inferiority can only be expressed in a figure.
How do you mean?
I assume, I said, that the tyrant is in the third place from the oligarch;
the democrat was in the middle?
And if there is truth in what has preceded, he will be wedded to an image
of pleasure which is thrice removed as to truth from the pleasure of the
And the oligarch is third from the royal; since we count as one royal and
Yes, he is third.
Then the tyrant is removed from true pleasure by the space of a number
which is three times three?
The shadow then of tyrannical pleasure determined by the number of length
will be a plane figure.
And if you raise the power and make the plane a solid, there is no
difficulty in seeing how vast is the interval by which the tyrant is parted
from the king.
Yes; the arithmetician will easily do the sum.
Or if some person begins at the other end and measures the interval by
which the king is parted from the tyrant in truth of pleasure, he will find
him, when the multiplication is completed, living 729 times more
pleasantly, and the tyrant more painfully by this same interval.
What a wonderful calculation! And how enormous is the distance which
separates the just from the unjust in regard to pleasure and pain!
Yet a true calculation, I said, and a number which nearly concerns human
life, if human beings are concerned with days and nights and months and
years. (729 NEARLY equals the number of days and nights in the year.)
Yes, he said, human life is certainly concerned with them.
Then if the good and just man be thus superior in pleasure to the evil and
unjust, his superiority will be infinitely greater in propriety of life and
in beauty and virtue?
Well, I said, and now having arrived at this stage of the argument, we may
revert to the words which brought us hither: Was not some one saying that
injustice was a gain to the perfectly unjust who was reputed to be just?
Yes, that was said.
Now then, having determined the power and quality of justice and injustice,
let us have a little conversation with him.
What shall we say to him?
Let us make an image of the soul, that he may have his own words presented
before his eyes.
Of what sort?
An ideal image of the soul, like the composite creations of ancient
mythology, such as the Chimera or Scylla or Cerberus, and there are many
others in which two or more different natures are said to grow into one.
There are said of have been such unions.
Then do you now model the form of a multitudinous, many-headed monster,
having a ring of heads of all manner of beasts, tame and wild, which he is
able to generate and metamorphose at will.
You suppose marvellous powers in the artist; but, as language is more
pliable than wax or any similar substance, let there be such a model as you
Suppose now that you make a second form as of a lion, and a third of a man,
the second smaller than the first, and the third smaller than the second.
That, he said, is an easier task; and I have made them as you say.
And now join them, and let the three grow into one.
That has been accomplished.
Next fashion the outside of them into a single image, as of a man, so that
he who is not able to look within, and sees only the outer hull, may
believe the beast to be a single human creature.
I have done so, he said.
And now, to him who maintains that it is profitable for the human creature
to be unjust, and unprofitable to be just, let us reply that, if he be
right, it is profitable for this creature to feast the multitudinous
monster and strengthen the lion and the lion-like qualities, but to starve
and weaken the man, who is consequently liable to be dragged about at the
mercy of either of the other two; and he is not to attempt to familiarize
or harmonize them with one another--he ought rather to suffer them to fight
and bite and devour one another.
Certainly, he said; that is what the approver of injustice says.
To him the supporter of justice makes answer that he should ever so speak
and act as to give the man within him in some way or other the most
complete mastery over the entire human creature. He should watch over the
many-headed monster like a good husbandman, fostering and cultivating the
gentle qualities, and preventing the wild ones from growing; he should be
making the lion-heart his ally, and in common care of them all should be
uniting the several parts with one another and with himself.
Yes, he said, that is quite what the maintainer of justice say.
And so from every point of view, whether of pleasure, honour, or advantage,
the approver of justice is right and speaks the truth, and the disapprover
is wrong and false and ignorant?
Yes, from every point of view.
Come, now, and let us gently reason with the unjust, who is not
intentionally in error. 'Sweet Sir,' we will say to him, 'what think you
of things esteemed noble and ignoble? Is not the noble that which subjects
the beast to the man, or rather to the god in man; and the ignoble that
which subjects the man to the beast?' He can hardly avoid saying Yes--can
Not if he has any regard for my opinion.
But, if he agree so far, we may ask him to answer another question: 'Then
how would a man profit if he received gold and silver on the condition that
he was to enslave the noblest part of him to the worst? Who can imagine
that a man who sold his son or daughter into slavery for money, especially
if he sold them into the hands of fierce and evil men, would be the gainer,
however large might be the sum which he received? And will any one say
that he is not a miserable caitiff who remorselessly sells his own divine
being to that which is most godless and detestable? Eriphyle took the
necklace as the price of her husband's life, but he is taking a bribe in
order to compass a worse ruin.'
Yes, said Glaucon, far worse--I will answer for him.
Has not the intemperate been censured of old, because in him the huge
multiform monster is allowed to be too much at large?
And men are blamed for pride and bad temper when the lion and serpent
element in them disproportionately grows and gains strength?
And luxury and softness are blamed, because they relax and weaken this same
creature, and make a coward of him?
And is not a man reproached for flattery and meanness who subordinates the
spirited animal to the unruly monster, and, for the sake of money, of which
he can never have enough, habituates him in the days of his youth to be
trampled in the mire, and from being a lion to become a monkey?
True, he said.
And why are mean employments and manual arts a reproach? Only because they
imply a natural weakness of the higher principle; the individual is unable
to control the creatures within him, but has to court them, and his great
study is how to flatter them.
Such appears to be the reason.
And therefore, being desirous of placing him under a rule like that of the
best, we say that he ought to be the servant of the best, in whom the
Divine rules; not, as Thrasymachus supposed, to the injury of the servant,
but because every one had better be ruled by divine wisdom dwelling within
him; or, if this be impossible, then by an external authority, in order
that we may be all, as far as possible, under the same government, friends
True, he said.
And this is clearly seen to be the intention of the law, which is the ally
of the whole city; and is seen also in the authority which we exercise over
children, and the refusal to let them be free until we have established in
them a principle analogous to the constitution of a state, and by
cultivation of this higher element have set up in their hearts a guardian
and ruler like our own, and when this is done they may go their ways.
Yes, he said, the purpose of the law is manifest.
From what point of view, then, and on what ground can we say that a man is
profited by injustice or intemperance or other baseness, which will make
him a worse man, even though he acquire money or power by his wickedness?
From no point of view at all.
What shall he profit, if his injustice be undetected and unpunished? He
who is undetected only gets worse, whereas he who is detected and punished
has the brutal part of his nature silenced and humanized; the gentler
element in him is liberated, and his whole soul is perfected and ennobled
by the acquirement of justice and temperance and wisdom, more than the body
ever is by receiving gifts of beauty, strength and health, in proportion as
the soul is more honourable than the body.
Certainly, he said.
To this nobler purpose the man of understanding will devote the energies of
his life. And in the first place, he will honour studies which impress
these qualities on his soul and will disregard others?
Clearly, he said.
In the next place, he will regulate his bodily habit and training, and so
far will he be from yielding to brutal and irrational pleasures, that he
will regard even health as quite a secondary matter; his first object will
be not that he may be fair or strong or well, unless he is likely thereby
to gain temperance, but he will always desire so to attemper the body as to
preserve the harmony of the soul?
Certainly he will, if he has true music in him.
And in the acquisition of wealth there is a principle of order and harmony
which he will also observe; he will not allow himself to be dazzled by the
foolish applause of the world, and heap up riches to his own infinite harm?
Certainly not, he said.
He will look at the city which is within him, and take heed that no
disorder occur in it, such as might arise either from superfluity or from
want; and upon this principle he will regulate his property and gain or
spend according to his means.
And, for the same reason, he will gladly accept and enjoy such honours as
he deems likely to make him a better man; but those, whether private or
public, which are likely to disorder his life, he will avoid?
Then, if that is his motive, he will not be a statesman.
By the dog of Egypt, he will! in the city which is his own he certainly
will, though in the land of his birth perhaps not, unless he have a divine
I understand; you mean that he will be a ruler in the city of which we are
the founders, and which exists in idea only; for I do not believe that
there is such an one anywhere on earth?
In heaven, I replied, there is laid up a pattern of it, methinks, which he
who desires may behold, and beholding, may set his own house in order. But
whether such an one exists, or ever will exist in fact, is no matter; for
he will live after the manner of that city, having nothing to do with any
I think so, he said.
End Book IX.