Book 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What are the two views of justice asserted in Book One?

2. For whose benefit does a just ruler rule, according to Socrates?

3. How does Thrasymachus say people view the life of a tyrant?

4. Why has living a just life given Cephalus peace of mind in his old age?

5. What example does Socrates use to show that giving back what one has taken can be an unjust act?

6. Why does being bad to one’s enemies result in injustice, according to Socrates?

7. What virtue is necessary for the soul to perform its work well?

8. What reward does the just man seek for ruling?

9. How will a just ruler deal with other states, according to Thrasymachus?

10. List the two examples Socrates gives of making mistakes through mistaking what seems to be for what is.

1. The two views of justice asserted in Book One are the conventional view of justice, which only requires giving others what they are due, and Thrasymachus’ view of justice, which is best summarized in the phrase “might makes right.”

2. Socrates says that a just ruler rules for the benefit of his subjects.

3. Thrasymachus says that people consider a tyrant to be happy and blessed.

4. Cephalus has peace of mind because he has no fear of how he will be judged in the world of the dead.

5. Socrates gives the example of a madman asking to have his weapon back as a case where a man who returned what he had borrowed would be acting unjustly.

6. Since being bad to someone could only make them worse, treating even an enemy badly could only result in injustice.

7. According to Socrates, the soul needs justice in order to do its work.

8. The just man only rules for fear of being ruled by someone worse than himself.

9. A just ruler will seek to dominate other states.

10. The first example Socrates gives is with Polemarchus (354). When Polemarchus asserts that it is just to harm one’s enemies, Socrates points out that one might, by this course of action, harm someone who seems to be an enemy but is actually a friend. Similarly, when arguing with Thrasymachus over in whose interest laws are passed, Socrates shows that it is possible for a ruler to pass laws that seem to be in his interest, thus producing an unjust result, according to Thrasymachus’ definition.

Book 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What kind of good does Socrates say justice is?

2. Does Glaucon believe men are at heart good or evil? How does he illustrate his point?

3. Why does Socrates look at the community first?

4. Why does Socrates say people decide to live together, rather than atomistically?

5. Why does Socrates believe people should focus their energies on one activity exclusively?

6. Why must the fevered city have soldiers?

7. Why does Glaucon consider Socrates’ healthy city a city of pigs?

8. Why will Socrates not allow tales of battle among the gods?

9. What practical service does a philosophic nature provide in a Guardian?

10. Why does Glaucon say people agree to live under law?

1. Socrates says justice is a good that is valued for its own sake, not for what it can provide.

2. Glaucon believes men are inherently evil. The story of Gyges’ ring illustrates his belief.

3. Socrates looks at the comunity first in order to see justice more clearly by looking at it on the large scale.

4. Socrates says people live together because they are not self-sufficient.

5. Socrates says people should focus their energies on one activity exclusively because usually people have an aptitude for only one activity, they will produce better goods by specializing, and to not engage in that activity could result in missing the right moment for action.

6. Because the fevered city must expand its territory, it must go to war with its neighbors, and therefore it needs soldiers.

7. Glaucon considers the first city a city of pigs because they have no trappings of civilization, such as furniture.

8. According to Socrates, the gods are by nature good. Furthermore, the citizens must learn that quarreling is sinful.

9. A philosophic nature makes a Guardian gentle to those whom he knows.

10. Glaucon says that people agree to live under law because it keeps them from being the victim of injustice at another’s hand.

Book 3 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why would Socrates censor the passage in the Iliad that refers to a soul “bewailing his fate, leaving manliness and the bloom of youth”?

2. What does Socrates predict will be the result of a citizen lying?

3. What sort of dramatic role will the Guardians be permitted to play?

4. Why does Socrates say eliminating the use of musical
instruments helps improve the state?

5. What can rythm and harmony do for the mind when
properly absorbed?

6. What profession grows when the citizens of a city are poorly disciplined?

7. How does an obsession with one’s health interfere with the practice of philosophy?

8. What two things must a man bring into harmony within

9. What is the purpose of the “noble lie”?

10. Why must the Guardians not be allowed private property?

1. This passage from the Iliad would teach children to fear death, interfering with their ability to be good warriors.

2. If anyone in the state besides the rulers tells lies, he will be punished for introducing a practice that will likely ruin the state.

3. The Guardians will be allowed to play the role of men of good characters, especially when they act “steadily and prudently” (396d).

4. Socrates says that eliminating superfluous musical instruments will help rid the state of luxury.

5. Rythm and harmony teach the mind grace and beauty.

6. A lack of discipline within the city results in an increase in lawyers (and/or judges).

7. When one is always worried about one’s health, the small changes one notices will be seen as the results of one’s
philosophical studies.

8. A man must seek to harmonize his spirited (or energetic) side with his philosophic side.

9. The purpose of the “noble lie” is to unify the members of society.

10. The Guardians must not be allowed private property for fear it will turn them into tyrants by distracting them from focusing on the good of the state.

Book 4 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What four virtues will the ideal state possess?

2. Whose happiness does the ideal state seek?

3. How does the “doctrine of the mean” explain Socrates’ desire to keep the city’s workmen from becoming rich?

4. Why does Socrates not fear his city falling in war?

5. What metaphor describes the well-regulated state as well as the well-ordered mind?

6. What three elements compose the mind?

7. Who is allowed to rule in the ideal state?

8. What class does “appetite” correspond to?

9. What two forms of rule does Socrates find appropriate to the ideal state?

10. What would be the worst thing to happen within the ideal state?


1. The ideal state will possess wisdom, courage, moderation (or self-discipline), and justice.

2. The ideal state seeks the happiness of all.

3. Socrates wishes to avoid extremes, so he prefers that workmen be neither rich nor poor.

4. Because the state will not be rich, Socrates predicts it will easily defeat lazy states and will easily find allies if it should seek them.

5. The well-regulated state and the well-regulated mind are both in good health.

6. The mind is composed of reason, spirit, and appetite.

7. Only the Guardians, who have gold within them, will be allowed to rule.

8. The working classes correspond to the mental element of appetite.

9. Socrates says the ideal state will either be ruled as an aristocracy or as a kingship.

10. The worst thing to happen within the ideal state would be for a member of the silver or bronze classes to get into the Guardians.

Book 5 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What will be women’s role in the Guardian class?

2. How will Guardian women be involved in raising their children?

3. What guide do the Rulers follow in arranging the breeding of their fellow citizens?

4. What simple change would make the improvements of the city in speech a possibility in the real world?

5. What faculty enables one to perceive the world of forms?

6. What does a person “know” who denies the existence of the world of forms?

7. Why does Socrates say warfare between the Greeks should be more limited than it was?

8. What third realm lies below the world of opinion?

9. What will the female Guardians wear when they exercise?

10. How will family ties continue in the ideal state?

1. Women will be educated and perform the same tasks as the men, although the men will be better at everything.

2. Guardian women will go to the nurseries to feed the children when they are nursing, but they will not know which child is theirs.

3. The Rulers want to make sure that they encourage the breeding of the best citizens.

4. Socrates says that the institution of philosopher-kings would do much to improve the way states are ruled.

5. It is through reason that one comes to know the world of forms.

6. A person who does not know the world of forms can only have opinions, not knowledge.

7. Socrates says that the Greeks are naturally friends and should fight each other in a more civilized fashion.

8. The realm of ignorance lies below that of opinion.

9. According to Socrates, excellence will be all the clothes they need.

10. In the ideal state, family ties will be transferred to all of the members of the community.

Book 6 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why is the study of math inferior to that of philosophy?

2. What “state of mind” deals with reflections of objects?

3. How is the Good’s role in the world of forms like that of the sun’s in relationship to plants?

4. How does the Good help one see objects in the realm of forms?

5. What is the highest form of knowledge?

6. What one change could help bring an end to the illnesses of states?

7. Who does the navigator represent in the parable of the ship of state?

8. What is the strong animal referred to at line 493?

9. What is the problem with the way “animal trainers” handle this animal?

10. What will be the first action of the philosopher-king?

1. Math is an inferior study because, although it uses logic, it applies it to the realm of the senses.

2. Imagination is the state of mind that deals with reflections of objects.

3. The Good is the cause of the forms, although it does not take part in the process that creates them.

4. The Good casts the light of reality and truth on the objects within the realm of forms.

5. Knowledge of the Good is the highest form of knowledge.

6. Instituting rule by philosopher-kings would do the most to cure the illnesses of states.

7. The navigator represents the philosopher.

8. The strong animal is the public.

9. Animal trainers do not consider if the action they can make an animal perform is right or wrong.

10. The first action of the philosopher-king will be to wipe clean the slate of human society.

Book 7 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What do the prisoners of the cave watch?

2. What is the first thing that the man who escapes from the cave can look at outside?

3. What is the response of the prisoners to the news of the man who has escaped about the world outside?

4. Why would a philosopher rule a state if he enjoys practicing philosophy so much?

5. What practical application does Socrates expect the Guardians to give their studies?

6. What activity will the best-educated Guardians spend most of their time doing?

7. What is the final object perceived by the man who escapes from the cave?

8. What are the two causes of a confused mind?


(The entire section is 259 words.)

Book 8 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What element of the timarchic society gives it its name?

2. Which desire does Socrates use as an example of an unnecessary one?

3. Of the three elements of the personality, which one rules the timarchic man?

4. What desire dominates oligarchic society?

5. What is the problem with the equality established in democratic society, according to Socrates?

6. Does Socrates think his ideal society could last forever, given the right conditions?

7. Who does Socrates say would be attracted to the multi-hued cloak of democratic society?

8. How does the timarchic regime treat the members of the lower class?

9. What...

(The entire section is 203 words.)

Book 9 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How will the wise man cultivate the “many-headed animal”?

2. Which of the five characters is the happiest?

3. To which of the other two elements of the soul does spirit always ally itself?

4. With whom is the tyrannical character friends?

5. In what way are pleasures such as food and health inferior to philosophy?

6. Why is being caught good for a wrongdoer?

7. What pleasure governs the lowest of the three elements of the mind?

8. What creature personifies spirit?

9. Why does the philosopher know more about pleasure than, say, the money-grubber?

10. Is the tyrannical man happier when he is...

(The entire section is 252 words.)

Book 10 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. To what two things do the number of spheres correspond?

2. Why might a just man suffer?

3. Why is the creation of an artisan closer to truth than the creation of an artist?

4. How does poetry weaken the mind?

5. Why does the first soul to choose its next incarnation in the Myth of Er make a bad decision?

6. In what way are the goals of the dramatist and the rhetor–itician similar?

7. Who are Lachesis, Clotho, and Atropos?

8. Why is Odysseus’ choice wise?

9. In what two things does Socrates find proof of the soul’s immortality?

10. To which section of the line do artists’ works...

(The entire section is 310 words.)