10 February, 2004

The Republic: Book III: The Education Of The Guardians

The following is an assigned essay which was completed for a grade. Unfortunately, some formatting has been lost in the transition to LJ.

Eric J. Herboso
10 February, 2004

The Republic: Book III: The Education Of The Guardians

In Book III of Plato’s Republic, Socrates talks about the guardians of the fictional city that they are building in mind and speech. These guardians would serve two functions: to protect the city from outside invaders by preventing them from harming its inhabitants, and to protect the city from insiders by preventing them from wishing (or otherwise accidentally causing) harm to its inhabitants.

It is in gymanstic and in music that Socrates points out they must be taught. He goes on to mention music (as learning for the soul) specifically, and deals with it in length, as opposed to gymnastic, which he glosses over as not pertinent with the discussion.

In regards to music, Socrates says that the poetry which smaller guardians hear must be of the type which causes them to fear slavery over death, as that is the optimal belief for a guardian to have, seeing as how being cowardly in battle would severely limit their usefulness. Socrates also says that the guardians should be taught by their own kind, just as the other two classes (that of gold, for rulers, and iron/bronze, for farmers and craftsmen) should be taught by their own kind.

It is in these distinctions (among others) that Socrates says the guardians should be taught. It will be very interesting to see in what other ways the city will be constructed in the following books.

Bloom, Allan. The Republic of Plato. Au. Plato.
Basic Books: United States of America, 1968

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