The Republic

Education Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Education Theme Icon
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Philosopher-King Theme Icon
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LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Republic, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Education Theme Icon

Socrates believes that the good of the city outweighs the good of the individual. Consequently, the object of his educational system is to produce citizens who are loyal to the city and who best fill the city's needs. The city's educational system identifies particularly talented individuals so they may be trained as auxiliaries (warriors), guardians, or even philosopher-kings. All children are educated identically until the age of eighteen when those destined to be producers (laborers and craftsmen) end their education. The remaining students are trained physically and militarily. Those destined to be warriors are separated from the guardians, the future rulers. The guardians are educated for several more years, until the very best, the most loyal to the city, are given further education as potential philosopher-kings.

The education system is rigidly controlled. Although literature and arts are important parts of education, only moral literature is allowed. Literature must not imitate life or be dramatic because such literature will confuse citizens and make them less useful in their particular roles. Education, especially for the guardians and warriors, is designed to encourage the good of the city as a whole, rather than the good of the family or the individual.

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Education ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Education appears in each section of The Republic. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Education Quotes in The Republic

Below you will find the important quotes in The Republic related to the theme of Education.
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.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:

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God is not the author of all things, but of good only.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 3 Quotes
Can any man be courageous who has the fear of death in him?
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 4 Quotes
Wealth is the parent of luxury and indolence, and poverty of meanness and viciousness, and both of discontent.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

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The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future life.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 7 Quotes
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Related Characters: Socrates (speaker)
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:

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