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 is asked and is instead addressing something else entirely in his responses. Socrates strongly influenced Plato. In the Republic Socrates is usually acting as Plato's stand-in.
Socrates Quotes in The Republic
The The Republic quotes below are all either spoken by Socrates or refer to Socrates. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of The Republic published in 2000.).
Book 2 Quotes
Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the writers of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which is good, and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell their children the authorized ones only.
If we mean our future guardians to regard the habit of quarrelling among themselves as of all things the basest, should any word be said to them of the wars in heaven, and of the plots and fightings of the gods against one another, for they are not true. No, we shall never mention the battles of the giants, or let them be embroidered on garments; and we shall be silent about the innumerable other quarrels of gods and heroes with their friends and relatives. If they would only believe us we would tell them that quarrelling is unholy, and that never up to this time has there been any quarrel between citizens.
God is not the author of all things, but of good only.
And if so, we must infer that all things are produced more plentifully and easily and of a better quality when one man does one thing which is natural to him, and does it at the right time, and leaves other things.
Book 3 Quotes
Can any man be courageous who has the fear of death in him?
And we must beg Homer and the other poets not to be angry if we strike out these and similar passages, not because they are unpoetical, or unattractive to the popular ear, but because the greater the poetical charm in them, the less are they meet for the ears of boys and men who are meant to be free, and who should fear slavery more than death.
Again, truth should be highly valued; if, as we were saying, a lie is useless to the gods, and useful only as a medicine to men, then the use of such medicines should be restricted to physicians; private individuals have no business with them.
Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity – I mean the true simplicity of a rightly and nobly ordered mind and character, not that other simplicity which is only a euphemism for folly.
Book 4 Quotes
Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.
Book 5 Quotes
And he who, having a sense of beautiful things has no sense of absolute beauty, or who, if another lead him to a knowledge of that beauty is unable to follow—of such an one I ask, Is he awake or in a dream only? Reflect: is not the dreamer, sleeping or waking, one who likens dissimilar things, who puts the copy in the place of the real object?
Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils—no, nor the human race, as I believe—and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.
Book 6 Quotes
But that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else be longs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not—the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling. Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? W ill he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?
Book 7 Quotes
But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally either in public or private life must have his eye fixed.
Book 9 Quotes
Socrates Character Timeline in The Republic
The timeline below shows where the character Socrates appears in The Republic. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...unwillingly quiet, interrupts, loudly. He says instead of asking foolish questions and refuting each answer, Socrates should tell them what he thinks justice is. Thrasymachus offers to define justice if they... (full context)
...the guardians' simple 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... (full context)