The Art of War

by

Sun-tzu

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A whole chapter of The Art of War is dedicated to spies, who, aside from the general, have the most important role when it comes to warfare, according to Master Sun. If not for spies, the general would be hard pressed to glean information about the enemy’s position, disposition, and temperament. There are many forms of spies: “Local, Internal, Double, Dead, and Live.” Each has their particular benefits when it comes to outwitting the enemy, as well as downsides for the spies themselves. Master Sun advises rewarding spies highly for their services, the better to earn their loyalty. They should also be the general’s closest confidante.

Spies Quotes in The Art of War

The The Art of War quotes below are all either spoken by Spies or refer to Spies. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Yin and Yang Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of The Art of War published in 2002.
Chapter 6 Quotes

The Skillful Warrior attacks
So that the enemy
Cannot defend;
He defends
So that the enemy
Cannot attack.

Related Characters: Master Sun (Sun-Tzu) (speaker), The General, The Enemy, Spies
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

It is therefore callous
To begrudge the expense of
A hundred taels
Of silver
For knowledge
Of the enemy's situation.

Related Characters: Master Sun (Sun-Tzu) (speaker), The General, The Enemy, Spies
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Art of War PDF

Spies Character Timeline in The Art of War

The timeline below shows where the character Spies appears in The Art of War. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
Taking the Path of Least Resistance Theme Icon
...can only be gained from men who know the enemy. There are five types of spies: local, internal, double, dead, and live. All of these are mysterious. Local spies are from... (full context)
Taking the Path of Least Resistance Theme Icon
No one should be closer to the general than his spies, nor better paid or treated. Wisdom is necessary to managing spies, as are humanity and... (full context)
Taking the Path of Least Resistance Theme Icon
...someone, the general must know the names of the enemy’s general, servants, and staff. The spies must know to collect all this information in detail. Enemy spies in the general’s camp... (full context)
Yin and Yang Theme Icon
Taking the Path of Least Resistance Theme Icon
War as a Means to Protect Peace Theme Icon
The Responsibility of Authority Theme Icon
The ruler should know all these kinds of spies. He relies on the double agent, so he must be paid and treated well. In... (full context)