Plato Republic The Noble Lie Essay

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As with all other topics discussed in “The Republic of Plato,” the section in which he discusses the myths of the metals or the “noble lie” is layered with questioning and potential symbolism, possible contradiction, and a significant measure of allusion. In Chapter X of “The Republic,” Plato presents “The Selection of Rulers: The Guardians’ Manner of Living.” In it, he discusses the necessities of education as they apply to the appropriate selection of and reparation for the community’s

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He asserts that they must never be willing to act against that collective interest.

Socrates expands on his metaphor of the metals and explains that the future rulers must be fashioned as precious metals are fashioned by careful artistry and craft. But first he asks Glaucon: “. . . can we devise something in the way of those convenient fictions we spoke

of earlier, a single bold flight of invention, which we may induce the community in general, and if possible the Rulers themselves, to accept?” (The Republic of Plato X:III-414). Such a tongue-in-cheek question, the reference to “a single bold flight of invention” is what

has come to be known as commonly rendered by “noble lie,” a self-contradictory expression which is no more applicable to Plato’s comparatively harmless storytelling than to a 20th century political campaign publication. Such use of the “noble lie” suggests that he would agree to the use or be unconcerned about correcting the lies,

for the most part dishonorable (certainly not “noble”), that are now most commonly thought to be unabashed propaganda.

Returning to the metaphor of crafting precious metals, Socrates tells that while all men throughout the land are brothers, the god who was responsible for the creation
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