The Republic

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Thrasymachus 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 personal benefit as more important than moral issues of right and wrong, and Thrasymachus does as well. Thrasymachus' depiction in Republic is unfavorable in the extreme. He appears conceited, given to boasts and bluster, and his frustration with Socrates and Socrates' method of approaching knowledge through questioning is evident. He leaves at the end of Book I, but his exit suggests he is frustrated and is aware that he has not successfully debated Socrates. Although the choice of name may be inspired by the historical Sophist Thrasymachus, the name literally means "schemer."
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Thrasymachus Character Timeline in The Republic

The timeline below shows where the character Thrasymachus appears in The Republic. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Justice Theme Icon
...brother. Socrates and Glaucon are invited to Polemarchus' house by Polemarchus and Adeimantus. They join Thrasymachus and Polemarchus' father, Cephalus. Socrates asks Cephalus if age is as much a hardship as... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Thrasymachus, unwillingly quiet, interrupts, loudly. He says instead of asking foolish questions and refuting each answer,... (full context)
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Thrasymachus angrily asserts that a just man always gets less than an unjust man. Justice, says... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Specialization Theme Icon
...of fear of having a worse ruler forced upon them. This leads Socrates to consider Thrasymachus' assertion that the life of an unjust man is better than that of a just... (full context)
Justice Theme Icon
Specialization Theme Icon
Thrasymachus says that injustice is not only more profitable, but that injustice is virtuous and wise.... (full context)
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Thrasymachus asserts that an unjust city would enslave other cities. Socrates responds that in an unjust... (full context)
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...although he knows justice is wisdom and virtue, he still doesn't know what justice is. Thrasymachus leaves, still insisting that his definition of justice is the correct one. (full context)
Book 2
Justice Theme Icon
Glaucon reviews Thrasymachus' arguments about justice. First, it is generally agreed that to do injustice is naturally good,... (full context)
Book 4
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...lifestyle won't make them happy, given the luxuries enjoyed by rulers elsewhere. Socrates says despite Thrasymachus's view, the goal of the city is not to make one group happy at the... (full context)
Book 5
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...wives and children, like the possessions of friends, should be held in common. Glaucon and Thrasymachus support Polemarchus. Socrates concludes that both sexes possess the qualities required to rule. There will... (full context)