The Republic

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The Republic Characters


The main speaker, a philosopher who leads his audience and dialogue partners to conclusions by carefully structured questions. Sometimes Socrates' verbal agility makes it difficult to see that he is avoiding answering the question he… (read full character analysis)


A Sophist, or professional tutor and philosopher. Thrasymachus is the only real opposition to Socrates. Thrasymachus believes firmly that "justice is to the advantage of the stronger." Sophists as a group tended to emphasize… (read full character analysis)


A Greek poet who probably lived during the 700 B.C. era. His works included tales about the creation of the world according to Greek mythology, and a number of stories about the gods that show… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
An elderly but wealthy merchant, it is in his house that the dialogues occur. He is perhaps too satisfied with his own life and status. His name literally means "head," as in "head of the family," which fits him.
Cephalus' son. His name literally means "leader in battle," a good description of his role as one of the more aggressive of Socrates' opponents, second only to Thrasymachus.
Plato's brother, he walks with Socrates to the Piraeus and participates in the entire debate. Glaucon questions Socrates carefully, and is interested in determining what justice truly means and what defines the good life.
Another of Plato's brothers. At first he doesn't agree that justice is better than injustice, but Socrates succeeds in convincing him.
A soldier in a myth Socrates tells about the immortality of the soul. Er dies but comes back to life and is able to tell about what he saw in the after life.
The Greek poet believed to have written the Illiad and the Odyssey, two of the greatest works of Greek literature, and of literature in general. Socrates objects to parts of Homer's works for moral reasons, since the gods are not always shown behaving morally or even believably.
A poet that Polemarchus quotes in support of his definition of justice. Simonides wrote that justice is "giving to each what is owed."