Plato's Republic Book 8 Summary and Analysis


Book 8 Summary and Analysis

1. Introduction to the Four Imperfect Societies and Their Characteristic Individuals (543–545c)

After recapitulating the elements of the ideal state, Socrates names the four imperfect states. The first and best is the Cretan or Spartan type (called “timarchy”); the second is oligarchy; the third, democracy; and the fourth and worst is tyranny. Socrates says that there are also five sorts of men: the best, corresponding to the aristocratic regime of the city in speech, and one for each of the degenerate regimes. Socrates describes these five men as falling on a descending scale of justice. He leaves until later the question of their varying degrees of happiness.


(The entire section is 1523 words.)