Analysis Of The Book ' Eight Of Plato 's Republic ' Essay

1142 Words Nov 15th, 2016 5 Pages
In book eight of Plato’s Republic, he describes the five different types of constitutions: the first and best being the aristocracy, also known as the kallipolis, followed by the timocracy, third is the oligarchy, fourth is the democracy and finally the last and worst of the cities is the tyranny. The cities, and therefore the corresponding types of the soul degenerate because of the character of the ruler as Plato tells us at the beginning of book eight: “And do you realize that of necessity there are as many forms of human character as there are of constitutions? Or do you think that constitutions are born ‘from oak or rock’ and not from the characters of the people who live in the cities governed by them, which tip the scales, so to speak, and drag the rest along with them?” (B8. 543d.) Thus the character of the soul, and hence the city degenerates first, from what Plato calls the “myth of the metals’, and second because the constitution of the city is inexperienced in pleasure, and the soul is not happy in chasing unfulfilling desires.

The first and best city is the aristocracy, which Plato also calls the kallipolis. It is a city where everything is held in common, ruled by philosopher-kings. In the kallipolis, the rulers value wisdom and philosophy over all else. Although this city is the best in character, it will eventually become worse since “it is hard for a city composed in this way to change, but everything that comes into being must decay. Not even a…

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