Christian Analysis of "The Republic of Plato"

9. Book IX


 Socrates begins this book with the discussion of the tyrannical man that has transformed out of the democratic man (571a). The democratic man with lusts in his occasional dreams becomes tyrannical when those dreams are transformed permanently in his waking state (572). He is ruled by his desires that are lawless, formed through his hatred of his father’s democratic stinginess and other men exercising excessive freedom toward erotic love. The erotic love makes the man a drone, removing shame, and becoming his focus.  He lives for celebrations, girlfriends, and feasts.  When his money runs out, to calm his erotic lusts, he steals, and finally commits murder. He desperately seeks to pleasure his lusts, driving him mad, and into anarchy and lawlessness. In the end, the tyrant ends up fearing everyone that he has enslaved, robbed and hurt.

The tyrant, the most unjust man, is the most unhappy man.  The Aristocrat, the most just man, is the happiest.  This means that justness is important for happiness (583a).

Socrates ends by acknowledging that the just city does not exist anywhere on earth. “But in heaven,” I said, “perhaps, a pattern is laid up for the man who wants to see and found a city within himself on the basis of what he sees. “[1]

Christian Application


[1] Plato, The Republic of Plato - Translated with Notes and an Interpretive Essay by Allan Bloom, trans., Allan Bloom, Second ed. (Basic Books, 1968), 275.