Analysis Of The Eight Of Plato's Republic

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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, …show more content…
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 constitution such as this will last for ever.” (B8. 546a).
Thus the first way the constitution will degenerate is through the intermixing of the metals. Explained in Book three (415a) when Plato tells Glaucon a story wherein everyone has a different metal in their soul. The gold goes to those best suited for ruling, silver in those best suited as a warrior, iron went to the natural farmers, and bronze was placed in the natural craftsmen. Plato emphasizes the importance of keeping the metals pure: “So the first and most important command from the god to the rulers is that there is nothing they must guard better or watch more carefully than the mixture of metals in the souls of the next generation.” (B3. 415b). It is highly important that the metals don’t mix because: “The intermixing of iron with silver and bronze with gold that results will engender lack of likeness and unharmonious inequality, and these always breed war and hostility wherever they arise.” (B8 547a). The mixing of the metals creates people who place value in the wrongs sorts of things,
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He is the son of a good father, who avoids honors and is willing to be put at a disadvantage in order to avoid trouble. The son is influenced by his mother who complains about her husband indifference to any kind of confrontation and lack of honor and tells him to focus on achieving honor for the both of them; but he listens to what his father says, and sees what his father does up-close. The father tells his son to be good in a city that is bad and influences the rational part of his soul while the others influence the spirited and appetitive parts, and the child becomes a proud and honor-loving man, ruled by spirit. After the next generations intermix, the timocratic man creates the oligarchic child. Following his father’s footsteps, the son watches how his father is ruled by honor and shame; he turns away from the honor-loving and spirited part because he sees how his father lost everything they had to the city. Instead, the son turns towards making and saving as much money as he can. He becomes an oligarch, the type of men who are dominated by their appetites and often described as greedy; they attach the greatest importance on wealth and money-making. The oligarchic ruler believes wealth is happiness for the entire city. When the oligarchic man has a child, the son becomes the democrat. This man is the type who fulfills his desires at hand; “there’s neither order

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