Plato’s Republic, Plato
Plato’s Republic
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The Republic is a Socratic dialogue, authored by Plato around 375 BC, concerning justice, the order and character of the just city-state, and the just man. It is Plato's best-known work, and has proven to be one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically. In the dialogue, Socrates talks with various Athenians and foreigners about the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust man. They consider the natures of existing regimes and then propose a series of different, hypothetical cities in comparison, culminating in Kallipolis (Καλλίπολις), a utopian city-state ruled by a philosopher king. They also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher and of poetry in society. The dialogue's setting seems to be during the Peloponnesian War.

The Republic


Translated by Benjamin Jowett

Plato surrounded by students in his Academy in Athens

Book I

Socrates - Glaucon

I WENT down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the son of Ariston,that I might offer up my prayers to the goddess; and also because Iwanted to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, whichwas a new thing. I was delighted with the procession of theinhabitants; but that of the Thracians was equally, if not more,beautiful. When we had finished our prayers and viewed the spectacle,we turned in the direction of the city; and at that instant Polemarchusthe son of Cephalus chanced to catch sight of us from a distance as wewere starting on our way home, and told his servant to run and bid uswait for him. The servant took hold of me by the cloak behind, andsaid: Polemarchus desires you to wait.

I turned round, and asked him where his master was.

There he is, said the youth, coming after you, if you will only wait.

Certainly we will, said Glaucon; and in a few minutes Polemarchusappeared, and with him Adeimantus, Glaucon’s brother, Niceratus the sonof Nicias, and several others who had been at the procession.

Socrates - Polemarchus - Glaucon - Adeimantus

Polemarchus said to me: I perceive, Socrates, that you and ourcompanion are already on your way to the city.

You are not far wrong, I said.

But do you see, he rejoined, how many we are?

Of course.

And are you stronger than all these? for if not, you will have toremain where you are.

May there not be the alternative, I said, that we may persuade you tolet us go?

But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you? he said.

Certainly not, replied Glaucon.

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