GOVT-105 FA2 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Lie, Cocytus, Chryses

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GOVT-105 - Textbook Note - The Republic, Book II 377a-Book III
Socrates asks if the guardians should be educated in both true and false speech
Adeimantus agrees but is confused when Socrates says they should learn false speech
Children are told tales before they do exercises
They agree that the beginning is the most important part of a work and so it is important
to choose what sort of tales the children will hear
Socrates says they must supervise makers of tales and approve the tales before they
are told
He also suggests that harsh tales about the gods composed by poets like Homer and
hesiod should not be told to children
In order to convince the children not to be angry with others they can’t be told tales
about gods fighting each other
Adeimantus asks how the gods should be spoken of
Socrates says the gods should be said to be the source of good things and not harmful
or evil things
Instead another cause must be found for bad things
Socrates says that anyone who produces a work that shows the gods harming people or
being the cause of wretchedness must be stopped
Socrates asks if gods are truly able to change their shape or if they do not depart from their own
If something departs from its idea it has been changed either by itself or something else
Things that are in the best condition are least altered by outside forces
The gods are in the best condition and therefore would be least likely to have many
It is possible that the gods transform themselves but necessarily they would transform
into something worse because they are not wanting in beauty or virtue
No one would willingly make themself worse in any way so the poets must be lying when
they say the gods alter their shape
Socrates introduces the concept of the true lie
Gods and humans do not wish to lie about what is most sovereign in themselves and
fear it
The soul is most sovereign and lies cause ignorance in the soul
Therefore the real lie is hated by gods and men
Socrates asks if lies in speeches are ever useful
It is useful against enemies and as a preventative against friends doing bad
It is also useful in making tales as close to truth as possible without knowledge of
ancient things
Socrates asks in which of those cases would a lie be useful to a god
Gods have knowledge of ancient things so they wouldn’t need to lie
Gods would not lie because they are frightened of enemies nor would they befriend
someone who would do bad
Gods therefore have no need or desire to lie
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Socrates asks Adeimantus f this should be used as a model for speeches made about the gods
Poets must not show the gods transforming or lying in speech or deed
Teachers must not use tales that include such things to educate guardians
Book III
Socrates says that since there are things that children should and should not hear if they are to
honor gods, there are also things they should and should not hear in order to be courageous
They must be told things that make them fear death the least because otherwise they
will not choose death in battle over defeat
People who tell tales must praise Hades and the afterlife instead of disparaging it
Fearful names applied to the underworld like Cocytus and Styx must be removed
Decent men have the least reason to lament, because they are self-sufficient and so
they should not wail about death
Only women and bad men will lament and the guardians won’t want to do as they do
Socrates says that poets should not show great men laughing in their work because it will
inspire guardians to laugh
Socrates proposes that since lies are only useful to humans as a remedy only doctors and not
private men should be allowed to lie
Rulers ma lie for the benefit of the city but the citizens may not lie to the ruler
This would be like a sick man lying to a doctor about the condition of his body
Anyone who lies will be punished for introducing a practice that is as destructive of a city
as of a body
Socrates says that young people must be taught moderation
The elements of moderation are being obedient to rulers and ruling their own desires for
drink, sex, and eating
Youthful insolence of private men to rulers in speech or poems is unacceptable
Neither is depictions of the gods’ lust for each other
It should not be said that gods and heroes love money or rape either
Socrates says it is impossible to determine what should be said about human beings at this
Poets should not show that unjust men are happy or just men are wretched
Since they have not settled on what justice is they can’t say anything more about
Socrates says style must be addressed after speech to have made a complete consideration of
what must be said and how it must be said
Everything said by poets and tellers of tales is either a narrative of what has come to
pass, what is, or what will be
They accomplish this with a narrative that is either simple, an imitation, or both
Adeimantus is confused and Socrates calls himself a ridiculous and unclear teacher
Socrates says that instead of speaking about the whole in general he will cut off a part
and try to explain the whole
Socrates gives the example of Homer speaking as himself and speaking as Chryses in the Iliad
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